Gorilla Jack Clothing

Iron Will Award Candidate:

Ann Tkachyk

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Ann Tkachyk's Submission:

Please accept this email as my entry into the 2012 Gorilla Jack Iron Will Award:

My Journey started in 2003 when my father passed away, unfortunately on my 33rd birthday and for the next 5 years I watched as my mother's health deteriorated from what we know now today as preventable diseases. I watched my parents suffer from heart attacks, strokes and the long-term effects of Type 2 Diabetes, years of smoking and being overweight. I was the primary caregiver to my mother at the same time involved in a demanding career as a police officer and trying to raise my own two young daughters (now 12 and 7) I often found myself being taken away from my children, job and life tending to the needs of my mother. I cannot count how many times I ended up at my mother's bedside while she lay in a hospital bed suffering from her second, third or 4th heart attack, a major stoke where doctors said she probably would not survive and numerous infections and other medical complications. I put my mother first, many times before my own family or my own health. I sought out all kinds of specialists, therapists, and community resources in an attempt to provide her with the best quality of life but ultimately in October 2008 my mother passed away from kidney failure, a common effect of Type 2 diabetes, which she fought for years.

So, here I was 38 years old and way too young not to have parents. Way too young to lose my parents to diseases that are "PREVENTABLE". Diseases associated to smoking, being overweight and generally living an unhealthy lifestyle. Since their death I swore to myself that I would not leave my own beautiful children the way my parents left me. I want to be a role model for my children. I want them to see their mother as strong and healthy.

In February 2009 I registered for my first OPA Figures Show in Sault Ste. Marie Ontario. I weighed in at 167 lbs and 26 % body fat. I hired a personal trainer and in 4 months lost 30 lbs. I placed 3rd in Masters. My next challenge was competing in body building event at the 2011 World Police and Fire Games in New York City commemorating the 10th Anniversary of 911. I trained for 8 months bringing my weight down to 127 lbs. The night of weigh-in Hurricane Irene, which ironically is my mother's name, hit New York City and my event was cancelled. No words can describe how devastated I was not to compete after all that work. I continued to train for the upcoming 2012 MABBA show and I am excited to hit the stage.

Doing these shows helps keep me focused, not on trophies or the recognition that could come from winning but the true importance of personal health and fitness. Approaching my 42nd birthday on March 19th, 9 years after my father passed away, I can proudly say that I am a success story.

Before photos - February 2009 After photos - August 2011 - 5 days from World Police Fire Game.

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