The latest New Yorker of the Week is a fitness instructor who understands the power of digging deeper in the face of life's most unpredictable obstacles. NY1’s John Schiumo filed the following report.
Watching Amanda Young leading her Zumba class, you would not think this high-energy fitness instructor is living with excruciating pain.
“Being able to help other people has always been sort of the thing that drove me and is my full passion,” New York of the Week Amanda Young said.
Young was diagnosed with trigeminal neuralgia almost eight years ago. The rare neurological disease causes sudden, severe facial pain that can make daily tasks difficult to handle.
“Imagine that you have a screwdriver stuck in your face and somebody is taking car battery cables and sending an electric shock,” Young said. “And because of the fear you become isolated and when you become isolated, it does cause a lot of depression for a lot of people.”
However, Amanda refuses to suffer. Earlier this year, she founded “Face the Change.” It is a team of Amanda’s supporters and fellow warriors raising money for the Facial Pain Research Foundation.
On this day, her classes raised more than $20,000 to help find a cure.
“We are constantly fighting, but we refuse to give up,” Young says.
“She’s my shero,” supporter BJ Watkins said. “Watching how many people showed up today for these classes was amazing and I hope that I can, too, change the world like that one day.”
“No matter where you are in life, finding that resiliency within yourself to fight through and fight for a better tomorrow and I think that’s what Amanda is all about,” supporter Peter Gee said.
Those living with TN say Amanda's mentality lifts their spirits and instills hope.
“No matter what TN delivers to you, you have to get up and keep fighting stronger,” said Tracy Magann, who is living with trigeminal neuralgia.
“She’s extremely positive, you wouldn’t, you couldn’t tell if she’s in pain that second,” said Ally Castellano, who is also living with trigeminal neuralgia, “A lot of people - TN stops them, but Amanda is most certainly not letting TN stop her.”
And so, for inspiring others to face life’s challenges head-on, Amanda Young is our New Yorker of the Week.
For more information about Amanda's fundraising efforts, visit facethechange.org.