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Inside story: Maria Ciciretto

“It was hard to accept,” says Maria. “When I heard the dreadful “C” word, I vowed that as much as cancer can take away many things I wouldn’t let it take my heart and soul.” Maria was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014. As a marathon runner and cyclist, Maria was worried she wouldn’t get back to her ‘normal’ after diagnosis. “I had signed up for a half marathon and once I heard my diagnosis, my first response was, will I be able to run again,” says Maria.

After treatment, Maria began looking for support. Through word of mouth she discovered Wellspring Westerkirk House and jumped right into the Cancer Exercise program and trained with Cherilee and Nicole. Wellspring provided Maria with an opportunity to meet others in similar situations so she didn’t feel like she was alone in her diagnosis. “The Cancer Exercise program helped me feel like I was myself again. I looked forward to the program. It gave me a purpose and I felt like I was one step closer to normalcy.”

Maria always knew she wanted to give back once she started to feel better. She reached out to her workplace and expressed how much Wellspring helped her which resulted in her company generously donating $2500 to Wellspring. While reading Wellspring’s monthly e-newsletter, Well on the Way, Maria learned about the Wellspring Peloton Experience, a 1-day cycling journey through southern Ontario. She decided to sign up. “It was a chance to give back and do something that made me feel like I was involved,” says Maria. In addition to her Cancer Exercise program, Maria did spinning and strength training to get ready for the Peloton Experience. She reached out to her network to help her reach her fundraising goal. “I pushed myself because I wanted to see how far my body would go. Wellspring helped me get back on track with my journey and helped me accept my ‘new’ normal.” She had wonderful support from both Nicole cheering her on and Cherilee at Wellspring who completed the Experience with her.

With determination fuelling her, Maria completed the 100 km Peloton Experience. “My only goal was to cross that finish line with complete satisfaction regardless of my time.” says Maria. “I felt like I was riding for all the members who couldn’t.” Reaching the finish line was an emotional moment for Maria. She was proud of herself and thrilled to have achieved such an accomplishment.

“The Peloton Experience not only allowed me to give back but it also allowed me to create my “new normal” while reconnecting with my “old self”, says Maria. “Cancer is difficult in itself but I was fortunate to be able to continue to participate in events like the Peloton Experience.  This is my second chance to give back and I am going to take it.”

You too can participate in this 50km or 100 km epic adventure. To learn more about training and event details please visit www.wellspring.ca/2018experience.

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