Jefferson Valley – Receptionist
JP grew up playing baseball and wrestling. When he attended college, JP got into sports talk radio and currently works as a NFL draft scout and football analyst for several online outlets. In his free time, he is either at the gym, on the field or fishing local lakes. JP looks forward to being a part of Club Fit.
by Lisa Olney, Club Fit guest blogger.
If you’re part of the 5:00 am exercise crowd, chances are you’ve met Club Fit Briarcliff member John Gillespie, 57, whose natural energy and captive smile is hard to forget. John’s early-morning workout includes cardio and weight lifting and gives him the energy and jump-start he needs to start his day as a health care public relations professional in the City. John, who recently moved to New York from his native St. Louis, had always led an active lifestyle filled with golf, running, and exercise. That is until two years ago on March 27, 2014, when a normal day at the office became anything but routine.
John was working at a St. Louis hospital in the health system that he worked for when excruciating abdominal pain sent him to the emergency room. John’s bloodwork showed a hemoglobin level of 8 (very low) and an iron level of 0 (non-existent). John was bleeding from his intestines, and his body was unable to stop it.
Diagnosed with a rare and advanced form of lymphoma, called peripheral T-cell lymphoma (PTCL), and four tumors in his small intestine, John’s treatment included a dangerously aggressive six-round, high-dose E-CHOP chemotherapy regimen followed by an autologous stem cell harvest. The E-CHOP began destroying the four tumors, however, two of the tumors burst, forcing emergency surgery to clean up the toxic contents spilling into John’s stomach and to sew his small intestine back together. “The good news was that the chemo worked,” said John, “and the bad news was that the chemo worked.”
Because of the damage to his small intestine and the proximity of one of the remaining tumors to his large intestine, an ileostomy was ordered rather than reattaching his small intestine to the large intestine. The ileostomy diverted the end of his small intestine through his lower abdominal wall where it was attached to an external waste bag for 18 months, a painful experience that made it difficult to exercise and get proper nutrition and hydration. Upon completing his chemo, the stem cells were transplanted and successfully grafted which regenerated his bone marrow. After being cancer- and chemo-free for one year, John was given the green light for an ileostomy reversal on November 4, 2015, to reattach his small intestine to his large intestine which would return his body to normal functionality.
John’s two-year battle with PTCL had been the most painful experience of his life, and he credits the love of his family and two children with helping him persevere. After the pain receded from the ileostomy reversal, John was cleared to begin an exercise program. Enter Club Fit’s HelpRx — a three-month, physician-referral, new-member program for $150 that offers support, guidance and motivation to help people successfully and safely integrate the benefits of regular exercise into their routine. For John, who had lost all muscle tone and a level of fitness and health that had always been a part of his identity, HelpRX was the answer, and he started on the Rx program the week before Thanksgiving.
Restricted from exercise involving abdominal strain for eight weeks, John began his routine with cardio and resistance training, transitioning to weight lifting in January. Under the guidance of Club Fit’s training staff, John’s fitness, strength, and energy quickly improved, and at the end of his three-month Rx membership he signed on to a regular membership because he did not want to go backward. “Exercising is not work anymore,” explains John. “It’s become a routine, a commitment.”
In his four months with Club Fit, John has lost 20 pounds, six inches, and his strength has increased dramatically. “I missed being fit,” said John. “The Club Fit staff has always been very supportive of my goals. I’ve never had to pay for training or classes to access their expertise.” John tries to exercise 5-6 days a week with 35-40 minutes of cardio exercise on the StrideClimber elliptical machines and 30 minutes of weight lifting, with bench pressing being a favorite activity. “Weight lifting has become my favorite,” says John. “Reaching new benchmarks is very rewarding.” John’s latest benchmark is seven reps at 190 pounds, and this month he may hit his next benchmark of 200 pounds.
“I’ve gone from not being able to lift a carton of milk to bench pressing 190 pounds,” said John. “So if I can leave anyone with just one thought, it would be that it is possible to feel healthy again — to recover from cancer or severe injury or just to get healthy.”
Briarcliff – Receptionist
Malea is a graduate of Ossining High School who received her diploma a year early. She is someone who takes pride in being one of the strongest women she knows. Malea is also pursuing a degree in chemistry at the College of New Rochelle. In Malea’s spare time she is a personal trainer, certified through NASM.
