INDIAN TRAIL – Seven years ago when she first started teaching Pilates classes, one of Jill Hinson’s students told her that she had battled breast cancer and wanted to get stronger.
Three weeks later, another client told Hinson that she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
“It hit me that I had to do something to give back,” Hinson said. “I didn’t know how to help them.”
She realized these students had the means to pay for Pilates classes despite medical bills. She wondered how many others wanted to take Pilates classes but could not afford them.
She launched Core Compassion Project. The nonprofit offers post rehabilitative Pilates scholarships to people with breast cancer. The scholarship covers 10 one-on-one classes.
Core Compassion Project has provided 78 scholarships funded by its annual “Girls Night Out” fundraiser at Morning Glory Farm in Monroe.
Hinson said women experience tightness after a mastectomy.
“Pilates is amazing for helping them get that motion back,” she said. “It helps build strength, and it’s low impact, so it’s easy on the joints. And we can meet the recipient where they are. If there’s a day where all they can do is stretch, then we’ll stretch.”
Kathy Whitley has been a recipient since her friend suggested it to her years ago. She has been cancer-free for nine years.
“I’m getting some of my mobility back,” Whitley said. “Because of the Pilates, my body is now able to do the stretching that it needs to do. I can put on my shoe now without having to call my grandchild or my husband.”
Hinson said recipients become more self-assured.
“These women leave with more confidence,” Hinson said. “We are a base of support. That wasn’t our original plan, but we are so thankful for that.
Hinson is working on a home program that scholarship recipients can work on after their 10 sessions are finished. She is also writing a book to guide other instructors on how to help people battling breast cancer.
Cancer has also hit home for Hinson. Her father has stage four lung cancer, while her 7-year-old nephew was diagnosed with acute myeloblastic leukemia four years ago. Her mother is a colon cancer survivor.
“In my heart, I want to branch out to people who have other cancers eventually, but we want to master what we’re doing here first for breast cancer,” Hinson said. “What I’ve experienced in my family has funneled my passion for helping as many people as I can.”
Want to learn more?
Jill Hinson owns Core Studio Pilates, which operates out of Extreme Ice Center, 4705 Indian Trail-Fairview Road, Indian Trail. Call 704-288-3898 or visit www.cor estudiopilates.com for details on private sessions and group classes. Visit www.corecom passionproject.org to learn more about Core Compassion Project.