I would like to nominate my Pilates instructor, and the owner of the studio I attend, Chantal Perron. Chantal not only changed my life, but also literally gave my life back to me! When I met Chantal for the first time, almost seven years ago at her studio, Goa Pilates in Montreal, I was a wounded being.
I was suffering terrible residual damage from a serious spinal surgery and, aside from the pain, I had lost confidence in my ability to navigate myself. My posture and balance had suffered, and I was terrified of doing any exercise lest I damage my spine further. I was on a steady course of painkillers for nerve pain, and on another course of medication to counteract the effects of the first medication. What a mess I was!
Chantal inspired me with her own story of rehabilitation, and convinced me that I could improve my well being in a safe way – something I was looking for and had not found. She worked with me very slowly and in a very targeted manner. Within a few months I was not only hooked, but also vastly improved in my balance, posture and mobility. The best part of this story was that within a year I was completely off my medication – my stretched spine had relieved the nerve pain naturally!! It seemed a miracle, and my neurologist was amazed. I now know how to stretch my spine whenever I suffer from nerve spasms and I can control and eliminate the pain. I will never be able to thank Chantal enough for the great gift of learning how to know and take control of my body. I had a second experience that made me realize that meeting Chantal was a life changer. Eighteen months after starting Pilates, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Chantal guided me through that horror, and helped me to follow my Pilates class all through the rigorous and difficult period of radiation. I almost never missed a class throughout that period. She adapted my participation to this new challenge and made me feel like I was no different from the other participants. Class was a challenge, but always keeping my health and comfort first and foremost, she made sure that I didn’t have to miss a class because I was too ill or weak. Her encouragement was an important part of my recovery – both health and self-confidence. It is very difficult to put into words how this kindness and patience, this steady encouragement can change the way you direct your life. So much of recovery is self-esteem, and Pilates has given me that amazing gift. Chantal made it happen. I will always be grateful to her for that gift. Not only through one illness, but also twice.
Now for something truly amazing; in my latest bone density scan, my spine has grown 1.5 centimetres – enough to allow my spinal problems to be almost eliminated!! I’ve just turned 70 years old!! Thanks to Chantal, her staff and the studio, I feel more like 50! I participate in a class at Goa Pilates three or four times a week!! Chantal deserves a special recognition. She moved my life forward at times when it seemed impossible. I will always be grateful for the day Chantal came into my life.
Thank you for considering this nomination of Chantal Perron.