Breast cancer survivor has sights on fitness

By Nicky Zimmermann, WELLAWARE Fitness Instructor

In September 2011, Heather Parnell started her new career at the Harris Breast Center at Boone Hospital Center. Six weeks later, she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Heather Parnell

Heather Parnell

Heather confessed it was “like a sign from above” that she got a job at a mammography center. In September 2012, her radiation treatments for breast cancer ended and she set her goals to get healthier and lose weight.

Since last November, she has taken two consecutive sessions of Zumba Gold. After the challenge of the group classes, Heather completes three workouts per week at WELLAWARE.

Heather likes the atmosphere of WELLAWARE because it has a wide variety of people and doesn’t feel like you are on display. She feels comfortable that you can “do your thing and leave.”

She has a personal goal of 3,000 steps on the NuStep and recently discovered the Tectrix bike. She feels the workout is more challenging on the upright bike than on the recumbent. She is working on her endurance on the elliptical and treadmill.

Heather is originally from Macon, Mo., and earned her Associates Degree in Business Administration from Moberly Area Community College. Twenty years ago, she moved to Columbia to live with her sister and a friend. Heather met her husband through her roommate and this year they will celebrate their 17th anniversary. They have a nine-year-old daughter and twelve-year-old son.

She enjoys any activity that her kids are doing especially basketball or throwing around a football. She likes to read anything from romance to suspense on her Nook.

Heather is cheery and affable when she enters and exits WELLAWARE. Is it the endorphins or just Heather? From my observations, it is both. At your next mammogram, she is the friendly person who would greet you at the registration desk.

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