What Makes a hero?

I wrote this over a year ago. Unfortunately the lady in this article is no longer with us.  The day we lost her i posted it again and added to it.  As it was her birthday recently I thought with this new blog i am starting, I would re upload it as My first as every one could learn from her.  I did!

 I have decided to re post this blog from earlier on in the year, I wrote it about a client of mine who was Fighting cancer.  After writing this blog it seemed to turn up everywhere in my life from lots of people I knew and many I didn’t thanking me for writing it.  The lady It is about also thanked me for it, told me she didn’t like the fact that I called her Jane, Until I pointed out that it was because I could see her swinging through the trees in a leopard print bikini!  This explanation was good enough for her.  We had a party for her Just over a month ago where she with great pride and cheekiness told everyone that she was my hero.

Today sadly we shall lay her to rest as her fight is over, But her legacy is not!  She has touched my life and made me look for the good and the upside in my life and now sits on my shoulder like a little angel screaming in my ear “Well get on with it!”.

Fortunately or unfortunately she has teamed up with another friend who lost their fight with cancer who was a drag queen so now I have two shoulder angels telling me to get on with my life live my dreams because if they have taught me nothing else its that time is short, life is fun and is worth living now.

so maybe she can help you too if you haven’t read this yet, don’t stop till you have read it all.

What makes a Hero?

I have been thinking about this for quite a while.

Is it someone who inspires us?  Or someone who performs an unbelievable feat?  Or maybe it’s someone who is selfless in their actions.

I ask this question because I have a new Hero, actually she has been my hero for a while, but recently I have become aware of just how highly I regard this lady, How she inspires me and how she makes me want to do anything to make her smile.

This amazing woman is a client of mine and has been doing classes with me for a few years.  I want to tell you just a fraction of why she is my hero, how she has changed my outlook on life.  For this blog i’m going to call her Jane and maybe she can inspire you as much as me.

I first noticed Jane as a smiling blonde at the back of my BODYJAM class.  She danced like many of the others creating her own interpretation of the moves and having fun and a giggle.  She was not afraid of laughing at herself when she got it wrong and certainly never held back when I got it wrong.  Jane also gets my sense of humour which always makes a client stand out as not everyone does get it.

As time went on I got to know a little about Jane by having a coffee with her and some of the other ladies after the class.  Jane appologised to me for not jumping about too much in some of the routines that I had been teaching her.  With a big smile on her face, she threw away the reason why, as if it was just a cold or a veruca, and told me she was gonna get the routine better next week.  This was my first indication that Jane was more special that she let on.

What was that reason that she discarded so readily?  The reason was that her feet hurt in the moves that had more impact, and the soreness she was feeling was a side effect from the chemotherapy that she was having at the time.  When other people would have been at home resting this lady was out working out.  She is always smiling like a ray of sunshine at the back of my class always in the same spot.

As time has gone on and some of the treatments have changed, so have the issues in the class,  With a little variation we have managed to make the class accessible and fun no matter what challenge has been thrown at us.  This can only have been helped by the fact that Jane can not only laugh with me and at me, but also at herself and the adaptations that some of the treatments forced her to take in the class. Even if it was holding her boobs down as she bounced, and she certainly wasn’t the first woman to do that in one of my classes.  It did make her spit out a laugh as a grabbed my own crotch at the same time feigning the same adaption.

Her hospital appointments have been moved around my class and another instructors class because laughter and fun is a great healer, and the escapism for the hour has benefits that outweigh the need to be having another dose for an hour.

When radiotheraphy has burnt her she has stood up and refused to be a victim thrown on something that covers the burn and come out, to live her life as much as she can as if it had never happened.  

One of the biggest compliments that I have been given by Jane is that she went to New Zealand and did a BODYJAM class with the choreographer of the programme, a massive role model of mine.  On her return she told me it was an amazing experience but she preferred the intimacy of my class and i made her laugh more which is what she comes for.

I have listened in awe as jane has told me stories about her son that she lost in a car crash when he was in his teens.  Her stories of him have always been a celebration of his life, told with a smile and an honor of having been able to spend what time she had with him.

Just before christmas Jane arrived at the club after my class and sat down with and a cup of coffee and brought out a little christmas present.  She told me that she was so grateful for letting her forget about everything for the hour that she did the class with me.  That it was a great release.

For the first time, in all the time that I have known her I actually saw sadness glisten in her eyes, as she told me that this year the cancer had come back, had spread and on christmas eve she was going to start chemo again.  Never have the strings of my heart been pulled so hard as seeing what she tried so hard to hide behind the mask of her smile.

I spent the next hour using every thing that I had to make that smile real and even if just for a few seconds, a minute or two, she laughed for real and forgot about the hand that she had been dealt this christmas.  For every real laugh that I got gave me the greatest present that I could have got from her that day.

As an instructor I have often thought that my job is about helping people achieve their fitness goals and helping them to reach a place that they can not get to by themselves.  Sometimes the greatest gift I can give in a class is to transport people away from their lives and give them the escapism that they crave.

Jane has taught me that any problem can be met head on with a smile and that my job as instructor sometimes is more than just my clients physical health and fitness.  Without knowing I am having an impact on their mental and spiritual health too.  The last thing any of my clients want to know about is my insignificant problems.  And my problems are insignificant.

What ever this round of chemo brings jane will always be welcome in my class, even if its sitting on a chair at the back hand jiving for an hour.  I will do my best to make her smile and lose herself.  This can only have a great effect for every other member in my class to as we all lose ourselves for an hour and just enjoy.

Every time I see Jane I am met with a smile and sheer determination of her living her life for every moment.  This is why she is my hero, no matter how much adversity that has challenged her she still gets up smiling and fighting.  I intend to live the rest of my life by her philosophy and try to be as great as my hero.

The glass is definitely half full, and if you look around you there is a way to fill it up.  It might not be with the same liquid that you wanted, but you can fill it to overflowing if you chose to!


About lukekatt

Ex Pro Dancer, Personal Trainer, Group Fitness Instructor, Assessor, Les Mills Junkie, Zumba, Snowboarder, novice Kitesurfer & self confessed short arse and loud mouth. I posted some of these articles under an alter ego but have moved some of the relevant ones here and then added more.
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1 Response to What Makes a hero?

  1. Lovely story. I guess you can seek comfort in knowing that “Jane” is smiling and laughing above, where she has reunited with her son.

    My hero is a 9 year old boy who recently lost his battle with a disease I am all too familiar with. His courage and acceptance was something that spilled over to everyone he knew. Just one week ago he was laid to rest but he fought so hard for so long and it was comforting to know his body and soul were finally at peace.

    I hope your hero continues to inspire you each day.

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