When PT and business owner Sally Brouwer’s triplets were two years old, one of them was diagnosed with autism.
“I was devastated. I felt as though my world had fallen apart and I couldn't understand why this had happened. I was angry at the world for about a week until I figured that it wasn't resolving the situation! I could either bitch and moan about it, or I could make the best out of a bad situation. I started researching therapies and medications for autism, however everything I found was negative and depressing ... until I read a book about a mother who had helped her autistic son.”
Sally decided she was going to try the same approach with her daughter.
“It involved intensive early intervention therapy which came at a huge financial cost, but I didn’t care; I’d sell everything and do anything to hear my baby say, “I love you mum”.
At this low point in Sally’s life, she immersed herself in the only thing she had control over – her fitness.
After a hectic couple of years of therapy, Sally’s daughter is thriving and achieving all her developmental milestones - and Sally is thriving too. She now manages to successfully juggle her time between her family, being a board member for Blue Sky Foundation which provides financial support for families living with autism, a part-time job as a police officer, and running her own business, Sally Brouwer Fitness.
And now, Sally’s efforts have been rewarded. This month, Sally has been awarded the FITMedia Personal Trainer of the year, taking out the title from a nationwide field of contestants.
As someone who has overcome adversity, Sally says she always makes time to count her blessings, and offers advice to other women wanting to branch out and start a business of their own:
“Get a good education first so you always have a back-up plan; do what you love, not what you think is going to make you the most money; never burn your bridges; be a people person and network at every opportunity; always help those who can’t help themselves; be yourself and stand up for what you believe in; and don’t be afraid to start from the bottom – that’s where the most valuable lessons are learnt.”