“Tough Cookie” Julianna Vano Fights Lymphoma

— written by Club Fit Member and Guest Blogger Lisa Skelton

 

Young Club Fit Member Juliana Vano battles lymphoma with attitude and energy to spare. She is “One Tough Cookie!”

"Tough Cookie" Julianna Vano Fights Lymphoma

Club Fit Member Julianna Vano is “One Tough Cookie.”

“One Tough Cookie”! That is how Julianna Vano’s family and friends describe the energetic, nonstop 10-year-old. And she has proven this to be true since her diagnosis in December of Diffuse Large B-cell Lymphoma, the most common form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, accounting for up to 30 percent of newly diagnosed cases in the United States. It is an aggressive cancer, but the Vanos, members of Club Fit Jefferson Valley, reacted quickly, and Julianna is well on her way back to good health.

Mom Joann noticed something was wrong back in November, when Julianna became lethargic and was experiencing abdominal pain. “She’s my Energizer bunny!” she said of Julianna, an avid dancer, and soccer and basketball player. “I knew something was wrong when her energy dipped.” The initial bloodwork at their doctor’s office hinted at Hepatitis A, but when it didn’t improve over two weeks, they went to Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital and scans revealed masses on all of Julianna’s organs. Treatment was started immediately.

Julianna was on a 20-day chemotherapy cycle, checking in to the hospital every 20 days for 5 to 7 days, then taking a week or two off. But she remained active while she was home, continuing her dance classes 3 to 4 days a week (hip-hop, jazz, ballet…you name it, she does it!) and actually competing this past March! She also recently performed at the halftime show during a Westchester Knicks game. Because of the risk of infection, Julianna was taken out of school and her tumbling classes, but is being tutored at home. Does she miss school? “I think she misses her friends,” laughs Joann.

It was supposed to be a three-month process, but the treatment schedule became longer when a follow-up scan showed a small mass remained on Julianna’s kidney, but the hope is that the additional treatments she is receiving now will take care of that. Going forward, they expect her to have four rounds of “maintenance” treatments, then be free and clear by August. “Through most of this experience, if Julianna didn’t lose her hair or wear a face mask, you’d never know she was sick!” says Joann.

The whole Vano family is active, with Julianna and her two siblings, Bella and Tommy, frequenting Club Fit’s Energy Center, and Mom and Dad spending time in the Fitness Center. As mentioned earlier, Julianna plays travel soccer and travel basketball, and is also a Girl Scout, and plans to return to her activities once treatment is completed. Club Fit is showing their support by hosting two fundraisers for the family at both Club Fit locations, a Spin Class and Kids’ Zumba class. May 20th at Briarcliff and May 27th at Jefferson Valley. All proceeds are going back to the Vano family.

The Vanos are also starting a team for Yorktown’s Relay for Life, aptly named “Team Tough Cookie” (which at this writing is the top fundraising team so far)! Look for their tent on Friday, June 12 at Jack DeVito Field in Yorktown Heights. But you can also get in on the action early by joining us at Club Fit for the Spin and Zumba events, and showing your support for our Tough Cookie Julianna and her family!

Parisi Speed School has a New Director

— Written by Club Fit Member and Guest Blogger Joy Cain

 

Prescott Perry comes to Club Fit as the New Director for Parisi Speed School.

Parisi Speed School’s mission is to help young athletes become better, faster, stronger.

Who, then, is better equipped to help them than a young man who is on the fast track?

Enter Prescott Perry, the new director of the Parisi Speed School at Club Fit.

Prescott played lacrosse and studied kinesiology at the University of Rhode Island. He snowboarded competitively and worked as a personal trainer on Coronado Island (off the coast of San Diego). He also sailed competitively, participating in races in Newport and Larchmont. And he earned his MBA from Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla.

One can only imagine what he’ll do when he finally turns 26.

“I’ve always thought that I wanted to be successful more than I wanted air to breathe, “ Prescott says, “so I try to do as much as I can with what I’ve got. ”

Indeed. And the success he’s chasing after now involves getting more athletes and teams to jump on the Parisi bandwagon. While noting that Westchester and Putnam counties have no shortage of gyms, health clubs, and exercise facilities, Prescott says that the type of training that Parisi offers is a cut above.

“Parisi has a measurable standard. When you’re able to show how much a certain drill or exercise is improving an athlete’s performance, there’s a certain amount of buy-in. ”

Prescott will be reaching out to local coaches to encourage them to bring their teams in to train with Parisi. Eventually he hopes to get a tie-in along with the buy-in; since a company he once worked for helps athletes get recruited for college, Prescott wants to introduce a similar protocol at Club Fit and post the stats of our Parisi-trained athletes on a nationally-recognized recruiting database. In this way, college coaches nationwide could view the athletes’ progressions and measure their athletic potential. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.

But while the focus on jocks and jockettes is important, it shouldn’t be the entire Parisi picture. Citing an upward trend of childhood obesity, Prescott says that Parisi needs to make room for couch potatoes, too.

