Greenland’s female role model in strength training

vivi-fleischer

The now 26-year-old Vivi Fleischer was paralyzed and considered disabled at age 14, but now she is considered Greenland’s female role model in strength training.

The media shows great interest in the young fitness enthusiast Vivi Fleischer. She was featured in December on DR’s P1 (Danish National Radio). DR went to Nuuk to interview and film Vivi for a new P1 program where she motivates and inspires other young people to fight for their life.

– I’d love to help everyone I can. It’s pretty overwhelming that many people write to me on Facebook asking for my help with for example training.

The other day I received over 150 comments on my status, because I wrote that people could send me their email if they wanted advice on a training and diet program.

– I have been way down in the dumps and has several times tried to commit suicide. When I look back at it now I realize, that suicide never is the solution. You feel that you are all alone, but you are not. I feel that I am a part of making a difference if I can help people to healthier and better thoughts.

The disease
– I have always been used to live with pain. It started when I was 4 years old. I had pain in the strangest places, for example my cheeks often hurt. My parents took me to Sana (the hospital) a lot, but the doctors could not diagnose anything. I often collapsed, broke down and I cried at even the slightest touch.

– I played soccer when I could. Sometimes the pain was just too great for me to join.  We tried several times to get the doctors to make a diagnosis without success. When I was 14 I took up to 170 pills a week, which resulted in me getting an overdose.

– My parents were furious that the doctors had not done anything, so they sold all our stuff and went to the media. The day after there was an paramedic airplane flying my mother and I to Rigshospitalet in Denmark. I woke up in a hospital bed and had no idea where I was. I quickly got a diagnosis and it turned out that I have had children rheumatoid arthritis since I was 4 years.

Children Rheumatoid arthritis is a disease that is very similar to leukemia, located in the blood. It attacks what it wants, and in my case it had attacked my jaws, hips and legs. I was paralyzed in both legs, because the disease had become so aggressive.

– I got a specialist who got me on proper medication and I got physically very quickly better. I was traumatized by all these experiences I had, so I was suffering psychologically. I was now about 16 years and I all I wanted was to be an ordinary teenager. I could gradually use my legs again, but I had given up. I kept asking myself the question; »why me?«. Why wasn’t I given the right medication, so I did not have to go through all of this? I felt very sorry for myself and felt that suicide was the only way out.

Training
– I do not remember when or why, but one day I thought to myself; »This must not destroy me« and I began to work out. It was difficult at first with my legs and hips, but I did my best. When I was around 17-18 years I started training at Nuuk Fitness, where the owner, Carsten helped me a lot. He motivated me and showed me what I should do.

He put me in touch with Dennis Rasmussen, who took me under his wing. Dennis is a professional boxer and the owner of Performance Gym in Denmark. He has helped me since then through the Internet. I also slowly began to play soccer again and when I was 20 years old, I was drug free.

– I never imagined that I would one day be drug free, but my new lifestyle had helped me. I had been diagnosed disabled and was put on early retirement, but now I could finish high school. I gave birth to my son right after high school and went on to get my college education. I later got a degree in Spanish just to try something else.

Today I work as a store manager, a strength coach, play soccer and take care of my son, Liam. He inspires me a lot and motivated me to finish my degree.

– I want my son to have someone he can look up to. I also want to inspire and help others. Everyone must realize that they are not alone – no matter what situation they are in. You can always get back up.

Facts

  • Name: Vivi Fleischer
  • Work: Store Manager in Yamatek
  • Born: March 15, 1989 in Nuuk
  • Weight: 56.4 kg
  • Height: 156 cm
  • What sports do you do? Strength training and soccer
  • My sports: Strength training
  • How often do you train? 6 times per week
  • Favourit food: I love Greenlandic specialties, but I also absolutely love Vietnamese spring rolls.
  • Do you make your own food? Yes, every day.
  • How is your relationship with beer, liquor and tobacco? I do not touch any of it. I have never tried smoking before. I’ve tried alcohol before, but I never touch it anymore.
  • What kind of music do you like? It is very different depending on my mood. When I work out I listen to upbeat music, but at home I enjoy calm music.
  • Do you read books, newspapers or you watch the news on the web? I read the news on the web.
  • Do you go often to the movies – Katuaq – or you watch movies and TV at home? I like going to the movies when the opportunity arises. Otherwise, I use Netflix at home.
  • Marital Status: I am a single mom to my 4 year old son, Liam.
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