In our story this month we bring you an interview with a strong and optimistic woman, Jennifer Dossett. ElliptiGO is thrilled to be a small part of her fight against rare cancer and happy to create a little joy in her workouts.
“Imagine not being able to sit for more than 5 minutes because the pain is so bad, Imagine not being able to drive in a car without excruciating pain. Imagine being diagnosed with a rare form of cancer when you are a healthy young woman. Well, that is what Jennifer woke up to on December 12, 2019, while being treated for a misdiagnosis of hemorrhoids.”
Jennifer’s GoFundMe page is direct and sobering. There’s no better way to address stage 4 squamous cell carcinoma of the rectum with metastasis to the liver. After more than a year of dealing with this painful disease and 4 rounds of chemotherapy, you might expect that Jennifer would be overwhelmed, exhausted and frightened.
Instead, she carries on with optimism, buoyed by her family, her support network and the benefits she gets from riding her red ElliptiGO 8C! Read on below to get to know Jennifer and to find out how she has incorporated ElliptiGO in her fight against this rare cancer.
….I was born in Dallas, TX and raised in the area my whole life. Always active, a tomboy until around 12, outdoorsy, climbing trees, riding bikes and playing sports starting in 7th grade. Drawn to Basketball I played to my freshman year in college where I walked on and was redshirted onto the team the first day.
Once in college, I learned about nutrition, eating healthy, going to the gym, and have since always been conscious of the food I put in my body. I put myself through college bartending and stayed in the Service Industry after graduating with a Bachelors in Business and Marketing. Retiring from the industry at 40, I moved to Florida where I bought a small townhouse a mile from the beach.
In Florida, I opened up a CPR & First Aid training company called Space Coast Heart Savers. As the company was growing I joined Big Brothers Big Sisters for a second little sister (I had a little sister for 7 yrs in Dallas right after college) Brianna.
During our time with BBBS, Bri and I became spokespeople for them, speaking at events and helping with promotional videos. I also started mentoring several girls in child services who lived in group homes and foster care.
After 5 years of mentoring, I decided to focus on my business and Brianna after she was diagnosed with Autism in 2015. At that point, I became very interested in how to help Bri and created a Social Skills Group called T.A.G. (Teen Autism Group) in our area with several other diagnosed youth.
Mike and I moved to Tampa in 2017 to open up my 3rd office. Brianna will be joining us next semester to live with us and go to a local college that offers her more options than she has in her area.
Before the ElliptiGO bike, when it was clear a regular bike would not work out, what was available to you to provide a means of exercise and stress outlet? Did you settle for any other simple physical activity?
Before the prognosis, Mike and I would bike almost every day with our dog. We had a 22 Mile ride on the causeway that included a steep bridge between Tampa and Clearwater. Once I started having issues, I couldn’t go on any more bike rides. Sadly, I stopped working out.
At the time, I thought I only had hemorrhoids… Sure, there are other methods to work out but after all of these years I don’t like being in a gym and I missed the companionship of our outdoor family rides… I started to become very depressed.
When first learning of ElliptiGO bikes, did you expect it to be an option for you? Did it seem it would work as a way of simply getting outdoors?
I had seen an ElliptiGO about 2.5 months earlier on a previous causeway ride. Inside a gym, Ellipticals are the only type of cardio machines I have ever liked, so it looked perfect for me to try to find an ElliptiGO. After a lot of online research, I knew it was exactly what I needed to get exercise. Honestly, it was too expensive for our situation so I looked for used ones on Craigslist. Once finding one, the gentleman donated his ElliptiGO 8C to me when finding out why I was shopping for one.
Did you think it would be too difficult or challenging given the circumstances to ride it?
When Mike and I met up with the owner of the 8C to try it out, I found it was easy to use. The gentleman was so nice, explaining he originally purchased it to rehab his knee, hurt from a biking injury. As a former athlete, the ElliptiGO was easy to pick up on how to work. Now his ElliptiGO allows me to go on our family rides again!
I did find it heavy due to it being obviously bigger and I knocked my shin twice before I picked it up – now I’m riding it like a pro!
Even if you’re not able to use the ElliptiGO quite as much as you would like right now, can you describe what you like about it the most?
I LOVE that I get a core workout as well as an entire leg workout rather than only certain areas!
Do you feel that the ElliptiGO has given you an opportunity to feel stronger during this health challenge?
The ElliptiGO has allowed me to feel empowered and work out again… Harder than a traditional bike, I can’t go as far and long yet, but look forward to the summer and trying the long ride along the water again.
Have you made any modifications of sorts in order to ride it?
….We added a bell to warn people I am behind them, water bottle holders, lights, phone holders, and occasionally our little dog bear rides with me on the ElliptiGO.
Once you have fought through this battle and recovered, do you have any goals or aspirations related to your ElliptiGO?
I have every intention to pay forward the man’s contribution to me, and will find another individual that is in need like I was and gift it to them… Then I will upgrade to an 11R so I can really keep up with the family on our rides!!
What would you tell someone in a similar situation to yours?
Don’t let the “C” word bring you down… Although it is a scary word to you and your family, there are so many success stories out there to draw from to keep a positive outlook. Every medical professional I have seen (A lot, after 8 years of teaching CPR), says the same thing…..
Keeping a positive mental attitude is 75 percent of the battle. Exercise, keeping up with vitamins and supplements while following doctors’ orders is the rest. Take care of yourself and NEVER give up on your life….it is a blessing.
ElliptiGO enjoyed chatting with Jennifer and we will be cheering from the sidelines as she continues to ride and work her way back to full health. To read more, visit her webpage at: https://www.gofundme.com/f/join-team-jennifer-to-knock-out-a-rare-cancer
Contributed by Elinor Yee – A rider considering herself lucky for each day on her ElliptiGO, drawing inspiration from fellow riders conquering obstacles big & small. Want to inspire Elinor? Contact ElliptiGO at [email protected] with nominations for Rider of the Month, or share your own story. It may just be the next feature!