Kim Cooper shares what life event has influenced her most.
Hands down the thing that has influenced my life most would be becoming a mother to a cancer survivor. Never did I imagine that I would hear the words, your daughter has cancer. My daughter Taylor was diagnosed at age four with Stage 3 cancer. The treatments were grueling, to say the least, and it was a very long nine months. The outpouring of love from family, friends, and complete strangers was undeniably the biggest blessing and from then on I looked at the world with “new” eyes. Taylor and I’s journey in life has not been the easiest, but I am thankful every day that God chose me to be her mom. The silver lining is that our struggles set fire to my want to give back, specifically with children. I have been busy ever since and that was 15 years ago. I am extremely proud to say that Taylor will start nursing school in the fall. They say that your circumstances do not define you but your reaction to them does. I could not agree more. I hope to leave both my girls with the knowledge and confidence that they can overcome anything that life throws at them.
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Dr. Jason Regis
Dr. Jason Regis fondly reflects on his past 40 years and offers up advice to those in their 20s and 30s.
A friend and I have a saying, “You have your first 40 years and then your second 40 years. You use the tools and wisdom that you learned to improve.” Forty used to seem old to me, but now I am proud to say that I am Over 40 (and Fabulous)! I am happy to have had these years and experience and hope to be blessed with many more. Some people look at the age of forty as the time when your body starts to break down and you are supposed to have aches and pains. The truth is that you shouldn’t feel those aches and pains until the age range of 80-85; that is, if you take care of yourself. I tell all my 20- and 30-year-olds to add healthy habits now and to look at it like coins in a piggy bank. These habits are investments on how you will look and feel at 50,60, 70 years old and beyond. As a person that has endured torn ACLs, broken wrists, broken ribs, concussions, two car accidents that almost ended my career as a chiropractor, and had 11 out of the 13 abnormalities of the spine, I know recovery and how to maintain health. The reality is we all have our challenges, the important thing is to never give up! I keep a trophy displayed in my office from a basketball tournament that I was named the MVP of at 40 years old. I hadn’t played basketball in literally 15 years. My “Team Members” (patients) see what is possible with perseverance and determination!
The story I don’t tell most people is that I was actually homeless for about 11 weeks after I was divorced. I maintained a full personal training schedule and nobody knew. I kept clothes organized in plastic bags in my SUV where I slept. I had been staying in an in-law suite that flooded days before our big flood in 2008. Between court fees and saving for a decent place for my three kids, I couldn’t afford even a hotel. I worked so late that it didn’t make sense to get a hotel so I would just sleep in my truck. I would get to the gym early to shower and change before anyone arrived. I don’t remember eating much those days. When I did get a chance to have my kids for a weekend, I would rent a room with a kitchen and bring all my pots and pans stored in garbage bags and buy groceries so that I could still give the kids a home-cooked meal. It was pretty much spaghetti and garlic bread every time. (One client asked ” Did you ever think you would be a Doctor and be homeless?”) Life right? Well, I was finally able to save enough to rent a house with a roommate. I then went on a mission to complete my 15-year plan in 9 months. Talk about ambition. Eventually, after a few years, I was able to buy a house in the same neighborhood and my office in the same month. It has been quite a turnaround and it has increased my humility and appreciation of what I have and also empathy for those less fortunate. The writing in this year’s Father’s Day card let me know my children have been paying attention and have gained valuable lessons from my example.