By Katie Moosbrugger
If you’re looking for some inspiration, this month’s Moms on the Move feature will give you just that. Both of the local moms interviewed for today’s post are doing amazing things to help others, and each possessed an inner drive to do more and give back as a result of a life situation. I’m sure their stories will touch you in some way. Enjoy!
Do you know of a local mom who should be featured for an upcoming Mom on the Move feature? If so, please email me at Katie@TriadMomsOnMain.com.
It’s been almost four years since Dara heard the terrifying words, “You have breast cancer.” A wife to Jon, and a mother to Zoe (then age 14) and Avi (then age 11), her life was, understandably, turned upside down. “It was a game changer for me,” she said. “It caused me to look at my life, how I was spending my time, and the landscape of everything differently.” She quit her job as a financial advisor and started the blog Crazy Perfect Life one year after her diagnosis. “I wanted to find my voice and inspire other people who might be struggling with balancing the normal chaos of their lives. I wanted to help people find meaning each day of their lives and connect to the people they love.”
Her blog became a success, and just recently, Dara published the book Crushing Cancer. She says this is the book she needed when she was diagnosed, but it wasn’t out there. “I needed hope, inspiration and someone to tell me exactly what I needed to do to get through the hardest time in my life.” The book, which has over 50 tips and take-aways, is divided into two sections: the first section details her journey; the second section helps anyone in a difficult situation how to thrive. At the end of the book, she offers “Tribe Tips” to help anyone who has a friend or family member going through cancer. Dara also created a supplemental workbook for those who wish to dig deeper, and she donates 30% of her profits to nonprofit organizations. Dara also speaks to groups about her journey, and is now working on a fictional book and an online video course.
When not busy writing or speaking, Dara enjoys time with her family as well as volunteering at the same cancer center where she was treated. “It’s my privilege to help people and offer support. There is so much beauty in that room and it keeps me grounded.”
Sharon Nelson Lanouette
When she was just 16 years old, Sharon opened a dance studio in her parents’ basement after a couple of neighbors asked Sharon to teach their children to dance. A dancer herself since age 4, Sharon stared with 12 students and then doubled enrollment in one year. At that point, her parents said, “Sharon, I think it’s time you open your own studio” in which case Sharon’s School of Dance was born.
Today, Sharon teaches a variety of dance styles (ballet, lyrical, tap hop hop, etc) to students ages 2 to 89! She also teaches a group of seniors called “The Snappy Tappers” who perform weekly all over Winston-Salem. She says her favorite classes to teach are the Twinkle Star classes, ballet/tap/tumbling classes for ages 2-5, where they pretend to be princesses, witches, fairies, super heroes and more!
Sharon’s School of Dance does not have competition teams and Sharon says they never will. “I want my students to dance for themselves and to entertain. No matter what level they are, I want them to feel their best and not judged,” she adds. Sharon also takes her students of all levels to Disney to perform every other year.
Sharon and her husband, Michel, have a grown son, Michel (also known as Spike), who is a mechanic, as well as a grown daughter, Chandalae, who is an NFL cheerleader, part-time student, and part-time instructor at Sharon’s studio. They also have two grandsons.
When not at the studio, Sharon stays busy as the founder/director of Wind Dancer Foul Rescue, a non-profit organization that takes in orphaned baby horses and raises them to be adopted to loving homes.
“I feel so lucky to be living every little girls’ dreams. I get to be a ballerina and I get to be with horses. I just haven’t figured out the princess part yet – LOL.”