2016 NPAA Magazine 2016 - Volume 1 - Page 67

Neesha Jakubowski November 2015 Canada Championships | Heart Award Neesha has a disease called Ankylosing Spondylitis. It is a genetic auto immune disorder that attacks the sacroiliac joints, eventually fusing them to the spine. Neesha is an incredible role model for her children and those around her. This journey is far more than reaching the NPAA stage. It is about teaching others to push through obstacles and gain strength within. Although Neesha isn’t able to transform her body from its illness, she has transformed her mindset to live with the disease and not allow it to mummify her soul. Her transformation is in her heart and mind. Neesha is living to help others fight this disease. Through social media, Neesha posts about her journey as an Ankylosing Spondylitis Warrior. She has followers who have this disease watching her progress. She is an inspiration and a fighter. Brittany Mckill May 2016 BC Classic | Transformation Award Around the age of 16 I became involved with drugs and raving. By the time I was 18 I was a meth addict. I cleaned up when I found out I was pregnant with my son, but never dealt with my addiction. At the age of 23 I entered Rehab, it was the best thing I ever did! After rehab I became focused on starting my own business a hair salon, I met my new husband, but with my busy schedule and poor eating choices I gained 50 lbs. I felt awful about myself again. Being a recovering drug addict I began to obsess about my size. Then I met my wonderful friend and trainer who got me involved with her team of girls and in June of 2015 started me on a healthy diet. I have lost more than 50 pounds, I gained lean muscle and I look and feel healthy. Meeting Lisa Parker, my coach and getting involved in this amazing sport, is the best thing that has ever happened to me! I have learned healthy habits, I have made wonderful friends, and I am making a good example of healthy life choices for my now 10 year-old son. Melissa Gramaglia May 2015 Canada Classic | Transformation Award When I was 34 years old, life was finally coming together. My husband and I were married for 2 years, we had just bought a beautiful new home, I had a job that I loved, and we were expecting twins! Thanksgiving weekend 2013, as I lay in bed with my husband, I suddenly didn’t feel quite right. At that moment, our lives changed in an instant…I had suffered a major left MCA (middle cerebral artery) stroke. I spent nearly a month in the new South Calgary Campus hospital (they had moved me from the Foothills). I spent time doing speech therapy and occupational therapy for 2 weeks before the babies arrived. I had to learn how to do everything from square one. After a very long and challenging journey, as a stroke survivor and new mom I had to set a new positive goal for myself. I had competed back in 2012 as a bucket list item before I got pregnant. I wasn’t sure if I could do it because it is such a serious commitment; however I wanted to give myself the opportunity to set this goal and achieve it. I’ve come SO far… and I thought this would be the icing on the cake (or the coconut oil on my egg white omelet!). I wanted to do it for me… to show my husband, my family, my friends, my kids, my doctors, nurses, therapists, coaches, and everyone who has helped make my journey a success, THIS is the result of you! I am successful because of everything you’ve given me. THANK YOU. I am truly fortunate for the opportunity to come back stronger than ever. I started training to compete with the NPAA in the spring 2016 show. I want to show the world what dedication, perseverance, and commitment really means. On the days that were a struggle and I wanted to give up… it would just make me work harder. My dad always tried to instill a good work ethic in me, and I’m proud to say that paid off. A positive attitude goes a heck of a long way! I can’t change what happened to me, but I can do everything to make our future bright. 61.