Monday, September 29, 2014

ZINspiration Monday: Karen Diaz

I "met" Karen through Twitter, immediately noticing two words in her bio: handicapable, and Zumba. With her awesome energy and outlook on life, she's a true inspiration to ZINs everywhere! In her words:

My name is Karen, I am 20 years old and I am in a wheelchair. The reason I'm in a wheelchair is because I was born with a rare disorder called "osteogenesis imperfecta" also known as "brittle bone disease." I have type 4. I break my bones easily with impact. For example, I was never allowed to do sports because if I were to get hit with a ball, or if someone accidentally pushed or hit me, I could break a bone. 

That was before Zumba came along. My mom started doing Zumba about two years ago. She invited me to just watch the class and I went. As the class began, I fell in love with it. The instructors are amazing! I was just loving every moment of it. The instructor's energy was motivating and inspiring for me, because I had been told "no" so many times. I found something that I was able to do. Sure, I was gonna do it slower and differently... but I LOVED IT. It was like I was able to do something with my life. I didn't start right away, because I first had to ask my doctor If it was okay. He said I could try it and I was just. so. excited.
Zumba is very important to me for 2 reasons. First, it helps me maintain my weight, as I'm 4 feet tall and supposed to weigh between 60-75 lbs... if I go over my weight, I will break bones more frequently. Secondly, it increases my self-esteem and makes me forget about everything. My favorite Zumba songs are "Damelo Todito" by Amarfis and "El Baile" by Oro Solido. 

While I'm doing Zumba I get a lot of attention because I guess people have never seen a girl dance in a wheelchair before. I feel a little pressure because of that, but my instructor always encourages me to forget people's stares and just do me. I am so lucky to be part of the Zumba fitness family because I get support, motivation, encouragement, laughter, and smiles. Zumba is honestly my life, and I am blessed.

Find Karen at @dreamfulcocoaa on Twitter!

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