On Sat., June 4, The 2nd Annual ‘Walk for Hope’ fundraiser for The Big Reach Center of Hope, located in Greenford, was held at the Boardman High School Sports Complex, to raise funds to continue to meet the growing demand for food and clothing to low income and underserved individuals in the surrounding communities. To help promote health and fitness, returning to the ‘Walk for Hope’ event again this year, was Danny Cahill, winner of NBC’s Biggest Loser Season 8; Second Chances, and welcoming for the first time, contestant Amanda Arlauskas from the Biggest Loser, Season 8.
Danny and Amanda shared the stories of their journey to becoming healthier and happier. Amanda finished in the top 3, on Season 8, losing a total of 87 pounds. She is now more confident than ever and living the best life she could have imagined for herself.
Danny lost 239 pounds over the course of seven months, holding the highest percentage of weight loss in the Biggest Loser history, 55.58%. He has inspired millions worldwide to begin not only their weight loss journey, but to achieve their dreams and goals, become better role models for their children, and become an inspiration to the ones around them.
Danny Cahill touched the inner core and planted a seed inside Rochelle ‘Shelly’ Palansky of Boardman, starting her on her own success story.
Shelly was always a heavy person, and thought that was just the way she was supposed to be. In 2006 Shelly lost her mother and husband of only two years, to cancer and was diagnosed with cancer for the second time. While suffering in a silent depression for almost three years, she continued to eat and gain more weight.
Shelly watched The Biggest Loser every season, with a desire to be on the show and be one of the contestants. In Season 8 she watched Danny Cahill continue to lose weight every week. “There was just something about him that really started to inspire me” said Shelly, “but I was still in this depression I could not seem to get out of.” Realizing that she was stuck in her own grief and sadness, and was becoming so unhealthy, reaching a weight of 326 lbs., she attended a grief recovery group and on Jan. 1, 2010 started her own weight loss journey.
Joining a local gym in February, and also desiring to learn the healthy way to eat, she joined Weight Watchers in April. She even won the biggest loser competition at her gym, as well as the ‘We Are Well’ award from her employer, for her success in bettering herself in 2010.
To keep herself motivated and to learn a work out routine, she started working with an awesome trainer named Adam Cappretta, and felt she was really on the right track. Shelly remarks, “I have worked hard and Adam has beat me up, but I have never once told him I cannot do something...I have fallen and struggled but still worked through it. I felt I was in my own Biggest Loser show. I give God all the glory for everything as without him none of this would have happened. He has always been there for me catching every tear and holding me close every step of my journey”.
“When Danny Cahill was coming to my church, Greenford Christian Church, for the Walk for Hope, I was thrilled. I finally was going to meet the person who planted that seed inside me, almost two years ago. As we talked this past weekend I know I found a new friend in him and his wonderful wife Darci, who lost 70 lbs while he was at the ranch losing his weight. The thing he told me that came from Jillian Michaels is ‘Feel the fear...do it anyway’. So many times I have felt that fear and it stopped me from trying....not any more. If I can do this anyone can do this. I am emotionally healthy and loving life again.”
“It has not been easy and it is still a struggle every day but meeting Danny, talking to him, seeing how he continues to inspire, it is my hope to inspire others around me to start their own journey. It is just one day at a time ...a moment at a time! Anyone can be the ‘biggest loser’, you just have to feel the fear and do it anyway!”
To date Shelly has lost 110 lbs. and continues to pursue her goal, to lose an additional 55 pounds.
For more information on The Big Reach Center of Hope, visit bigreachministries.org.