PHOENIXVILLE —Abby Rike was a happy wife, mother to Macy and Caleb and a theater teacher.
Rike’s happy world as she knew it changed in 2006 when her husband and young children were killed in a car accident.
Former “The Biggest Loser” Season 8 contestant shared her story along with what she has done to have a healthy mind, body and spirit during the 6th annual Phoenixville Hospital Healthy Woman dinner. The dinner was held on Wednesday at RiverCrest Golf & Preserve, Upper Providence Township.
Phoenixville Hospital’s Director of Community Health & Education Anna Mae Galbraith welcomed everyone to the event and pointed out the mother and daughters that attended together. Galbraith’s own daughter, Sarah, was in attendance. Galbraith thanked everyone for their support and thanked her staff, saying she could not organize the event on her own.
Chief Nursing Officer Sarah Strzelecki praised Galbraith’s leadership for the Healthy Woman program and talked about how far the program has come.
“Phoenixville Hospital has been doing women’s programs for 23 years,” she said. “The first year Anna Mae came on board, one of the goals she had was to establish a series of programs just for women. Our first program was in the basement of a local church. We had no money or no support.”
What started out as just 30 people turned into something much greater.
While Amy Jane Cadieux from Valley Forge OBGYN introduced Rike. Cadieux she spoke about success of Healthy Woman programs. She said Healthy Woman has 1,100 online members, hosts 70 monthly programs and has 5,000 attendees to all of the Healthy Woman events.
Rike talked about the night that changed her life forever: Oct. 13, 2006, a man crossed over the center line, killing her family.
“I was told there were no survivors,” she said. “And let me assure you on that night, I didn’t think there would be any survivors, including me. I stand here, in what can be described as ridiculously high heels, with joy in my heart once again. You can fake a smile, but you can’t fake joy.”
Rike recalled the intense workouts on “The Biggest Loser,” especially the first day. She said on the first day of workouts, it was the first time she had given something her all since losing her family.
At one time, she hated running, but she has participated in 5K races.
Rike’s story can make one’s eyes well up, but she had a lot of comical things to tell people also. Rike had a slideshow of pictures from “The Biggest Loser” from her first weigh in at 247 pounds and her later weigh-in at 147.
She described Jillian Michaels as a “kind little chihuahua” which got a lot of laughs from the crowd.
Rike gave the audience members some “homework”: to do something that makes them feel unco mfortable in two days.
She said many times people don’t pursue goals or dreams because they are scared. Rike said she didn’t want to get out of the car at the airport on her way to “The Biggest Loser.” If she hadn’t, her life would be much different. Rike got married again in November 2011.
After she was done speaking, audience members gave her a standing ovation.
Rike signed copies of her book, “Working It Out,” before the Healthy Woman Anniversary dinner started.