“We want to focus more on the kids who get picked last in gym,” he says. “We want to let them see that what we’re doing is not hard, that it doesn’t take much to be considered athletic. You can be athletic and not know it. You just have to tap that inner athlete inside yourself. And that’s one thing I think Parisi is able to do. ”

Typically, Parisi’s small group sessions are broken up by age. The Jump Start program (ages 7–11) sets the foundation for success in any sport by focusing on speed, agility, and overall coordination. The Total Performance program (ages 12–16) focuses on techniques used in speed, agility and strength to maximize improvements in athletic performance. And the Peak program (ages 17–21) is an individualized coaching program for the elite athlete. It focuses on individual needs, goals and improvements needed to compete at a competitive level.

Although upwards of 100 young people are involved in the program right now, a demographic shift may be in the wind. Prescott hopes to see more adults train with Parisi—tennis players, swimmers and Weekend Warriors who could benefit from agility and strength drills that are tailor-made for their sport. “I don’t think it’s ever too late for adults to try and do something like that, to make themselves into better athletes,” he says.

His competitive snowboarding days are behind him, but Prescott, a bachelor, still plays in an adult lacrosse league. And although he hasn’t done much of it lately, he still sails competitively. “Yeah…. with a name like Prescott, I kinda had to do sailing,” he jokes. “I’m a stereotypical guy; my name is Prescott, I’m from Connecticut, I sail and do everything that goes with it…. ”

But all jokes aside, Prescott is committed to taking Club Fit’s Parisi program to the next level. Besides watching the bottom line and drumming up new business for the program, Prescott, along with Vince Wright and Jen Ritz, will also be one of the Parisi instructors. “I want to get this facility to be the new standard of training for this area,” he declares.

Better. Faster. Stronger. Now.

If anyone can get Parisi on the fast track, Prescott can.

New Assistant General Manager Laura Crowe

— Written by Club Fit Member and Guest Blogger Joy Cain

 

Club Fit Jefferson Valley Welcomes New Assistant General Manager Laura Crowe.

Club Fit Jefferson Valley Assistant General Manager Laura Crowe

Club Fit Jefferson Valley Assistant General Manager Laura Crowe

Laura Crowe is no newcomer to the Club Fit family. Since 1997 she’s worked at the club in a variety of capacities—from receptionist to member services manager, from salesperson to Membership Director. Now, as Jefferson Valley’s newly-appointed Assistant General Manager (AGM), she’s taking on an altogether different challenge. And so far, so good.

“I’m delighted to have her as AGM because of the diverse experience she brings to the team,” says Lynn Welling, J.V.’s General Manager. “I love her decisiveness, her frankness and the fact that she’s just so upbeat. You never see her without a smile and that open, welcoming greeting.”

As AGM, Laura oversees four departments: Sports, Membership, Reception and Group Fitness. She says that having served as membership director for the last eight years helps her greatly with her current assignment.

“Membership is tied to pretty much every department, and I know that department inside and out,” Laura says. When members wanted to know anything about what the club had to offer—from summer camp to Pilates class—it often fell to Laura’s team to point them in the right direction. Consequently, Laura’s knowledge of the club grew with every question that was asked. “Membership is the base of the organization, so I feel like I had an advantage.”

Still, she admits that the AGM job has its learning curve. For one thing, she’s discovering the ins and outs of acquiring certifications for group fitness instructors. Ditto the intricacies involved in marketing a bunch of programs in multiple categories. But Laura’s biggest on-the-job training challenge involves the sports department; while waiting for a new sports director to come on board, Laura is laying the groundwork for this year’s summer camp.

Not that Club Fit’s Summer Camp program is a foreign concept to Laura.

Au contraire. In fact, Yogi Berra might say “It’s déjà vu all over again.”

Why? Because all three of Laura’s children either have attended (Kyle and Terence) or will attend (Erin) Club Fit’s Summer Camp. And Laura’s Club Fit connection goes deeper than that; her parents were original members when the club opened its doors in 1973.

“I went to the nursery, my parents played tennis —everyone in my family was into fitness,” says Laura, whose siblings include five brothers and one sister. Laura grew up in Yorktown Heights, was a member of Lakeland High’s first girl’s lacrosse team and earned a degree in finance from Iona College. She and her husband, Woody, moved around a little bit before returning to the area in 1996. The following year Laura began working part time at the club as a receptionist and the rest, as they say, is history.

Laura’s mother, Marygrace Torggler, still takes classes at the club, and apparently the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Stating that she “would be miserable” if she didn’t exercise, Laura works out four days a week and is a big fan of trainer Justin Meagher’s intense Mudd-Up or Shudd-Up class. Laura also runs about four miles at a clip, does some elliptical work, and lifts weights. She loves to read and travel; the plan, this year, is to go to Hawaii with her husband to celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary.

Right now, however, folk around Club Fit are celebrating Laura’s promotion.

“During these last few weeks of having Laura on board, I’ve seen a tremendous difference in the management team at the club,” general manager Welling says. “ They’ve received her with open arms. They know that Laura is out there —supporting the membership and our staff, from front line to executive. We’re all in alignment.”

Sounds like perfect harmony. But nothing less should be expected from the not-so-new kid on the block.

Welcome to the ranks of AGM, Laura!