At first glance, zumba is like any other dance-fitness program. But for instructors like Ingrid Valencia, it’s not just a fun-to-do cardio workout—it’s a community that became a touchstone of natural healing for her breast cancer diagnoses and recovery. Here is her inspiring story.

ingrid (1)In December 2014, Ingrid was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma, a common type of breast cancer that develops in the milk ducts. To prevent the cancer from spreading to the surrounding breast tissue, Ingrid underwent a bilateral mastectomy with reconstructive surgery.

This episode forced Ingrid to suspend her beloved job as zumba instructor in several gyms around her community. But despite being unable to lead classes, it was the Zumba community that helped Ingrid through the most difficult days of her life.

“The support from my students was inspiration to comeback stronger and happier than ever,” she recalls.

Today, she keeps teaching Zumba and is developing workshops and retreats to raise awareness for the fight against breast cancer and to remind women the importance of cultivating self-care.

Ingrid is starting her own program of “Simple Souls Steps” to inspire women to explore their talents to put it to the service of the world. She also serves as a CHN Support Volunteer, connecting with other women fighting cancer.

ingrid (2)“I feel a strong calling to talk about my life’s story to inspire others to take responsibility for their own health and wellbeing. We all know already the benefits of working out but very few really do something about it.  I love dancing and zumba has given me the channel to spread the word about the importance of self care which includes healthy entertainment,” says the dance instructor who was matched with a CHN Support Volunteer during her treatment. “Zumba is not only a great workout but also gives us a space for fun and recreation.   I’m passionate about making people happy and making them feel good about themselves. I want to create a community of empowered women who take care of themselves by being healthy and happy.”

Zumba for Hope Sep 16 Flyer- SpanishWEB

On Saturday, September 16, Ingrid will lead Zumba For Hope at the Hola Doctor offices ( 353 Central Avenue, Jersey City). The free event is the first-ever collaboration between Hola Doctor and Cancer Hope Network – and runs from 10.30 am-12.30 pm. Reserve your place HERE.

“I received so much help during my treatment that I wanted to give back some way, and I found this organization to be very helpful and easy to join to accomplish my desire of helping others .”