Karen’s Story: How Curves has helped an Aussie CEO through her toughest challenge yet.

“I found solace, friendship and strength in my visits to Curves.”

An Aussie CEO, mother of two and wife – Karen appeared to have it all. But in April 2016, when her husband was hospitalised for depression, her life was thrown into disarray. “The emotional trauma brought to our family overnight was almost unbearable”, she said. “I had to carry the weight of the trauma on our two teenage children and keep our 25 year business afloat.”

It was at this point that Karen broke down herself. She was privately grieving her normality while being the rock for the family. “I didn’t want the public to know about our private lives. The facade was eating away at me. I felt like I was living a double life and it all came crashing down on me one night after a hospital visit and I couldn’t bear it.” Trying to regain her strength and sense of norm she reached out to her Curves Coach, Jess. Jess was understanding of Karen’s situation and encouraged her to keep coming to her sessions and keep a routine. “I found solace, friendship and strength in my visits to Curves. I had always loved coming but now I needed it more than ever. It offered a moment’s relief from the world that demanded so much of me beyond the doors of Curves.”

Unfortunately, in September 2016 Karen’s husband Ben experienced a relapse and was hospitalised for a second time. It was at this point that Karen realized how important her own physical and mental health were, for not only herself but for the stability of her family and business. “I learnt to identify the value of myself in this journey. What I now know is that putting yourself forward for ‘me’ time even if you are wrought with guilt, is worth it. I became a better version of me and my children, Ben and anyone who interacted with me benefited.”

By December 2016 Karen had set herself a new challenge, to run the New York marathon. She found a coach to train with and has already completed the Great Ocean Road half marathon in Melbourne. She now plans to run for the Feel the Magic Foundation, a non-profit organisation that provides support for children experiencing grief. “During the time I was concerned how much my children needed my support in trying to understand and live within our circumstances. It’s important that people find the right professional support when it is needed, so partnering with this charity felt right.”