Dr. Arianne Missimer is a survivor that refuses to let cancer determine the way she lives her life.
My older brother was diagnosed with lung cancer that had spread to the brain. When he was in hospice and sadly lost function of his arm and leg, I was his physical therapist. I helped him exercise every day. My mom and I were his caregivers (my mom was also diagnosed with cancer).
My brother was my hero. I watched his courage and tenacity until the very end. When he passed away at the young age of 29, it was the biggest challenge I have ever faced, but he also gave me one of the greatest gifts: purpose. I dedicated my life to helping others while living in honor of my brother. I always want to make him proud.
Four years ago, just two months before my wedding, I was diagnosed with cancer too. Stage 3 liposarcoma to be exact, a very rare and aggressive cancer. I was determined to never give up hope though. I was determined to keep fighting.
My motto became, “Challenge Accepted.”
The journey was tough, but my mom was always by my side. I leaned on her when I needed it most — and I still do. She has experienced so much adversity in her lifetime from losing her son to cancer, having cancer herself, supporting me in my cancer journey, and losing her boyfriend to cancer. She is the true definition of grace. She has always believed in me, supported me and kept me grounded throughout my life. I don’t know what I would do without her. She will always be my best friend.
With her support, I went on with my wedding and married the best man in the world. He came into my life at the perfect (and not so perfect) time. He has been my rock. From him supporting me in chemotherapy (before and after our wedding) to encouraging me to open up my own practice and helping me build the place of my dreams, he is truly my angel here on Earth.
Not only did I get married, I also trained for America Ninja Warrior — the world’s most notorious obstacle course.
Why? Because movement has helped me heal and overcome so many challenges in life. When I was a victim of sexual assault as a teenager, I found my way to the gym. Lifting weights was the first thing that not only gave me physical strength, but also emotional and mental strength. When my brother passed away, I found ballroom dancing that has brought me joy. And when I had cancer, I found ninja training.
I would leave radiation treatment and go the ninja gym and train for hours. After almost a year of aggressive chemotherapy, radiation, and limb-sparing surgery, I competed on America Ninja Warrior season eight. Not only did I beat cancer, but I competed in the world’s hardest obstacle course — with my chemo port still in my chest.
The biggest lesson I have learned is to cherish your health and your life.
There is not one day that I take for granted.
There isn’t one thing I would change.
I have lived my life passionately and purposefully. I have faced serious life challenges and I have grown from each and every one. I am proud that I have never given up, and that I have taken lemons and made lemonade.
Dr. Arianne Missimer
Dr. Arianne Missimer is the Founder of the Movement Paradigm, an integrative health center in Downingtown, PA focusing on mindset, nutrition, and movement. She holds numerous movement–based certifications and is also trained in meditation, neurolinguistic programming, and yoga. She was awarded the “2015 NSCA Sports Medicine Rehabilitation Specialist of the Year” and the “2011 Recognized Young Dietitian of the Year” in addition to two university alumni awards. She is a TEDX and keynote speaker, and she presents nationally and internationally in the areas of movement science, nutrition, and mindfulness. As a cancer survivor, mover, athlete, and America Ninja Warrior, she is determined to help individuals lead their best life.