Monday, November 23, 2015

The 6th Annual Evelyn Knapp "Run to Remember"

Another year, great day, love the supporters and sponsors - Thank you!!!!

Holy Family Choir - Thank you!!!

Start Line

Green Vale Pacers

Over All Winner - Skylar

The Pacers

Oyster Bay Citation presented to Coach Cami Gallagher of the Green Vale Pacers

Our Tee Shirt Dedications to loved ones

Thank you Sponsors!

Gerard, Catherine, Teresa, LuAnn and Amanda

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Southampton Hospital Presents "You are never too young for prevention"

Our friends at Southampton Hospital.
 'You are never too young for prevention." 
December 10, 5 - 6pm

Call to register 631-726-8800

Monday, October 26, 2015

Kate Fox "Sometimes Adversity Isn't"; Giving Others Strength

Here is the link to our interview with Kate Fox , scroll down to an early blog and read all about the before, after and during the break!

Debbie, Jacqui and Kate

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Kate Fox

Last Thursday, Debbie and I were invited to present Strength for Life on Kate Fox's show 

"Sometimes Adversity Isn't

and we were gifted with a copy of her newest book 

"HOPE." click to purchase

Kate explained that there were four poems in this book that she wrote over the weekend retreat she spent with Strength for Life in 2014.  We love to hear the wonderful stories that survivors share  during and after the retreat but to have them in this book is beyond anything we could imagine. Here is  one of the four, but the entire book is our friend and purchase one!

               waking to the sunrise
               after a restless but restful night
               I stretch arms overhead
               legs out as far as they will go 
               and I feel aches
               in places that haven't 
               felt that way
               in awhile
               marveling at how
               my body is able to move
               in ways I'd long forgotten
               I relish every ache as
               I ready myself for
               another day of living 

As it was, there was a problem with a camera which was no problem because Kate's colleague Kathy Leo jumped in to videotape.  We shared about our classes and our retreats and Kathy was taken back since she practices these healing therapies; we didn't even have to convince her to join us at our next retreat.  From there on the 'Universe' took over, together we were four with the simple desire 'to serve."  

Life is Good!

The day after our meeting, which was mind blowing in synchronicity, Kate presented Debbie and with this poem.

Goosebumps and Tear by Kate Fox

Sitting with these ladies
As I've sat with so many
I am brought to tears 
For the first time
My body is covered in
Goosebumps for
Most of the day
Long after they've gone
Long after I've returned home
Immersed in the chaos 
Of children and the 
Mundane tasks of life
I find myself in tears again
Smile across my face
Eyes looking to the sky
Chills everywhere 
Shock rolls through me
As I realize that
While I have been blessed 
To know many wonderful people
These are the ladies who blessed me
With an experience that 
Clearly affected me 
More than I realized
I am humbled as
Encircles me


Thursday, October 15, 2015


Registration is open for the LI2DAY Walk, June 11 and Half Marathon June 12. This is an awesome event that Strength for Life has been involved with for 4 years and both proud and blessed to be a beneficiary of.  Join team "STRENGTH FOR LIFE". If you register by the end of October the registration fee is reduced to $60 from $75 AND you receive a great promotional shirt.
In the last 4 years the LI2Day has awarded Strength for Life $56,900, now we promote the event to others because of our wonderful experience with them, aside from the financials. From year one we have been in awe of the accomplishments, professionalism and camaraderie of the LI2DAY team.
Your obligation is to raise $500 for a GREAT cause, where all the money raised stays on LI. Look at the beneficiaries - they are all our neighbors, helping family, friends and neighbors. As a survivor, you are so honored during this event - with an emotional walk over the bridge ... and if you do not believe you can walk 13.1 miles there is help. If you are concerned and able to walk the 13.1, Strength for Life will train you! Join us and just do it!

