2017 Carmen Holder
Zumba® Fitness Instructor Carmen survived her own suicide attempt and now, through her ‘Dare to Live’ initiative, offers her story to inspire others who have lost their fire for life.
In 2014, Carmen experienced a deep depression, which resulted in a suicide attempt involving a stab wound to her heart. Two heart surgeries later, she’s the only person in the world who has survived an incident like this to live without an artificial heart and still participate in physical activity. Carmen recalls giving herself two options: continue being her own worst enemy, or make peace with herself and be her own best friend.
Today, Carmen works as a photographer, Reiki healer, and masseur, and is back teaching Zumba® Fitness and enjoying every minute.
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2016 ELENI PSILLAKIS
With over 27 years’ experience in the fitness and education industries, Eleni has overcome mental health and self-worth issues to dedicate her life to raising awareness of eating disorders.
Thirty years after failing to receive proper psychological help as a teenager, when physically recovering from an eating disorder, Eleni was diagnosed with severe clinical depression stemming from the same unresolved issues that caused the earlier eating disorder behaviours.
Eventually beating the depression, after her recovery, Eleni wrote the CEC-approved program ‘An Insight to Anorexia Nervosa for Fitness Professionals’. Heading up a steering committee for managing and identifying eating disorders in the fitness industry, Eleni firmly believes that fitness professionals can be part of the solution for people with mental health challenges.
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2015 YMCA AUSTRALIA
The YMCA inspires, influences and helps thousands, if not millions of Australians to enjoy healthier lifestyles – many of whom may not have been able to do so on their own. Over the last four years, for example, the YMCA has raised more than $800,000 from the annual Swimathon, with all funds used to help people with disabilities enjoy access to the water.
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2015 YMCA AUSTRALIA
After pursuing an early passion for playing squash, by the late-1980s Mark Rimell’s attention turned to other athletic endeavours, including the teaching of ‘aerobics’, which would prove to be a lifelong passion. Teaching, in turn, led to his foray into competitive aerobics, which, at his peak, saw him performing 10 one arm pushups with 30kg on his back. This hard work paid off when Mark won the 1994 State Aerobic Championships.
His life in fitness went on to encompass personal training, natural bodybuilding, remedial massage, adventure racing, and triathlons including the Busselton Half Ironman. Triathlons sparked a love for cycling which led to what Mark claimed was the hardest thing he ever tried – learning to ride a unicycle – a feat he accomplished after eight months of painful practice!
It was with this same determination that he met a new challenge – cancer – head on. Sadly, it was a challenge which took his life in 2013, but not before he and his wife had founded the Albany Chemo Club, which provides specialised exercise sessions for cancer patients.
Network was proud to present the Inspiration Award to Mark’s wife, Mary.
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