Just before being interviewed for a Member of the Month write-up, Beth Kelly receives a tight hug from her son Conor who is on break from the Pavilion's Camp Laffalot. The gleam in Beth's eye confirms that she is indeed holding one of her greatest treasures.
Since Conor's birth just six years ago, Beth has undergone 11 surgeries for a variety of health complications ranging from a rare tendon disease that affected both of her ankles to breast cancer.
While the tendon issues arose from pregnancy weight coupled with extra pounds Beth was carrying from a lifelong weight struggle, she endured the pain until Conor was old enough to be in school. Her husband Andrew is from England, so extra family support wasn't really an option. Beth knew she would need extra help caring for her son, especially since ankle surgery meant eight weeks of bearing no additional weight.
"For me, even going to Kroger to buy milk was excruciating. On a pain scale, I was a 7 out of 10 on most days," she recalls. "And with foot and ankle issues, along with fatigue from an autoimmune disorder that resulted from my cancer, I wasn't moving much, which was making me even more unhealthy."
Beth's Journey Starts at TriHealth Fitness & Health Pavilion
When it was time for Conor to start school Beth finally found herself with a little more time, which she used to rehabilitate her ankle after having her first surgery. "I joined the Pavilion in March 2013 after my first surgery and started out in the warm water pool," she recalls.
Since beginning her journey over a year ago, Beth has lost 107 pounds. "Finally, I'm really committed. I work out hard when I'm here; I'm not going to come just to waste my time."
She met with personal trainer Katie Carter, who taught her how to add more variety to her workouts using kettlebells or TRX. "I want to try group fitness classes next," says Beth.
Also key to her success is working out alongside her 14-year-old niece Sophie. "I push myself a lot harder when she is with me. Plus, she has become very health conscious. Sophie deserves a big shout out."
All that hard work has paid off because Beth already has beat her initial weight loss goal by a few pounds. "I have to say -- I'm really proud of myself!"
What's Next on Beth's Path?
Now that she is feeling better and Conor is older, Beth is trying to decide what her next step in life will be. "I was a teacher at Oak Hills for 21 years, but I don't think I'll go back to that. I'm looking for something that will honor my role as a strong, involved parent as well as my newfound commitment to fitness," she notes.
In the meantime, Beth has learned to enjoy each day as it comes.