Jaheim, Atlantic Records and Radio One sponsored an ‘Appreciation Day’ makeover for a woman by the name of Tonya Kelley this past weekend.
Kelly, an Ohio resident, received a grand prize which included two airline tickets to Atlanta, 2 nights at the W Hotel Buckhead, spa package, personal driver, hair appointment with celebrity stylist Derek J and a $10,000 shopping spree joined by celebrity image consultant Kris Cole.
But wait… Tonya wasn’t just the winner of a contest. As a wife, mother of 3, grandmother of 1, and a thyroid cancer survivor, she has a testimony that touched everyone involved in her “Appreciation Day.’
Read Kelley’s thoughtful letter of appreciation below…
I’ve been on my health journey since 2009. I was weighing 235lbs at the end of 2010 and I felt I needed to get healthy due to my family members (including my father) passing away in the past years from major health issues. I even experienced my own health issues.
I became more aware in learning preventative ways to stay healthy. I started out doing weight watchers and tried many cardio classes these past two and a half years, all the while I had a secret passion. I wanted to be a bodybuilder. Being a bodybuilder is somewhat taboo so I was scared to share with family and friends afraid of what they might say, so I continued secretly attend local bodybuilding shows such as the Arnold each year it came to town.
As my weight continued to fluctuate my hair stop growing. I’ve always rocked a short hair cut, but me cutting my hair very low was a big transition for me. Each year I gained the willpower to cut my hair down lower and lower until finally last year, when I turned 42, I started rocking a bald hairstyle and it felt great.
I started working out 4 days a week with a personal trainer and let me tell you it I didn’t think I was going to make it! I made up my motto for this journey I was embarking on “OWN your OWN JOURNEY” this motto is for anyone going through anything to make a better life you have to find the strength to write your own journey.
I trained vigorously for 5 1/2 months and my personal trainer created a weekly meal and training regimen. In May I was weighing 168lbs in a size 10/12 the day I finally competed, I was 145lbs wearing a size 6!
Throughout my journey I felt a need to share my story. My father and all his brothers passed away one by one, all before the age of 65. The last one, Uncle Norm passed away 2weeks ago from diabetes. That kept me motivated to continue to eat healthy and train in order for me to stay alive and healthy for me and my family.
When I stepped on that stage Oct 12th, I felt a since of accomplishment but also wanted to show everyone that no matter what illness or issues come your way, if you own your own journey you can make your own path.
I shared by testimony in Jaheim’s Appreciation contest. God is good because as I started to lose weight, I never thought about I would need a new wardrobe. Omg when I received the called from 106.3 radio in Columbus,Oh that I had won and was so overwhelmed that God had answered my prayer because I needed clothes. Due to my weight loss, all my clothes were to big.
I was awarded a makeover, meet and greet and concert to see Jaheim along with the best ever a shopping spree. Representing Atlantic records as the winner of the contest was such a blessing due to all the ups and downs I have endured and I was finally able to share my story this weekend. I wanted people to know my story is similar to the average person, we all go through issues but if I could motivate or support one person, then I’m giving back.
I want to share and let people know that no matter what happens in your life YOU OWN YOUR JOURNEY and never let illness pain or suffering seek refuge in your body. Release a new life and understanding that you are a strong woman and strong women only get stronger when they realize their inner peace and lease on life.
Everyone needs to find what makes them happy no matter if it’s a “dream,” even if you are going through an illness heart or pain, find support in knowing that you have the will to be the Best and find your best. I did and I’m the healthiest I’ve been in over 5 years.
Everyday I continue to own my journey and encourage others to live life to the fullest. My last thoughts cancer survivors always seem to have that stigmata of being down and out and people feel that it’s a death sentence when they’re diagnosed and going through the process. I always said being a Cancer Survivor is not a curse but a new lease on health, personal joy and Life and when you continue to believe that your life will be a testimony then everything dark and gray will always find joy at the end of the day.
I thank you for allowing me to share my personal story with your readers.
Shout out to Cannon Kent (Atlantic) and Derek J for getting me involved in this heartwarming story and blessings to Tonya Kelly.