LIVESTRONG Leaders are individuals that make a yearly significant commitment to those in their community affected by cancer by spreading the message of the LIVESTRONG Foundation. They do this by fundraising, hosting events, bringing LIVESTRONG Foundation resources to their local hospitals and more. One of our amazing leader from Japan, Manami Hirose, talks about why she is involved with LIVESTRONG and what she is doing in his community to help spread the LIVESTRONG Foundation message.
What does LIVESTRONG mean to you?
Since the birth of living things on earth, living things have overcome adverse circumstances and evolved. In other words, in order to live, we as human beings have challenged new things and been connected by life. We have the ability to evolve.
I personally met with adverse circumstances called cancer four years ago. Since then, I have challenged myself in many ways because of cancer. LIVESTRONG means a CHALLENGE for me. Challenge gave me strength, courage, power, love, new encounters, and self-confidence with positive thinking.
I think how challenges including cancer has allowed me to evolve and grow as a happy human being!
Why are you Leader?
In 2008, at the age of 45, I was diagnosed with breast cancer, and had a mastectomy of my left breast. When emotionally down with side effects such as numbness and pain caused by the surgery, I came across Lance Armstrong’s book It’s Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life. It gave me bold courage , positive energy and hope. Then I challenged to exercise like swimming, running , aerobics dance every day during my one year of chemotherapy and radiation treatment. This made me in good physical condition. I went to fitness school to get a certification as a fitness instructor and I have studied the effects of cancer and exercise. I have visited NYC to learn from “Moving For Life” to become a cancer exercise specialist. In Japan, many people still think that cancer survivors should not exercise so much. But exercise is effective in reducing various side effects. I want to share my cancer experience and to tell the importance of the exercise to survivors. That’s why I am a leader.
What are you doing in your community?
I ‘m a fitness leader for Japan for LIVESTRONG volunteer group. I have held fitness events like walking, running, cycling etc about four times a year. I am also a volunteer leading a “Breast Cancer Fitness Gathering” and I teach a recovery exercise program.
Through these fitness events and classes, I tell participants the importance and pleasure of exercise, and they share their feelings with each other and they find a new feeling to overcome cancer together. I started a new seminar event, “Happy & Smile seminar” that brings up issue of emotional care and gives happy positive feelings to cancer survivors. I held my first event this last Feb: “Happy” movie documentary event with two cancer survivors, movie producer and a famous buddhist monk as panelists after the movie, and all participants were very satisfied and happy!
This year is another new challenge!
I ran two marathons in Tokyo and Osaka holding “Over Cancer Together” sign to raise awareness of Survivorship empowerment campaign in Japan co-initiated by the LIVESTRONG Foundation. And I could finished two times of full marathon in two weeks!!
CHALLENGE always make me find new joy and new happiness!
I’m enjoying the values and spirit of LIVESTRONG and wish to continue these activities together with my members.
I am committed with passion to continue these activities to overcome cancer together with my precious friends now and in the future!