Monday, March 7, 2016

ZINspiration Monday with Mae

We're back with a ZINspiration Monday story! If you have a story you'd like to share, please email me at It's a great way to inspire others!

Here is Mae's story.

In September 2006 I began a journey into hell when I was struck with a rare neurological disorder termed "the suicide disease." I went from an outgoing, high energy special ed teacher to an isolated depressed shell of a woman who feared the outdoors, wind, touch, and anything else that would trigger the next lightning bolt of pain. After trying all sorts of medications for pain I gained 40 pounds!

My hubby finally said he was going to get me a membership to a local gym and wanted me to try getting out to try some classes there. I went a few times but found that I was buckled in pain from the wind created by the fans at the gym. I got up the courage to ask the instructor if she could make sure the fans were not facing me during the class and tried one more time. I LOVED IT. In the winter my hubby drove me to class as the shocks I went into from going outside prevented me from driving.

I pushed myself to go at least 3 times a week and fell in love with the dance classes. I made friends and the instructor would even invite me on stage weekly to dance with her. In early 2008 she brought a new style to the club, something called Zumba, and I was hooked. The combination of Zumba and healthy eating helped me shed the 40 pounds and I soon became very involved, even helping to organize a Zumbathon for the gym.

In 2012 I knew I was ready for MORE. I had a brain surgery that was unsuccessful, but through it all I kept my goal in sight. I became licensed  to teach in March of 2012 and asked the woman who supported me since I joined the gym to be my mentor. Because I wasn't going to work at the gym she said she couldn't. I found another girl who had her own studio and asked her to be my mentor. She said, "Yes!" Mylene Facchini took me under her wing and kicked my butt. She taught me how to cue, timing and technique, and all the rhythms. She took me around to all the places she worked and had me teach a few numbers weekly. Eventually she had me teach her whole class and videotaped me. She walked me through where I was making mistakes and praised me on my strong points. She introduced me to ZES's, ZJ's and other instructors. I was like her shadow and I was loving it. She understood me and supported me even though I had a neurological disorder.

I now own my own private studio where my class is run by donation (if you can pay you do, if not you don't) with partial proceeds going to the Trigeminal Neuralgia Association after each 10 week session. Even though I have really, really bad days with my disorder, I feel successful and I feel as if I am inspiring others! Lifetime Athletic hired me last July to be on their fitness instructor team in Ajax, Ontario. I teach AQUA ZUMBA twice a week and Zumba TONING as well. The class helps relieve the pain for a brief period of time and the ladies lift my spirits. Thanks to Mylene, who is a Jammer now, and Sharon Gilbank who also helped me along the way, I feel that I am a great instructor with passion and spirit. I wish that everyone could have her to mentor them, she truly is amazing and no words can express the love I feel for her and the gift she has given me.


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