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Mom, Thanks for the Gift of Fitness

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Get Fit -- Body and Soul

Eight years ago, Alissa's dad suffered a major spinal-cord accident that put him in rehab for six months (he now walks with a cane). "I hated waking up alone -- it reminded me of how much our lives had changed -- so I started going to the gym first thing in the morning," Sylvia says. "I loved being surrounded by all these people working out." Her newfound strength helped her again in 2005 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. "I kept my workout clothes in the car and after my radiation treatments I would drive straight to the gym. I wanted my identity to be with healthy people." Now mother and daughter regularly take walks during the week on their lunch breaks. (They both work at McGill University, Alissa as a senior researcher in adolescent high-risk behavior and Sylvia as the associate director of the Centre for Educational Leadership.) "My childhood memories are full of skiing, snowshoeing, and swimming, and I want the same for my daughters," says Alissa, who also does Pilates twice a week. "I truly believe that exercise builds self-confidence and makes you a more interesting person."

Thank you, Mom, for...

"Teaching me the importance of making myself physically strong. I learned from you that when you're in shape, you can handle anything -- even stress and traumatic life events."
Love, Alissa

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