Saturday Spotlight- Maureen Vollaro

Name: Maureen Vollaro (aka: MO)
Age: 48
Status: married to Joe 16+ years, daughter Rosie (14 years old) and Joey (10 years old) One Cat, Stormy.
Vocation: Social Worker!!!
First, I want to Thank Lou, for not only asking me to be WOTW, but for everything that he does for our group! Thank you! And Thank you Kim for introducing me to the HILLS.
The first thing you should know about me is that I grew up in SELDEN!!! Yup, my old stomping grounds! I now live in Miller Place. If anyone told me 30 years ago that I would be running up and down the Selden hills I would have told them they were NUTS!
I played Field Hockey from 7th grade until 12th grade. I loved it! Because I was a slow runner, I always played defense. I was a lifeguard and a swim instructor. Then the college years came, and I must have gained the freshmen 15 lbs every single year!
When I was in graduate school for Social Work, I met my husband, Joe, who was in a PhD program for Neuropsychology. We moved in together, started a business and then got married (in that order). To this day our business is still running strong. We have a Social Service agency for people with Traumatic Brain Injury. The work is rewarding and meaningful. At this point in my career I am focused on doing psychotherapy in a private practice. I absolutely love what I do!
I struggled with my weight my entire life. However, when I look back on pictures of my childhood, I was not as heavy as I thought and felt I was. With each pregnancy I gained 40 lbs but only lost 20 lbs.
Over the years I have gone up and down the scale. Always trying the latest diet, going to the gym, doing this and doing that. About 4 years ago I did P90 and then P90X. I went back to the gym and got a trainer. He started having me run sprints in the parking lot. I couldn’t believe that I was getting stronger and stronger. A friend at work told me about Couch to 5K. That app was the best $1.99 I ever spent! It was a life changer. I ran my very first 5k , a turkey trot November 2013. (more about that later in the week).
About 4 years ago I learned that I was BRCA 2+. Most people know it as the breast cancer gene that Angelina Jolie has. In short, when one has this gene you have an extremely high risk of ovarian and breast cancer. I got a total hysterectomy within six months of my diagnosis. I tried medication (chemotherapy) and monitoring my breasts for 2 more years, but due to a host of reasons, it was time to make the big decision, and that decision was to have a Prophylactic Bilateral Mastectomy with DIEP Flap reconstruction. I had the 14 hour surgery, 7 night hospital stay and three month recovery May 2015. When I say that was my darkest days, that is an understatement. Fast forward 51 weeks, I ran my first ½ marathon! Running saved my sanity and lifted me up! In May 2016 I had more reconstruction surgery. Sadly, I am not done and will need more in the future. I am proud to say that after each of these three surgeries, I was hitting the pavement as soon as I physically could.
What is my take away from this past year?
1) That which doesn’t kill me makes me stronger
2) Fearless
3) I can do whatever I put my mind to
How about you? We all have something in life we need to overcome, what is yours?

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