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MARY NICOLAZZO  

I AM ALFA because I have the best intentions for myself and others. I accept failure and I live with no regrets. I embrace my journey and don’t allow myself to be crippled by the past. I am constantly learning, growing and trying new things.

Photography: ALI SOHRAB

Hair and Make up: SHANNON PAYNE

Colour and Tape Extensions: TIFFANY PEREZ

Venue: Olympians Gym

Growing up I was always obsessed with sports, fitness and beauty. I was born in Toronto, Canada, family of 4 girls, no boys, July 1971. I grew up Italian with a father who was very strict and had many stipulations and rules for his girls. We were told that we were only able to be housewives like my mother. Typical male thinking back in the 1980s. Little did he know that the world would evolve, and Feminism as we know it today would empower so many strong and lively people. When I was 16 years old, I decided to join after-school sports and modelling school. My father definitely did not approve, and I eventually had to leave everything behind.

Fast forward to 1996, I met my future husband, Jerry and married in 1998. In 1999, the year I was pregnant with our daughter, my mother was diagnosed with an illness called Spinal Cerebellum Ataxia Type 1. At that time, we saw a neurologist who told us that there is no medicine. The ultimate way to keep the illness at bay or slow it down, just a little, was to incorporate fitness! Saying this to my mother was hopeless. She landed in a wheelchair at the age of 55 and chose to give up on life at 66. The unfortunate part to this illness is that it is genetic. My aunts, uncles and a few cousins carry this illness as well. Most of them have chosen to just live life and whatever happens will happen. Thankfully, one aunt chose differently. She is exercising almost every day and today, she is 73 with only a walker!! She is my goal and inspiration.

My mother will always be my ROCK! My aunt is my HOPE!

Therefore, I guess my journey to health and fitness started when I was diagnosed with the same illness, Spinal Cerebellum Ataxia Type 1, two years ago. To simplify this illness, it is quite similar to Multiple Scoliosis and ALS. There are so many illnesses in this world that carry unknown cures, but one can take on illness with positivity and acceptance or negativity and denial. I chose to live to the best of what I could be and do for my life! OPTIMISTIC AND HOPEFUL! Today, I belong to an incredible gym, Orange Theory Fitness and exercise 1-2 hours daily, 3 times a week. I feel strong and alive! I plan on living this life with happiness, love, fitness and health!