UFE’s much-anticipated new Glamour category launched this year at UFE Revolution in Cobourg, Ontario. In this category, women get the chance to wear glamorous themewear costumes similar to those on a Victoria Secret runway. It was very exciting to see all of the amazing themewear that the competitors wore, and to make things even more exciting, we got to see UFE’s first Glamour PRO get announced since UFE Revolution was a special Pro qualifying event! That competitor was Maria Sheppard. The audience saw a confident, beautiful, and fit woman posing on stage in her outstanding peacock-inspired costume. But nobody watching the show would ever imagine her struggle to the stage.
In 2011 Maria suffered a stroke, which left her unable to walk without the assistance of a walker. She had to relearn to walk again, relearn to use her right arm and grip with her hand, and retrain herself to speak properly again. She had to deal with memory loss, strength loss, loss of nocturnal vision, and substantial hair loss due to the trauma. Finally, she lost her job as an accountant in the ordeal due to prolonged sick leave.
Not many people would be able to recover from all of this. Relearning how to walk was a very painful ordeal for her. She would wait until after dark so people couldn’t see her and then go outside and walk with her walker. She did this every night and progressively got better. “Rehabilitation was a lot of hard, determined work, but I never gave up. I was determined to get myself back. I still had my whole life infront of me!!!” She then had to have a heart surgery to cover two large holes that were discovered by the doctors, which turned out to be the cause of the stroke.
“I honestly did not foresee myself doing fitness competitions again. A friend told me about the new Glamour category. I love making costumes and have always been a sower. So the decision was made! This has given me my fitness goals back and a renewed passion for being strong and healthy.”
We are very excited that Maria chose UFE for her return to fitness competitions and can’t wait to see what she brings to the stage at the UFE World Championship this November in Toronto, Ontario!