“I am 85% deaf in both of my ears. I was born that way. As you can imagine, my childhood was a difficult time for me, whilst living with being deaf and being sent to a special needs school (unnecessarily I might add!). I had no speech therapy, didn’t get taught to sign or read, and left school with very little qualifications. My home life was far from happy as my father physically and mentally abused me, leaving me black and blue with bruises. Needless to say, my confidence as a child dropped to the floor and stayed there for years.
Things changed when I was 19 years old and met my partner. I decided to start a new life and move away from my hometown to be with him. We never looked back. He’s been my rock, my best friend, and now my husband.
I’ve faced many health challenges, including being diagnosed with “ankylosis spondylitis” which affects and can limit the movement in my back. Being so young and not well, I wanted to join a gym and get fit, but was turned away time and time again because of my back problems.
But two years ago, I discovered Zumba classes, specifically Zumba Gold classes as they are low impact and best for my back. After 6 months of being hooked on my classes, my instructor encouraged me to become an instructor myself. Why not? I decided to give it a try! Well, it has literally changed my life.
It’s taken the majority of my life to find what truly makes me happy. Now, I eat, sleep, and breathe Zumba! My only regret is not discovering it 10 years earlier. I am thankful for all the support I’ve received and I feel so lucky to have found a family to call my own. It’s challenging for me to teach, as I can only hear the bass on music tracks, but this is all I need to feel the beat. It doesn’t take much to understand the language of dance, and I can’t live without it.
Life has been a tough ride, but everything looks so much brighter these days!”
– Russ Welch, licensed Zumba® Instructor, 35 years young and feeling the music in his heart every single day
If you have a story to tell and would like to be featured, please share it on social using #ZumbaStory.