Carrie Koyanagi - 2011 Spirit of Wellness Honoree
By January, 2011 Carrie was already well on her way to recovering from cancer when asthma sent her back to the hospital for two weeks. Confined to a hospital bed and unable to be physically active, Carrie’s overall health began to decline.
While in the hospital, Carrie discovered she had become diabetic and her blood sugar had nearly left her comatose. Asthma, diabetes, degenerative discs in her back and other ailments had take its toll and Carrie could no longer even walk and talk at the same time.
Resolving to improve her health, Carrie began to look for options. She heard of Return to Wellness program through the Cancer Support Community—a partnership with the Center for Health & Fitness to help cancer survivors regain their health following treatment—and committed to participating.
Carrie was steadfast in her commitment to the Return to Wellness program and never missed a date. Each session focusing on improving the physical and mental well-being of participants and Carrie noticed herself getting stronger and feeling healthier than ever.
When the six-week Return to Wellness program ended, Carrie continued to take classes at CHF. Continuing to feel better, she poured herself into the fitness center and began to work with a personal trainer to achieve a new goal: fitting into one of her favorite dresses by her son’s wedding.
Her cancer surgery had left her with virtually no core strength, but her trainer Derick Malit helped her focus on rebuilding those muscles while continuing to lose weight. Carrie visited CHF every day—so many times the she won the Tour de CHF member competition and was awarded a brand new road bike.
She made new friends and found the support to keep going by taking classes and talking to people in the fitness center. And on her son’s wedding she had reached her goal and looked stunning wearing her favorite dress at her son’s wedding.
Carrie calls her father one of her greatest inspirations, but she models his bravery and dedication each time she visits CHF and is an inspiration herself to everyone she talks to.