The LI2DAY Walk was originally founded in 2004 responding to the critical need for funding of community-based organizations that provide assistance to Long Islanders with breast cancer. Funds raised go to local grassroots breast cancer and other women’s cancer organizations, breast cancer research and the LI2Day Scholarship Fund. The LI2Day Walk is a volunteer-based community event like no other with a constituency of over 1,000 active and enthusiastic participants. LI2DAY is committed to Long Islanders who are fighting breast cancer. LI2DAY has raised over $6 MILLION to assist Long Islanders with medical expenses, transportation, prosthetics and wigs, physical therapy, child care, research and education. NEW: In 2014, LI2DAY expanded its mission to include funding for all can

Strength for Life is a non- profit organization providing FREE exercise classes and wellness retreats to cancer patients/survivors on LI. Our immediate purpose is to help cancer patients feel their absolute best, to regain their ‘strength for life’, improve their daily functional activities, quality of life and self- esteem. The ultimate mission is to educate the medical community on the benefits of adding exercise to the treatment and recovery plan.  In 2010 the American College of Sports Medicine changed their guidelines for cancer patients to “avoid inactivity” and to date there are many studies touting the benefits of exercise.  The medical community needs to be more pro-active in adding an exercise prescription to their treatment plan. Strength for Life is committed to make classes as accessible as possible to all cancer patients/survivors in Nassau and Suffolk counties by seeking donated space at a location convenient to the group to eliminate the travel burden from the survivors.  We provide the equipment for each to keep and continue the exercises at home.  Strength for Life maintains these programs at no cost to the survivor to eliminate any financial burden.

Wellness Retreat offers 20 survivors an overnight stay at a local hotel, meals and a variety of classes introducing them to different modalities of exercise and complementary therapies, and the necessary equipment to continue their exercise prescription at home. Classes include but not limited to Zumba, Strength Training, Yoga, Tai Chi, Reiki, Sound Healing, Art / Writing Therapy, Feng Shui for Healing in addition to presentations by Doctors of Naturopathic and Osteopathic Medicine along with other Holistic Healers.  The retreat can best be described by a testimonial from Great Non Profits (below).

I don't even know how to begin to say .....thank you .... My amazing journey with Strength For Life began with a newspaper article given to me by a friend. I took that info to my social worker and from there it was up to me to get actively involved in my healing. And I did.... Monday nights at Winthrop are fun. Jacqui, you make me, us feel alive and loved through exercise. Thank you! When I found out Strength for Life gives us a weekend of healing I couldn't believe it. I still can't believe it. What a beautiful, kind, educational fun, amazing, active weekend I had. Not only did you, Debbie and Theresa exercise my body but also my mind. We had guest speakers that gave a food for thought, more like a feast! We zumba'd, had yoga and had the most enlightened Reiki experience. Thank you! Since breast cancer I do my best to find the silver lining in life. Strength for life has been one of those big silver linings. With Gratitude, Catherine Beriloff To all those amazing, strong women I met on the September 2015 weekend I am sending positive energy to your journey of healing . Namaste 

For more information please do not hesitate to call 631-675-6513 or email

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Cycle for Strength, October 3, 2015 raises $37,000 for Strength for Life

Strength for Life would like to thank Barbara Larrea  
and the World Gym Wantagh  for organizing “Cycle for Strength” held 10/03/14 from 9-1 at Mulcahy’s.  Another epic two hour event with participants invited to ride in honor of a cancer warrior. Enormous effort was put forth by Ms. Larrea to organize this event and by the “Team and Family’ of World Gym Wantagh. Over $37,000 was raised by this generous community, and the sponsors of the event.

Each of the 75 riders was asked to fundraise $350 for the event and all exceeded their goal.  The energy at Mulcahy’s was palpable as the riders entered,  claimed their seat, bought raffles and prepared for the experience.  Anthony Musemici and Barbara Larrea took center stage and led the riders on a fantastic journey through NYC in conjunction with their heartfelt and inspiring words.

Add in food and an open bar – what can entice you more to ride for two hours on a gloomy rainy day!

Strength for Life (SFL), is a non-profit dedicated to providing free exercise programs designed to enhance the recovery process of persons with a cancer diagnosis throughout Long Island communities.  Services provided include educating cancer patients, caregivers and the medical community on the benefits of incorporating exercise into the treatment regimen and its effect on reducing the risk of certain cancers and re-occurrences, along with improving bodily functional activities.  Programs are conducted by certified cancer exercise specialists in a group setting and held at accessible locations throughout Nassau and Suffolk counties.  Over the past 7 years SFL has reached more than 1,500 patients and survivors.

