By Jacqueline Valdez

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I am 41 years old and residing in Gainesville Florida. I am a professional model, dancer and own an all women’s’ fitness studio “Elegant Body Pilates”. Being a survivor I takes to heart each client I work with. I am a very compassionate human being as I give generously to the community and the owner of many rescue animals. I have lost my mother to Scleroderma and Sjogren’s and my father to Kidney failure, been divorced and in multiple car accidents that stopped an earlier dance career.

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But, through it all I am a fighter.  I made a strong come back through Yoga, Pilates and Dance. I rehabilitated myself and even was able to add pole fitness into my life. Pole fitness changed my life forever. I gained strength and flexibility I thought I would never get back again. In 2012 after 6 months of being mostly self-taught I professionally competed in pole as one of the top 10 professional pole athletes of Florida in the Florida Pole Fitness Championship. Pole fitness has given me an outlet to explore dancing and performing again. I even created the unique collaboration “Infusion Remax”. “Infusion Remax “consists of myself, a ballet lyrical pole dancer and my best friend and co-collaborator Jason Rex, who is a live opera singer. We want to change the stigma to pole dance and bring an appreciation for opera to the younger generation. We want to create work that is art. At my studio in fall of 2012 we made our first public performance in my mother’s memory raising money for the “Scleroderma Foundation”. At this event we made world ballet news and history in the pole industry.  Shortly after, we performed at The Plaza Live Stage with Allison Sipes’ event “The Florida Pole and Aerial Art Showcase”. Through this performance we were given the opportunity to inspire many more. So many people have reached out to me, shared their stories and are thankful I have shared my struggles so publicly. I am so grateful to be dancing once again and sharing my talents with others. I would love to see “Infusion Remax” get opportunities to perform all over the world.

 

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Another obstacle has come up in my life making things even more difficult. In 2013 I was diagnosed with Sjogren’s. According to Wikipedia “ Sjögren syndrome (pronounced pron.: /ˈʃɡrɨnz/ SHOH-grinz in English), similar to “Sicca syndrome“,[1] is a systemic autoimmune disease in which immune cells attack and destroy the exocrine glands[2] that produce tears and saliva. It affects the joints, muscles and tear glandes.  As of now my symptoms are dry eyes, dry mouth, I get sick easily and my body hurts at times.

 

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Sadly not many are aware of what this disease entails. Due to this fact I have decided that I want to speak out to the public to let others know more about the disease. I want to let others know you do not have to be labeled by your disease or your handicap. Sjogren’s has affected my way of training and some days are better than others for me. Since my discovery of Sjogren’s in early 2013 I made the decision to not professionally compete. I cannot keep up with the other competitors as my body gets fatigued sooner, my joints stiff at times, I gets easily bruised and the recovery time is much longer than most dancers and athletes would normally experience.

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I have decided to not get on medication at this time and I am approaching the disease in a holistic manner for now. I am taking supplements, made changes in my diet, exercise daily, attending physical therapy, massage, chiropractor and acupuncture treatments.

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I am more determined than ever to continue my passion for dance and helping others. Car accidents did not stop me nor will Sjogren’s. I hope to inspire others to keep moving and to follow their dreams at all costs. My mother stayed kind, positive and hopeful till the end. I hope to follow in her footsteps and would give all 3 words, words of advice to those that ask what keeps me strong.  I hope to make an imprint on others and am excited for my journey ahead.  I know my parents are watching above and are my inspiration to continue on fighting. At this pace the world will have to keep their eyes open for me! I would love to see my studio succeed and grow.

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.”

~ George Carlin

You can find more on me at the following website below!

http://elegantjacqueline.wix.com/JacquelineValdez.

Please like my page to follow me!

Elegant Body Pilates w/ Jacqueline Valdez

 

The performance that made the big stage with Allison Sipes event with The Florida Pole and Aerial Art Showcase….. 2013
http://youtu.be/If9c5GlV8fE

The performance that made the big stage with Allison Sipes event with The Florida Pole and Aerial Art Showcase…..2012
http://youtu.be/PGC8Av6gJ8w

Performance that started it all- Making history in the pole industry and world ballet news at Jacqueline Valdez studio in Gainesville, Florida “Elegant Body Pilates”
http://youtu.be/uPCPw-z1jOQ

Subscribe to my You Tube page at the link below ; )

www.youtube.com/channel/UC4K3t1hka0B8_Pc4I7mg1UA