In honour of International Women’s Day, we’re highlighting our incredible female instructors and managers who inspire us in and outside of the spin room.
Today, we have an extra special feature from the wonderfully inspiring, Sarah Simpson. Read on to discover why she is so much more than an Athlete instructor & Global Events Manager at Herschel.
Try saying Pseudomyxoma peritonei 10 times…..ha, it’s a mouthful. It’s also a lot to wrap your head around when you are told, after waking up from a routine procedure that you have a rare mucinous tumour originating in the appendix. The APPENDIX?? Seriously universe!?? An organ that I don’t even need somehow sprouted cancer?
And so began my journey with PMP. Basically, if left untreated, the mucous produced from the tumour could lead to ‘jelly belly’ [not to be confused with those delightful miniature jelly beans] which could lead to organ failure. So naturally, after receiving the diagnosis we started researching the heck out of PMP, how and where to treat the damn thing.
Photos by Sean Perkins
It lead us to my superhero, Dr. Temple, based in Calgary. This gem of a doc had been working with PMP patients from across the country and he agreed to take my case. I think if I had known what was in store, I’m not sure I would have jumped on the “let’s do this” train, quite as quickly. Treatment for me, included a 12-hour tumour debulking surgery, followed by “HIPEC,” a heated chemotherapy wash applied directly after surgery. In post-op ICU, complete with 16 tubes, I remember feeling like some sort of character from Alien mixed with the State Puff Marshmallow man. However, I got through it. The Simpsons got through it, and after 3 months I was back at work and back to life 🙂
As much as I would love to stay I skipped off into the cancer-free sunset after that, the disease unfortunately resurfaced an additional four times over the next 14 years. Each recurrence meant more surgery, more chemo and more daytime TV…shout out to ELLEN! Oddly enough, through it all though, I always had this underlying sense of “you got this” which stemmed from my trust in Dr. T. With each encounter, he magically seemed to put our minds and our hearts at ease and I will forever be thankful that we found him.
Photos by Sean Perkins
So sad sob story aside, this random ride with appendix cancer has pushed me out of numerous comfort zones. The phrase “Sarah, you’ve been through much worse” almost serves as my magic bullet for overcoming fear and tackling big goals. From a breathless ascent up Mt. Kilimanjaro, to a Vancouver-soaked triathlon to inspiring athletes every week teaching Spin at Eastwood! …it’s been an incredible ride. One I am excited to keep tackling, with or without PMP.
Just keep swimming, am I right?
What do you love most about yourself
My curiosity. New recipe? New band? Acro yoga?…I’ll try it all.
What do you love most about your body
Legs! Sometimes pants shopping is tough, but meh.
Tell us something about yourself we wouldn’t know
I sometimes sing the anthem at Canucks and Seahawks games.
What do you love most about this city
Water, water water. I have been a water baby since childhood.
What’s your favourite place in the city
Any north shore trail
What charity/cause are you passionate about
Ronald McDonald House: giving families and sick kids a comfortable, beautiful space to relax during the toughest time of their lives.
If you were a cocktail what would you be and why
A Manhattan…strong with a dash of sweet
What’s your ultimate female empowerment song
This is Me – from the Greatest Showman soundtrack. So I have given away my nerdy love of musicals, but this song is a incredibly empowering and I highly recommend belting it out in your car. – “I’m not scared to be seen, I make no apologies, this is me”
If you opened your Spotify, what song would be playing
Oh man, 80s? 90s? EDM? You just never know.
What’s the best song of all time
Good Mother, by Jann Arden. Reminding me of my powerhouse of a mom.
What are your guilty pleasures
Well, you already know..musical theatre + solo living room dancing and 80ssssss….
What’s your favourite hobby
Face masking….is that a hobby?
Who was your biggest inspiration growing up
What words do you live by
What’s one thing you’ve always wanted to learn
Guitar! My solo singer songwriter career is just around the corner 😉
What was a big moment for you in your career
Recreating a hyperloop in Dubai. Random, but rad.