Many survivors are initially intimidated to go back into the gym environment, our intent is to empower them to embrace the "new normal" and feel confident enough to go back to their previous activities. Learning of the astronomical co pays of a cancer diagnosis and how it can make it financially difficult for many to work with a personal trainer Strength for Life has found this solution. We have tried to eliminate all the barriers – travel, equipment, cost and qualified cancer exercise specialists.

At World Gym Wantagh – Ann Handy offers a Wellness class on Friday morning which many of our survivors added to their regime – at the low cost of $5 a walk in session. Kudos World Gym Wantagh.

We are truly blessed to have been introduced to Ms. Larrea and the many people she inspires to support our cause, Strength for Life.

**From a rider's post on FB....(this is the family at World Gym Wantagh)

**Super huge THANK YOU to everyone that helped support our ride Saturday for Cycle for Strength.. You all helped me surpass my own personal goal by over 150%!! Total amount raised $37,000.00!!!! And if that's not impressive enough.. Here's a little perspective.. CFS (Cycle for Strength) is not a huge conglomerate organization that's publicized & exposed all over the country... It's a vision driven by 1 person who's heart can NOT be measured!! 1 amazing person that inspires so many to love. To be all the person that they can be.. To give 110%.. To never quit.. To chase their dreams.. To never regret.. Honestly, never in my life have I met anyone like Barbara Larrea. Her time, her dedication, and her attention to every last detail that she devoted in preparing for the CFS was remarkable! Hundreds of people participated & she made sure that she found pictures of every single one of them & included them in her video.. REALLY?? Anyone that knows her knows how lucky they are to be friends with such a beautiful person.. Looking forward to next year already!

Monday, October 5, 2015

16th Wellness Retreat Revisited

Anti Climatic!

That’s what Jac and I always say after a Wellness Retreat -  we work hard prior to one with hopes that everything will fall into place (always does!) and I ,for one, have nervous energy right up to the morning of the weekend (YES - I drive Jacqui crazy leading up to one!).  This retreat happen to fall on the same day as a Strength for Life fundraiser that a very good friend was running.  I was a bit torn, I wanted to be at the Met/Yankee game with my family and friends supporting SFL and helping Brian Nealis anyway I possibly could but needed (and WANTED) to be at our 16th Wellness Retreat doing what I love to do:)

The fundraiser was a huge success (no surprise with Brian in charge!), it raised over $3000 for SFL!  Everyone I spoke to said the it was AWESOME, from the bus to the tailgating, right down to the seats!   Great time had by all!  Note to self......NO retreat on August 1, 2016 - the next scheduled Met/Yankee fundraiser (SAVE THE DATE and join the fun!)!!  THANK YOU BRIAN!

Well, even with all the rave reviews, I would not have traded my spot that day for anything.  Jacqui, Teresa and I had the absolute pleasure of meeting 20 of the most amazing, beautiful women.  They all brought with them a story that each so openly shared, letting us take a glimpse of their inspiring journey and inspiring us while doing so. 

Our day started with Dr. Mike Gruttadauria of NY Health Solutions (check him out www.nyhealthsolutions).  This was Dr. Mike’s first speaking engagement for Strength for Life and boy did he NAIL it!  Dr. Mike’s talk was eye opening for all of us and was presented with such simplicity that even a crash course on methylation was  easily understood!  He offered a different take on healthcare and healing (which is right on!) and invaluable information for our guests to absorb.  It is obvious that he is as passionate as we are and clearly he is on an important path.  We are so grateful for his time, hopefully he will stick to us like marshmallows on potatoes (ahhh, you have to come to his lecture to get that one!).  Looking forward to future seminars with Dr. Mike!

Next everyone got moving to ZUMBA with the one and only Penni Niles.  It was so good having her back and our guests certainly had a great time moving, grooving and feeling!  Penni is beautiful inside and out - she has given so much of herself to SFL not only at our retreats but at our fundraisers too.  Thank you Penni!!  If you are in the area look her up at one of her classes, she also teaches yoga!  Connect with her on FB- Penni Niles.

Now it was time to settle in a bit, onto yoga with the young yet very wise Laura Binder.  Laura knows how to get every level feeling like they are seasoned yogis!  Not only do our guest experience healing through bodywork but her gentle guidance also taps into their emotional and spiritual side.  She is getting married in a few weeks (on Halloween!) and made time for us-she is the best!  Thank you Laura - you can find her on FB as well, Laura Binder.

