Dear Mom, This One Is For You

“One of the reasons why I love Zumba so much is because of the love you feel from the community. Not prejudiced or contingent love… just real love.

I’d like to tell you a story about how Zumba has changed my life.

Back in 2011, a very special lady introduced me to Zumba classes. She would walk to class at the YMCA with her Seeing Eye dog. You see, this woman was visually impaired. When I saw her taking classes, I saw that all you have to do is feel the music. I saw that all the diverse women in the class had one thing in common: joy. After my first class, I was hooked and kept going with this special lady, named Denise.

Despite any of the darts that life would throw at her, Denise kept pushing through with a smile. In 2013, she was diagnosed with Stage One Ovarian Cancer. Yet, she always believed that one should dance through the storms of life, and she kept doing so until her body could no longer handle it.

Denise inspired me with her attitude every single day and she encouraged me to become a licensed Zumba Instructor myself. Denise was my mother.

On Father’s Day of this year, my mother lost her battle with ovarian cancer. It’s so recent and difficult to process. But then I remember how supportive my mom was and how she would like me to handle this storm. My best memories with my mom are of dancing with her, and I’ll always continue to do so in her honor.

September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month and I encourage everyone in the Zumba community to wear teal and dance in honor of my mom and all others who are fighting this disease.

Zumba classes have been so therapeutic to me throughout my loss and I want to thank everybody for the pure love they have shown me.”

– Isabelle Rios, licensed Zumba® Instructor; will always dance in the rain in honor of her beloved mother, Denise

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