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Two-Time Cancer Survivor, Club Fit Coach Needle Shares His Story

Jason Needle, two-time cancer survivor, poses with former boxer Mike Tyson.
Jason Needle, two-time cancer survivor, poses with former boxer Mike Tyson.

Jason Needle is a Parisi Coach at Club Fit Jefferson Valley. He is battling a form of leukemia known as Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML). Jason is a true hero and has been using his fight against cancer to empower others affected by the disease. He founded Jason's Army, a group that is dedicated to raising funds. The most recent fundraising event was a 5K.

No matter what life throws my way, I’ve learned to step back, figure out what needs to happen, and then try my best to make it happen. If life throws you a curveball, you can try your best to knock it out of the park, close your eyes and hope it’s not a strike, or give up and leave the game. I choose to go for it! With a smile on my face and a positive attitude, I feel as if I can achieve anything that I set my mind to.

As a kid, having the opportunity to go to Club Fit was a wonderful experience for me. I loved it so much that I was inspired to go to school and earn a degree in Exercise Sports Science. I wanted to become a personal trainer and I wanted to work at Club Fit. Once I finally had the opportunity, I jumped on it.

Club Fit is now like a second family to me. I cherish the relationships that I’ve made here and I am excited for what the future will bring. I feel the same way about the Parisi Speed School. The program is designed for success. Once I started working with the kids and began to see their improvement in performance and confidence, I was hooked. These kids are my life; they drive me, they look up to me and I look up to them.

Being able to help a child grow confident through fitness and performance is a beautiful thing to me.  The excitement they show when they reach a new goal or do something they thought couldn’t be done is what drives me day in and day out. If these kids can do it, then so can I! I was there for them when they needed help, and guess what? They were there for me when I needed help.

When I was diagnosed with AML leukemia in November 2010, I didn’t think for a second, that it was going to beat me. I was actually pumped up for the challenge. I was in the best shape of my life and I knew that this was my time to shine. I needed to beat this disease so that I could get back to these kids and continue to help them grow.

Club Fit and the Parisi Speed School became my support. They created a “Jason’s Army” site on Facebook and Jason’s Army created a survivor.

I received so much support from my family, my friends, all the members, staff, athletes, and their families, that I had no choice but to beat this. I had visitors every single day throughout my 200-plus days at N.Y. Presbyterian Hospital. I received countless cards, flowers, gifts, and phone calls day after day. All of these things helped me keep a smile on my face every single day and pushed me forward when I needed a push. All of these people will now be part of my life forever and have helped me to become the person who I am today.

After seven rounds of chemotherapy, total body radiation and two bone marrow transplants, I am fortunate to have the opportunity to thank all of you for your support. You have given me the strength to move forward each day and the attitude to know that I can.  I’m an Iraq war veteran, a two-time cancer survivor, and a proud member of the Club Fit family.

Click here to watch Jason tell his story.