With Zumba® Love…

Guest Writer: Paula Imbierowicz, Breast Cancer Survivor and Zumba® Enthusiast

Zumba…such a fun word to say. And such a fun, exhilarating thing to do!

Zumba® Fitness is an “easy-to-follow, Latin-inspired, calorie-burning dance-fitness party that’s moving millions of people toward joy and health.” I stumbled into a class back in 2010 and have been hooked ever since. However, Zumba is more than just a fitness class to me; it is a family of support through the good and bad. My Zumba sisters and I are there for each other in many ways. This is where my story begins.

Paula Imbierowicz (center) with Caliente for the Cure co-chairs Barbara Absher and Jenn Turek

Paula Imbierowicz (center) with Caliente for the Cure co-chairs Barbara Absher and Jenn Turek

In October 2012, I received a phone call that I never expected. My physician was on the other end of the line, calling to tell me I had Stage I breast cancer. Wow. Not many things render me speechless, but those two words – breast cancer – did.

Over the next few weeks and through many doctor appointments, we came up with a plan of attack. I chose a bilateral mastectomy, even though the cancer was only found in the right side. I wanted to be proactive and prevent this from happening again. My surgery was scheduled for December 2012. I decided to turn my negative into a positive, so I contacted some of my Zumba sisters about having an “Adios Amigos” party for my “girls” to raise money for Komen St. Louis.

Party in motion…turnout was more than I expected! I did not know most of the participants, but it didn’t matter. We were all there for one common purpose, and that was to raise awareness and money to help others and fight this disease. Throughout what I call my BC (breast cancer) detour in life, my Zumba family has been there for me, whether it’s through a note on social media, a card in the mail, or a shoulder to cry on.

A mammogram saved my life. My spots could not be felt by self-exam. I am 42 years-old and the mother of two teenage sons, and I plan to be around to watch them as they grow and experience life. Breast cancer will not get me…I will get it.

Caliente 2013My Zumba sisters and I will be dancing and celebrating at the 5th Annual Caliente for the Cure® on Friday, June 14. I have participated in this event for the past two years, but this year will be extra special. You see, I will be dancing as a survivor!

The 5th Annual Komen St. Louis Caliente for the Cure takes place on Friday, June 14, from 6-8 pm at Saint Louis University’s Simon Recreation Center. Learn more and register.

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Come Dance With Me at Caliente for the Cure!

Guest Writer: Tara Boland, Komen St. Louis Supporter

As a 37-year-old mother of four young children who is fighting metastatic triple-negative breast cancer, I am STILL “shaking it” in my Zumba classes. In fact, it occurred to me recently that Zumba was the one constant that has been nothing but positive in my battle since being diagnosed in May 2012.

Tara Boland (center left in lime Caliente for the Cure T-shirt) and a few of her Zumba-loving friends

Tara Boland (center left in lime Caliente for the Cure T-shirt) and a few of her Zumba-loving friends

I have attended Caliente for the Cure, Komen St. Louis’ Zumba Fitness event, two times, both as a supporter and then a survivor. Last year’s Caliente for the Cure gave me the boost I needed to begin gearing up for chemo…all the while pregnant. The encouragement I received from this event was empowering! A gym packed full of fun! Last year I continued to Zumba throughout my pregnancy, chemo and radiation. In fact, I went to Zumba the day before the delivery of my miracle baby Sam!

Why is Zumba the PERFECT exercise? Well, it is ideal for all ages and all physical fitness levels. You MUST have a desire to party, feel happy and be physically fit at the same time.

Even on my darkest days, where either emotional or physical pains are very present, I still force myself to Zumba, knowing that my spirits will be lifted. It is my happy pill. It is the time I forget about cancer and feel not only the music, but also the love of the people around me.

Please come to Caliente for the Cure on June 14 in honor of those women who have lost their battle with breast cancer, for those who are currently battling, and as a thank you for your own health. Come dance with me! I will be the one with the silly grin full of dimples, shaking it for the cure!

I believe in the power of positivity and rely on the generosity of others to continue to fund breast cancer research. I have HOPE that I will be here to raise my four children. I have FAITH that there will be a cure. I have LOVE for everyone who dances with me, accepts me as is. I have danced bald, fat and in Depends undergarments. At no point did I not FEEL THE MUSIC. Come join me as we raise money and celebrate life!

Caliente 2013Remember, Komen St. Louis puts the money raised at Caliente and other events to work here in St. Louis AND helps fund breast cancer research. Komen-funded research grants have helped create lifesaving meds like Tamoxifen and Herceptin. Now we need a targeted chemo drug for triple-negative breast cancer, which often affects young women. Help me help Komen fund the research!

The 5th Annual Komen St. Louis Caliente for the Cure takes place on Friday, June 14, from 6-8 pm at Saint Louis University’s Simon Recreation Center. Learn more and register.