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Member Success Story

Finding Positivity and Strength through Multiple Sclerosis and Cancer


Have you ever failed to see what was right in front of you, until someone else points it out to you?

That's exactly what happened to Toni, who discovered her local Club Pilates in Long Island, NY, after being referred by an out-of-state friend.

Toni grew up an active swimmer and tennis player, and even tried mat Pilates in the past through at-home videos. In the years that passed, her life took many turns.

She became a busy mother of two, and persevered amidst several tragedies and stressors through seasons of her life, including the loss of parents on both sides of her marriage, and health issues which included Multiple sclerosis (MS) and a endometrial cancer diagnosis, all over the course of 27 years.

While Toni's first signs of MS manifested during her second pregnancy, it took about a decade before she began to experience any significant physical limitations. Several years later, the cancer diagnosis came.

Her cancer form required chemotherapy, radiation, and a hysterectomy, plus surgical treatment for a spot was discovered in her lung in addition. Treatment was finally followed by the road to recovery.

Toni credits support form her husband and children, as well as her optimistic nature.

"I have become a master of seeing the positive side of things," Toni shared.

Toni decided to take the following summer off to focus on her recovery and step way from some of the demands in her life.

"I wanted to just recuperate and let life slow down to focus on myself and my health."

At this time, Toni enjoyed a phone call with a friend in Florida, who expressed how much she was enjoying Club Pilates. "Hey, I think there's a Club Pilates opening location near me," Toni thought.

Toni had practiced mat Pilates in her home years ago, so she was familiar with the repertoire and the benefits. 

She began to reminisce on the compliments she would receive from friends, who had noticed how lean and long her body was looking as a result.

The Club Pilates East Meadow location was just about to open.

"It felt serendipitous, I guess you could say, in a way."

This was her opportunity!

It wasn't long before Toni became an active member, attending classes 2-3 times per week. 

It wasn't easy at first, and still isn't at times, especially with the limitations in her leg as a result of her MS. 

Toni shared, "I'm definitely fatigued immediately after class, but once I'm back home, I feel energized and steadier on my feet for the remainder of my day!"

Toni is a big advocate for Pilates for individuals with limited mobility. She continues to push her own boundaries by challenging herself in new ways during class, while also being kind to her body, and recognizing her limitations.

"I love the way that my instructors are so encouraging; they give me praise when I make a necessary modification and nail a move, or have great form!"

Toni continues to attend multiple classes per week to prioritize her health and wellbeing. Her advice for others?

"You always have to find the funny. It's always there somewhere. You can’t be down in the dumps - you have to roll with it."

 Toni Battisti, member of Club Pilates East Meadow.

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