Finally - LUNCH! Bonding and more sharing, absolutely wonderful!  Right after lunch we did Art Therapy lead by an amazing survivor, Donna Charielle.  We meet Donna many years ago, she gives back so much of her talent and time to many cancer organizations and we are so blessed to have her! Donna’s background as a CSW was cornerstone to our mask making class.  The masks designed where both beautiful and meaningful.  We had a few “ah hah” moments when Donna walked us though discovering what our designs may mean at a deeper level for us - good stuff!  Donna also gave Jacqui and I the BEST GIFT EVER-- the masks she made (see photo!) us had true meaning....the heart on the cheek - represents all the things we do with pure love, the ribbons on the other side - represents all the people we have helped, the jester eye paint - represents the humor that Jac and I do all things with!  LOVE IT! Thank you Donna!

Now it was time to get everyone up and moving with our exercise class!  Oh how we love to work together (heehee) doing what we love to do!!  We hope that everyone realized how simple it is to do some intentional movement using the exercise bands!  Stay committed and you WILL see results!  Better yet come to one of our classes!  Room for everyone! Look us up at for all class locations and times.

After getting everyone up and moving, time to settle down with some reiki and sound healing.  I honestly cannot even describe the energy in the room, powerful to say the least.  Close to 20 practitioners came to volunteer their time and offer healing in the form of reiki - AMAZING!  We are also so grateful to Rosemary Maginniss ( for organizing such an incredible group and Donna Nesteruk for the beautiful sound healing provided!  Our guests always come out of this part of our retreat looking extremely relaxed and renewed.  Thank you all for coming to take part, we are so very grateful!

We couldn’t believe it, but dinner time was here-great food and great connections being made.  

After eating, Dr. Siobhan Hanlon (contact her at, was up:) Dr. Siobhan is a Naturopathic Doctor, what is that you ask? A licensed naturopathic physician (ND) attends a four-year, graduate-level naturopathic medical school and is educated in all of the same basic sciences as an MD, but also studies holistic and nontoxic approaches to therapy with a strong emphasis on disease prevention and optimizing wellness. In addition to a standard medical curriculum, the naturopathic physician also studies clinical nutrition, homeopathic medicine, botanical medicine, psychology, and counseling. A naturopathic physician takes rigorous professional board exams so that he or she may be licensed by a state or jurisdiction as a primary care general practice physician, unfortunately NY does not recognize ND’s as licensed doctors, hopefully in the near future they will.  Her presentation paralleled Dr. Mikes so it was a great reinforcement to all that was learned earlier.  The best part is that she PREFERS Q & A vs. straight lecturing and our guests certainly picked her bright brain!  It was a great way to complete the night and we are so blessed to have Dr. Siobhan as an active integral part of SFL!  Thank you Dr. Siobhan!!

After a good night’s rest, Jacqui met the group for breakfast and a nature walk.  Sounds very zen, but ended up being a 3 mile trek through hilly terrain!  These gals were troopers to say the least!  
We truly hope that everyone learned at least one new thing during the weekend, it is our mission to open eyes, hearts and minds so we may empower, strengthen and inspire you on your journey....after all that is what you do for us! 

Many blessings xoxoxo
Deb & Jac

From Jacqui...
I need to share this story and I hope I can give it the justice it deserves. One of the new survivors that attended the last retreat joined my class tonight, and after class she told me that during the retreat she experienced something that she had never felt before. She went on to say that at the Reiki session she was quite calm and in a state, when the practitioners hands were close to her head and shoulders she was not aware but as soon as the hands were held by her hips she felt an enormous flow of heat. This woman has ovarian cancer which the Reiki practitioner did not know but focused her hands and healing there. She went on to say that she told her husband about this sense of calm she experienced since that day. She slept better for the next few nights.
She explained that she is ‘in a holding’ pattern with her disease – the doctors tell her she has to wait and see, and that is both frustrating and discouraging. She said they bring you to the end of the cliff and you can either jump or fly ----- the session of Reiki gave her the wings to fly. She has been given a sense of peace and is so grateful for the gift from our Reiki practitioner.
I had chills, I hope that you get a sense of what she shared with me. If she does write this – I will share her own story…but until then – thank you Rosemary Maginniss and all the beautiful Reiki and Sound Healing practitioners.
God Bless YOU!