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Toronto Caribbean News | | Wednesday, January 31, 2024

VICKY ROLFE A story of resilience and triumph “Sell them what they want, give them what they need!” This statement came following my discussion with this incredible woman that I am presenting to you today. What she shared with me is that she helps women lose weight by exercising less and eating more. Yes! You read that correctly; exercise less and eat more. This edition features a certified Nutrition & Hormone Specialist for female leaders transitioning into perimenopause. She helps women navigate hormonal changes and empowers them to reclaim confidence in their bodies and boost their energy levels. Like other entrepreneurial moms, balancing entrepreneurship and motherhood is a challenge. There were numerous instances where the obstacles seemed insurmountable to her, and she couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. She believes personal growth is the foundation of leadership, with self-awareness being imperative for success in both personal and professional life. She is aware that recognizing your limitations and your blind spots, and being open to feedback, enable you to grow. She engages in continuous selfreflection, nurturing her faith daily, and seeking support and guidance from more experienced/knowledgeable individuals; this has been instrumental to her success. In a world filled with stories of resilience and triumph, there emerges a tale that transcends the ordinary. Today, we invite you to join us on a journey into the life of a woman whose strength knows no bounds, whose story is an anthem of courage and perseverance. Her story is not just a chronicle of personal triumph; it’s a testament to the indomitable spirit that resides within us all. Today, we stand witness to Vicky Rolfe’s powerful story, a narrative that transcends the individual and becomes a collective anthem of triumph. Her journey is a reminder that strength is not just about endurance, but also about the ability to inspire and uplift those around us. Join us as we delve deeper into the layers of resilience, courage, and triumph that define Vicky’s extraordinary life. This is more than a story; it’s a celebration of the human spirit. Born in the Dominican Republic, she was adopted by French Canadians at one year old and grew up in Quebec. Her adoption was organized by her grandmother and father. At least 200 Dominican children were separated from their families in the 1980’s. It wasn’t because of a famine, a hurricane or an earthquake, but because of an incredibly effective network of Quebec missionaries and adoptive parents. In a region of 40,000 people at that time, 200 children within a few years is a considerable number given that they weren’t orphans. Their parents, all very poor, didn’t necessarily understand all that an international adoption implied. In many cases, they were lured with the promise that their children — once they had received an education and become wealthy — would come back to save them from their

misery. In reality, that never occurred. Such targeting of families that were poor and might be willing to give up their child for adoption was legal in the 1980’s in the Dominican Republic. Today, however, such methods would be considered to be human trafficking under national laws that are much stricter. “In the 80’s (scandal) there was an agency that went door to door asking people to give up their children for adoption. Plus, they were paying for it,” Vicky shares with me. “My dad decided that they would give up my sister and I, so they told my mom that she was too sick to take care of me, so she should agree to give her away. My mom said no! She didn’t want that, but my dad did it anyway.” It was not easy. Vicky grew up in a really small village; her sister was adopted as well, and she was African Caribbean. “My parents were White, and they did the best that they could. We just knew we were different; we felt it, and for us it was hard to express. I had to acknowledge that I was different when I started school. That is when my sister and I realized that we were not like everyone else. Then, when I moved to Montreal, I was faced with not being Black enough. Finding my place in this world was hard; I said forget this. I am going to define myself as who I am. My accent is even different; it is a mix of French, Spanish, and English. At the age of five, I told my parents that I wanted to know who my family was. My sister who was adopted with me is my half-sister. As I got older, I needed to know more about who I was, and where I came from. My mom was very disappointed, and as most mothers do, she did her best to prepare me for the worst. ‘Don’t be disappointed if you don’t find them. Regardless, go!’ A series of unusual events brought me to the Dominican Republic at 20 years old. Would you believe it that I found my family the first day that I arrived. When I told my mom that I had found them, she was shocked. Silent! She couldn’t believe I had found them. It was when I met one of my sisters that I was like yes; this is the right family. I have 17 brothers and sisters; and what makes me unique is that I am the only one who has my mom and dad as a parent.” Naturally, Vicky’s adoptive parents had a hard time with this. “They thought they had lost me. They were frustrated, happy, and a mix of emotions. I remember calling them and telling them, ‘Don’t worry! I am still your daughter. Please don’t worry, I will be back!” With such a complex history, it is no wonder that Vicky’s purpose has been so well defined. “I have always had a problem explaining the depth of my work, and I am glad that I am now able to do so.” “How do you define your purpose, and how has it evolved over time,” I questioned. “It all started with my mom’s diagnosis of Lewy Body Dementia. I wanted to save her. My mom

was the kindest, gentlest, and most giving person. When she got this diagnosis, I was devastated. She was so giving to me, my sister, and my dad. She was completely devoted to us, and she didn’t take care of herself as she should have. When she got sick, my world stopped. In my heart all I could feel was that I needed to save her. My mom’s situation helped me realize at that time that I was on the same path as her. If I didn’t make some changes, my life would be shortened and not as fulfilling as it could be, and so, I began my journey into health and nutrition.” She put together a summit with doctors, and natural paths, and wouldn’t you know it 2,000 people attended. The summit was called “Foods that Heal.” “Really the summit was for me, and I took it a bit further; I started studying nutrition. I really wanted to know how to help my mom. I wanted to understand food and its effect on the body. When I learned what I learned, I knew I had to share it with the world. I started studying my mom’s case: my mom had a lot of stress, she was not eating well, even though she looked happy, she wasn’t. Then I started to study hormones. My focus is not on weight loss; 99% of the women who come to me want to lose weight. I tell my clients to eat more, exercise less, get rest, and deal with stress. One of the most impactful and gratifying moments in my career was the incredible transformation of my mom’s health in just seven days. I remember it being about a year after her dementia diagnosis, and she came to visit me for a week. When she arrived, she could barely recognize us and was so weak that she was confined to a wheelchair. Within just a week, she went from barely moving, to running around the house with my son, cooking with me in the kitchen, and refusing to use her wheelchair. It was incredible; she was back to herself, as I had always known her. This is a true testimony to the profound impact that proper nutrition, consistency, and a strong support system can have on one’s health. The key takeaway from this experience is that, with the right support and knowledge, remarkable transformations are not only possible but achievable within a relatively short time frame.” With each setback, Vicky dug deep inside and transformed it into an opportunity. Embracing the decision not to give up, navigating through hardships, and summoning courage forged the leader Vicky into the leader she is today, for both her family, her business, and her community.

Photo Credit: Jenny Jay- The Double Jay Collective

Written by Simone J. Smith Toronto Caribbean News

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