Pilates has Heart

Hilary Opheim of Washington Avenue Pilates

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

How Pilates has Heart was Born

"For as long as I remember,  fitness for me meant keeping trim by dieting as needed in order to obtain a look that was pleasing...but recently I found the need for more strength and something that would help ease back and neck pains.  I knew that Pilates involved lots stretching, but I didn’t know how much strength I could gain or how much fun a work-out program could be.
With the help and reinforcement of Kim and Hilary over just 8 weeks I can see a difference in my arms, core and legs that I was not sure was possible. The stretching has helped my posture and relieved the neck and back pains that I had for a long time.  A big concern about “working out” was a result of my being in recovery from a heart transplant in Feb ’09.  After finally getting to a point of positive future health, I was somewhat afraid that I would be limited in my ability to do anything that may be the least bit strenuous. But, with the encouragement of my doctor and the help of KIm and Hilary I am happy to see that I can do so much.
The girls have tailored a plan for me and even took it upon themselves to research my condition to formulate the plan. And, they make it fun to go to class while providing continued results!"         Terri Dome- September 2009

Terri Dome came to Washington Avenue Pilates (WAP) as soon as her doctor gave her the thumbs up to work out after her Heart Transplant. Terri was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma at age 13. After receiving treatment of chemotherapy as well as large doses of radiation over the course of a year and a half, her cancer was in remission. When she began fainting at age 28, she discovered that the radiation that treated her cancer had damaged her heart and lungs. After years of pacemakers, she began to become short of breath and have swelling problems. The pacemakers weren’t working anymore. Terri underwent a surgical procedure known as a “pericardiectomy” in which the some of the pericardium (the outer tissues that surround the heart) is removed. The operation was not successful at improving her breathing. A heart transplant was the next, and last, thing to try. After more than a year of waiting and multiple “dry runs” in which Terri had to be ready and prepped in case a heart became available, she successfully received a donor heart.

Terri was a fixture of light and love at our studio and after her workouts she would sit in the lobby area in "her" chair and visit with other clients, watch the activity and just socialize. She knew every instructor and how they came to WAP, she knew the clients that came in and out and became friends with many. Terri had a gift of making you laugh, feel special and just brought a beautiful energy whenever she was around.

Terri would say that WAP saved her life. She enjoyed not only the benefits to her body and how she continued to get stronger and more flexible but, she truly enjoyed the release for her mind and really slowing down to focus on the work. She loved seeing how one day she could do an exercise that before she couldn't have dreamed of doing. She loved to sit in her chair and watch the instructors train each other. When they would do an advanced move she would calmly nod and say "yea, I do that!" with a straight face but, a sarcastic wit that was all Terri.

Sadly we lost Terri on July 1, 2014. She had survived with her heart for 5 years and had touched us in ways that we still are realizing. On the first anniversary of her passing, July 1, 2015 we decided it was time to continue with Terri's work and remember her in a way she would have loved. Terri did so much work with kids dealing with cancer, The Heart Institute and many others. So, why not combine those with her love of Pilates and WAP.

On February 14, 2009 Terri got her new heart that allowed our lives to be touched by her. So, we thought it only fitting to make our Annual Pilates has Heart event  kick off on February 14, 2016. Plans are in the making and details will come so check back and we hope to have you be a part of this. We will have a great outdoor mat class, an auction, a speaker and refreshments.

If you are interested in donation of auction items or anything you think would be fitting please contact us at  info@wapilates.com

-See more on Terri :  Cancer Forward