Published November 11, 2015

Inspirational FHIXers: Meet Rebecca + Kevin


FHITspirational FHIXer: Rebecca Alexander
For those of you who have not met Rebecca, she is a true FHITspiration.  She is one of our most loyal FHIXers - she consistently leads in athleticism, strength, endurance and most of all, positive energy.  Most of you probably don’t know Rebecca was born with Usher Syndrome Type III.  It is a rare form of a genetic disorder, which causes progressive hearing and vision loss and ultimately leads to profound deafness and blindness. For many, the diagnosis alone would significantly derail one’s life aspirations and trajectory. For Rebecca, the diagnosis has not only reinforced her determination to achieve her goals, it has provided her with an additional platform to motivate others and spread her contagious positivity. In addition to being an accomplished athlete, a psychotherapist with two master’s degrees from Columbia University, a spin instructor and a loyal dog owner, Rebecca’s first book Not Fade Away was just released on September 11th!  She will also have a book signing at Barnes & Noble on 86th Street on Friday, September 19th at 7pm- all FHIXers welcome!  Check out Rebecca’s website here to learn more about Usher Syndrome, her book and some of her amazing feats.

On Monday, Rebecca will be featured on the Today Show, and on Tuesday, the 16th, she will discuss her book and help educate others about Usher Syndrome on the Meredith Viera show.  Everyone who knows Rebecca knows how much she loves to get her FHIX, so you can expect to see her, our FHITness pros and other FHIXers sweating it out on screen!

We recently caught up with Rebecca to gain some insight on how she finds time, energy and motivation to overcome adversity and continue to HIT it hard on a daily basis.

What role does fitness play in your life today?
Fitness is the key to my sanity. It is the most crucial way for me to manage stress, keep my spirits high and challenge myself to strengthen my mind and body.

What are a few of your proudest fitness accomplishments to date?
I swam the length of Bass Lake (5 miles) in Yosemite, CA. We had to start swimming at 3:30am to make it across before all of the boats started roaring around. I couldn't see a thing for the first few hours of the swim because it was so dark out. I finished dead last because I swam myself in circles before I realized I wasn't swimming in the right direction!

I biked 600 miles for the AIDS Lifecycle Ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles. It took a week and we camped out every night but the view along the way was breathtaking.

Most recently, I've completed 5 Civilian Military Combine races over the past 2 years. Your very own Julia Avery was my kick-ass racing partner for the last CMC race in the Poconos, and we had a blast.

How do you balance a busy work schedule, publishing your first book, being a loving dog owner and staying FHIT?
It's a real juggling act but getting my FHIX for the day is a MUST. Everyone at TFR has such incredible energy -- it's the best way to start my day.

FHITspirational FHIXer: Kevin Subramany
On September 27th, our FHIXer turned Client Relationship Manager and FHIXtremer, Kevin, is participating in the Brooklyn Civilian Military Combine race; when we learned of the motivation and cause behind Kevin’s involvement, we wanted to share his story with our FHIT community.

In January of 2014, Kevin’s mother Shakeela, or Shak, lost a five-year battle with progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), a rare atypical form of Parkinson’s disease, which affects the nerve cells that control walking, balance, mobility, vision, speech and swallowing.  Today, Kevin and his family are showing incredible resilience, strength and compassion by making it their mission to raise awareness and funding for research to help cure PSP. You can learn more about PSP, Shak and Kevin’s family as well as make a donation to PSP research here.

Kevin, who is now a loyal FHIXtremer, decided to combine his love of fitness with his desire to bene12:56 PMFHIT PSP research. Team Shak will be competing in the Civilian Military Combine on Saturday, September 27th in Brooklyn. We asked Kevin to share his family’s story and decision to live FHIT.

What role has fitness played in your life since you lost your mother to PSP?
My mother passed away on January 5th, 2014, two days before my 29th birthday. I barely ate, did not sleep and avoided all forms of human contact for a week. Then I saw an email from Kari asking if I would participate in a Fox5 news segment at TFR. I knew that I had to be there because the only thing that gave me the strength to care for mom over the past year was training at TFR. Since my mom has passed, working out continues to be my release, therapy and sanctuary while giving me a sense of normalcy.

What about the TFR community has allowed you to feel comfortable opening up about this/reaching out for donations?
Since I work out at the same time almost every week at TFR, I have gotten the chance to train and interact with a consistent group of fellow FHIXers. Now that I work at TFR, I get the chance to interact with the same FHIXers on a more personal level.

Why the CMC?
I completed the Spartan Sprint obstacle race in upstate NY in June on behalf of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society with my friend Jeff who battled and triumphed over acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). It was the hardest athletic event I have ever participated in, and there were a few times I wanted to quit. After seeing Jeff tackle obstacle after obstacle with the same courage he showed while battling ALL, he gave me the strength to push through all the pain and exhaustion. He inadvertently put this idea in my head because I was looking for a way to fundraise for the Cure PSP Foundation while staying true to my love of fitness; racing in the CMC with Team Shak accomplishes both goals.

What will come after the CMC?
Randy and I hope to have future Team Shak events throughout the year with the CMC being the annual event that brings everyone together. Our ultimate goal would be to hopefully start the "Shakeela Subramany Foundation" which would focus on research for terminal neuro-degenerative brain diseases and a consulting service for families and caregivers.

What are your goals for this race?
My goal for the CMC is to start together as Team Shak and finish together as Team Shak, however long that takes. The ultimate goal in competing in the CMC is to raise not only awareness about PSP but to raise much needed funds and support for caregivers.