Stroke Survivor Starts Wellness Business

By Beth Anspach  |  published in Dayton Daily News  |  KETTERING, OH — With a passion for exercise and fitness, Centerville resident Liza Burns always wanted to open a wellness facility. Just as she was about to realize her dream in 2009, she had a stroke at the age of 30.

I have a family history of stroke, primarily on my mother’s side,” Burns said. “I didn’t really think about the possibility of stroke for myself because I was very healthy and fit and was training for my first full marathon when it happened.”

Burns suffered several strokes after the first, including a major stroke in 2010, which changed the course of her life. She put her business on hold while she was in rehabilitation.

What the business does: Eventually, Burns was able to recover enough to open her wellness facility, but her health required her to change direction a bit.

“FirstFit For Life is a wellness company but we do a lot more than sports and personal training,” Burns said. “We specialize in cognitive care, Alzheimer’s care, stroke recovery, arthritis and functional fitness. The focus is on wellness and to help people be independent and live healthier, longer lives.”

How the business got started: Burns personal health journey lead her to tweak the original business model and focus more on seniors and people with chronic health issues. Throughout her rehab journey, Burns relied on the services of non-medical caregivers and she frequently found herself frustrated with the services for not being particularly reliable or well-trained.

“I felt the role of the caregiver should be to serve as an advocate for the client,” Burns said. “So I had a desire to also start a caregiving service where client advocacy, communication and reliability would be top priorities.”

At that point, Burns purchased a FirstLight Home Care franchise.

“FirstFit for Life works alongside FirstLight Home Care and provides rehab and exercise services for many of our clients in their own homes,” Burns said. “After I had the stroke, the business became more geared to functional fitness as opposed to just looking good in the club. Once you are independent and have that taken away, you realize it’s not about how much you weigh at the end of the day, but it’s what you are able to do. This is what people take that for granted. Being proactive about your health is more important than anything you’ll do in this life.”

Contact information: FirstFit for Life and FirstLight Home Care have offices in Kettering. Call (937) 609-8845 or (937) 550-1035. Click here to read the full article at