Humans of Eastside Fitness – Mary Ellen

Humans of Eastside Fitness is a monthly feature on our blog.  Inspired by the interesting and popular – Humans of New York series which aims to catalogue a cross section of the people who inhabit New York City, we aim to document the diverse and dedicated community who workout and hang out at Eastside Fitness. 
I grew up in Penticton in a large, low income family, with both parents attached to their nicotine. Fitness was not on the family agenda!  I was raised in a large, loving family, but our biggest activity was walking our Westies around the block, twice a day!
I moved to Vancouver at 19 and started a full time, 9 to 5 job.  That opened up all sorts of new and exciting fitness adventures.   My first, and always love, was my very own Rocky Mountain commuter bike!   Biking all over Vancouver was my favorite way to discover and explore this amazing city.    Then I discovered dragon boating and the desire to be in top shape for my new coed team of 22! This also had me at the gym,  whenever not paddling all over False Creek.      The love of paddling and all the fantastic new men and woman I met reinforced my new active lifestyle. I was also able to have some great paddle adventures to many North American and far east destinations.    One of my teammates, also became  my soul mate and not soon after came our lovely boys Caelan and Ian.
As we all know, working full time and raising kids, fitness often gets pushed aside on the busy list.    My only time for fitness was my daily bike commute to downtown Vancouver and the occasional yoga class.  Working like an Air Traffic Controller at the Supreme Court was an extremely interesting, busy and stressful time, which took its toll on me.  I was hit with two separate diagnoses of breast cancer.
The first hit was on the left side in 2009.  After a lumpectomy, I was able to ride my bike to and from my radiation treatments each day for six weeks.
In 2013, I received a second diagnosis on the right side.  It was the time for the very tough decision to have a full mastectomy, with implant replacements.   That was the most challenging year of my life, but with the support of family, friends and neighbours, and a very positive spin on life, I was able to carry on!
In 2013, I could barely lift my tea cup with one hand.   Today, I feel extremely fortunate to have my health and have now made fitness one of my top priorities.   Attending Eastside Fitness up to five times a week has made me feel strong and fiery again. I love attending all of the classes, but doing the Zumba with all my great Gal Pals every Saturday morning is the best feeling of all!


  1. Triump to Mary Ellen!

  2. Love your strength Mary Ellen!

  3. Way to go Mary Ellen! Your story is inspiring. Thanks for sharing and hope to see you at Zumba!


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