Jefferson Valley – Childcare Worker
Laura comes to Club Fit after working over 30 years in the trade show industry. She has always been described as a warm and
friendly person. She takes pride in her organizational, leadership and people skills. Laura loves taking classes at the Club, and
yoga is a favorite. After recently becoming a grandmother, she is looking forward to working with children….they lighten
up her day!
Jefferson Valley – Café Counterperson
Dean returns to us after a short absence. He is a graduate of Putnam Valley High School and is now attending Iona College, studying to Major in Marketing and Minor in Economics. Dean is into sports and fitness, and loves the gym atmosphere.
Jefferson Valley – Lifeguard
Devin is a hard worker. He likes to meet new people, expand his horizons and open new doors. Devin is attending Westchester Community College, and is working towards an Associates Degree. He is also working toward a Personal Training Certification, and wants to pursue a career in Personal Fitness and Nutrition.
Briarcliff Manor – Massage Therapist
Alice Pan loves offering massage for relaxation, sports conditioning, and rehabilitation – enhancing our daily experience of fitness, health, and bliss. Alice has been practicing since 2009 in New York, Germany, Sweden, and India. She also currently teaches at the Finger Lakes School of Massage in Mount Kisco, NY. She looks forward to meeting you, and providing service that will effectively support your optimal health.
Briarcliff Manor – Fitness Coach
Paige is currently studying Exercise Science at Mercy College. She enjoys jogging, dancing and doing yoga. In her previous occupation, she traveled to three different states and participated in trail work in which she chopped trees and made trails.
New Club Fit Staff Member – Yvonne Mazza
Jefferson Valley – Membership Representative
Yvonne joins Club Fit with 28 years of customer experience at PepsiCo. Yvonne’s corporate experience, combined with her energetic personality, is a perfect fit for our guest membership representative role. Yvonne enjoys spending time with her husband and four active daughters.
Jefferson Valley – Lifeguard
Luis Estevez is a student of the University of Pennsylvania, studying biochemistry. He is interested in science and the way things
work. He is also very passionate about music, and performs with a number of musical groups both in and out of college. In
addition, he has been involved in swimming for a number of years, both as a member of several swim teams and as an assistant
Briarcliff Manor – Childcare Worker
Sam is a returning staff member, currently a student at Westchester Community College where he studies graphic design and is working toward transferring schools to attend and play football at Coastal Carolina in South Carolina. Some of his hobbies include football, basketball, golf, drawing, designing clothes, and staying in shape. He one day hopes to own a successful clothing line.
By Dan Malone
MSED School Administration, MSED Special Education, Lifeguard Instructor, Water Safety Instructor Trainer, CPR Trainer
In the northeast, we often associate aquatics with the opening of summer pools. Students are on break for several months and the local swimming pools are open from morning till early evening. Children and parents of all ages anxiously await the opportunity to enjoy the water and bask in the sun.
This spring make a cohesive plan to ensure your child is water ready! Successful swimming programs explicitly teach children how to be safe in, on and around water. Children learn to bob to safety, float on their backs, change directions while swimming and swim to safety. Students are instructed on how to properly size and wear a life jacket. Most importantly children ascertain how to identify water hazards and stay safe. Children learn to identify lifeguards, read water depth markers and made educated decisions when around water.
Parents need to remain vigilant when their children are around water.
The best swim programs in Westchester County promote and teach water safety while allowing children to have fun. Water Safety Instructors need to be highly qualified. Signs of a quality program include several lifeguards on deck, water safety instructors who are in the water, adequate teaching equipment and a clean structured environment.
Club Fit in Briarcliff offers one of the most comprehensive aquatic programs in the area. Swim lessons are offered for children and adults of all ages. Programs start for children as early as six months of age. School age children develop their swimming skills in the Learn to Swim Program, which spans across six levels. Adults have opportunities to enroll in beginner, intermediate and fitness swimmer classes. The water in the recreational pool is a comfortable 86 degrees.
Club Fit also offers lifeguard training, CPR/AED training and the Water Safety Instructor Course for teenagers and adults who are interested in working in aquatic environments. Dedicated professionals, including former collegiate swimmers, EMT’s and NYS certified teachers and school administrators provide pinnacle instruction on how to teach water safety and save lives. When examining programs this spring, seek out professionals who are caring and passionate about aquatic safety.