Women over 40 beauty, Skincare, Fashion, Fitness and Lifestyle

By D’Ann Zona – Fitness Contributor

A kickboxer’s inspiring story of embracing change



Daniella Cippitelli Abruzzo’s life path included a career change, divorce, raising two young children and surviving bone cancer, which all led to a new outlook on life, health and fitness. This fabulous woman shares her journey and the fighting spirit she used to keep active through it all.

Abruzzo began studying and participating in martial arts in her mid 20’s, which also inspired her to get her personal training certification along with a specialization in martial arts conditioning. Life unfolding, her fitness routine was put on hold as she married, had children and focused on her media and technology career. At 39, shortly after the birth of her second child, she underwent an emergency gallbladder removal.

She said, “I woke up in the middle of the night and thought I was having a heart attack.” It was then she knew the need to get healthy, not only for herself but as a positive example for her toddler and infant too.

Soon after, and with a new determination, she was exercising, kickboxing and clean eating. Everything seemed to be good as she was back at a healthy weight and starting a new business with a friend called iLoveKickboxing.com. But, then it changed. It was the weight loss that Abruzzo believes revealed a new surprise: she now had noticed a lump in her chest.

Immediately, she went for a mammogram as it could be breast cancer, but all the tests came back clean. After numerous doctor visits and tests, it was a sonogram that finally revealed the mass was on her rib. Due to its size, it had to be removed along with the entire rib. Her doctors were confident the tumor was benign but wouldn’t know until after the tumor was removed.

The chest surgery went well, and she began walking the hospital halls for exercise almost immediately after. She was discharged three days sooner than the five to seven days she was told that she would have to stay, and even headed back to the gym a few weeks after the chest surgery and rib removal doing light walking and legwork. Abruzzo said, “Staying active was the mental push I needed to get through this.”
But, the tumor wasn’t benign.

Her doctor’s phone call to Abruzzo revealed that the tumor was malignant and the diagnosis was bone cancer. After the shock diminished, she made a promise to stay fit during her treatment. She didn’t want to lose everything she had gained in her healthy lifestyle. Abruzzo felt blessed that the cancer was caught at a low-grade. With surgery and radiation, she would be spared chemotherapy.

“Radiation was not easy, and I have a new compassion for cancer patients. I lost my father to cancer a few years back, and he handled it with such dignity that I wanted to handle it the same way… with dignity,” she said.

Also deeply touched by watching children that were dealing with this awful disease, she said, “They don’t understand. They’re so young and in so much pain. I was older and could process what was going on.”

Abruzzo is already planning and researching her next personal future goal of working with cancer patients to encourage them to remain active by incorporating fitness into the treatment and recovery process.

Today Abruzzo is president and co-owner of FC Online Marketing, Inc./iLoveKickboxing.com, and co-owner of the corporate iLoveKickboxing.com studio in Chelsea, NY. They are also in the process of franchising ilovekickboxing.com. Most days start at 4:30 a.m. to get her workouts in, get her kids off to school, herself to work and then return home to get the kids off the bus.

She now pays close attention to her body signals and will stop if she feels it’s too much. She does her kickbox training on a bag instead of contact martial arts because the radiation treatments may have weakened her bones.

Check out the ilovekickboxing.com movement, with over 82,000 members nationwide and still growing. Contact Abruzzo by becoming a fan of her Facebook page called Daniella Cippitelli Abruzzo – Fitness Advocate, where you can get health tips, clean eating recipes and be inspired.
Catch Abruzzo’s Favorite Fab Circuit Workout next issue…