Alan Marsh

Original article from Daily Gleaner

Alanmarsh3In more ways than one, Astena Marsh has given her dad strength. Allan Marsh, a single father of seven and grandfather of six, will step on stage Saturday at the 2017 Atlantic Classic bodybuilding championships at Casino New Brunswick in Moncton. The 15-year-old Astena, his youngest child and the reason he's in the Sculpt Transformation portion of the show, was born with a congenital heart block. She can't get better, Marsh said.

"The timeline is anything from today to a maximum of two years. But she wants to see her dad on stage. She's going to be there, God willing."

A native of Maple Ridge, B.C., who lives in Oromocto, Marsh served in the military for just under 15 years. Stationed in Alberta, he did five tours and ranked as high as master corporal. He was dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder during those years.

"But at that time it wasn't recognized as PTSD," he said. "They used to mark it down as chronic depression. Mine stemmed from injuries, horrific things I saw and couldn't unsee."

Marsh, 51, made a trip east about 20 years ago to visit his sister.

"I fell in love with the area and haven't gone back. I thought it was a great place to raise kids. It was quiet."

It wasn't always peaceful for Marsh, though, who had ballooned to 320 pounds by early 2015.

"I was -- and still am -- fighting my PTSD and I was in an unhappy, unhealthy marriage. I was sticking it out for the kids."

But on Jan. 7, 2015, his ex-wife -- Astena's mom -- "walked out, leaving me with three of the kids still at home. A little while after that, Astena came to me in tears," Marsh said.

"I asked what was wrong and she looked me in the eye and said, 'Dad, you're all I've got left. I don't want to lose you and I'm worried about you. You need to lose some weight.' "

Marsh, tough as a boot heel, broke down. He wrapped his meaty forearms around his daughter, held her tight and promised her he would.

"I took that to heart -- totally," said Marsh, who started working out on his own, then joined a gym.

He had shed 60 pounds, in fact, "when my world was rocked" on July 11, 2016. Astena, who had been on a four-day visit with her mom, was in the IWK Hospital In Halifax fighting for her life.

"I got the call at 9:15 in the morning ... my little baby was on life support," Marsh said, his eyes glistening. "They told me I probably wouldn't make it to the hospital in time. They were preparing to fly her to Toronto but they weren't sure she would survive it."

Astena, who will turn 16 on May 9, had a heart transplant when she was 3 1/2 and "had zero complications until she was 15," Marsh said.

"Everything was going perfect. She went from a happy, healthy, extremely active and athletic kid -- volleyball, soccer, basketball, track and field -- to being on full life support."

Astena spent some 10 months in hospital beds in Halifax, Saint John and SickKids in Toronto, undergoing a mind-numbing "26 heart and bleeding-related surgeries."

"She was in a coma, not even an induced one, at SickKids for about two months," Marsh said. "They didn't think she'd ever wake up."

The scariest day came on Aug. 20. Her aorta ruptured when she was still in her coma.

"You're usually dead within seconds," Marsh said. "She basically bled to death but they revived her. The blood she received was the equivalent of an adult bleeding out between 20 and 30 times."

Astena had successful surgery for an artificial aorta, but the prognosis was grim. "She suffered brain injury and her kidneys have failed completely," Marsh said. "She picked up a fungal infection while in the hospital. That's gone into her brain, as well, and it's eventually going to kill her."

Astena, who's in and out of a wheelchair, was released from hospital on April 9 to be more comfortable at home in Oromocto.

"Since we've come back, she's gone critical twice," Marsh said. "She wants to be home. She doesn't want to die in the hospital."

alanmarsh1And she keeps fighting. "She's an inspiration because everytime I get sore doing something, I think of the pain that she goes through and mine's nothing.

"The hardest thing I lift is her syringe for pain medication. She's on morphine almost 24/7 now."

Marsh says Astena is "in my thoughts constantly."

"I'll get on the bike doing my cardio and sometimes have to pull my hood over my head, because I'm crying so hard."

Astena tries to comfort her dad.

"Her spirits and faith are amazing," he said. "She's no longer eligible for any other transplants. She knows she's going to pass away but she still talks about what she wants to do. She wants to be a phlebotomist, she wants to get married, she wants to have kids.

"She knows that will never happen ...."

With the help of Sculpt health coach Allison Hill, Marsh is a muscular 197 pounds "and the healthiest I've been in my entire life."

The bespectacled Astena watches her father like a hawk, making sure he sticks to his six-days-a-week workout regimen.

alanmarsh2"When I went to the hospital, she would poke me in the abs and say, 'Uh, uh, uh, you didn't go to the gym, did you' and kick me out to go do my workout. If I try to cheat with a snack at home, she'll say, 'Dad, if you eat that, I'll tell Allison.' "

"He's an absolute workhorse," Hill said. "He never complained, never questioned my instruction...just worked. It's all for her.

"He's said that from the beginning. The process to the stage is all about Astena," Hill said.

Marsh agonizes over the irony of his unfair situation. "Astena asked me to do this because she didn't want to lose me. And two years later, it's her that we're going to lose."

He cherishes the bond he has with his "baby girl."

"We talk about anything and everything. But some days, she just wants me to hold her and cuddle her, which I'm more than happy to do."
Original article from Daily Gleaner





Kelly Smith

Kelly Smith

Open QuoteI am so unbelievably happy that I made the decision in September to do this. I have always been someone who sets goals but never pushes them beyond the limits. The dedication and discipline from this has helped me so much mentally and physically and I could not be more pleased.

It is so motivating to see how much the body can change week to week and its crazy to think there are so many more changes to come. People are in amazement of how far I have come in 10 weeks, jaw dropping actually and I usually don’t get through a day without hearing “Wow, how much weight have you lost, you look Great! You are glowing!” Hearing that and seeing the results every week keeps driving me to set new goals that I thought I would never ever attain.

I would not have been able to do this without the accountability of meeting for my weekly weigh-ins and consultations. I always leave there feeling more motivated and ready to tackle the next week. Dollard is great at highlighting all of the positive progress and helping me stay focused and overcome the struggles I run into week to week (lord knows there have been many haha). He is a wealth of knowledge but most importantly he is a great coach!

You both have given me so much guidance and encouragement through all of this and I will be forever grateful. I am so pumped to see where the next phase will take me! Close Quote

Melissa Reid

Melissa Reid

Open QuoteFor years I have struggled with getting the proper nutrition into my body, trying to balance my fitness while still feeling energized - I failed over and over again. I felt like I had tried every single avenue until I signed up with Sculpt Health and Wellness. Michelle helped me with meal plans, gave me guidance and was always there when I needed her. The weekly check-ins were a huge help. I would highly recommend Sculpt to anyone. I feel great and now have all the right tools to lead a healthier lifestyle for years to come. Thank you Michelle and Sculpt Riverview for getting me on track! Close Quote

Kayla McCabe

Kayla McCabe

Open QuoteI have struggled with my weight as long as I can remember. It was a big hindrance on my self esteem and it lead to a period of anorexia in high school. Like they tell you, you will gain it all back if you don't lose weight the healthy way.

I had done really well in 2014, but I fell off the wagon due to stresses in my life. This time, after a break up and being completely disgusted with how I looked and felt I decided I need to seek help and learn about the proper way to lose the weight and keep it off!! I needed a lifestyle change!

I started sculpt in November and I hit the gym hard at the same time. So far I have lost 26lbs and I am so proud of what I have done and happy with how I feel. Now my mantra is that I am "getting rid of the weight" not simply "losing the weight" because I have no intentions of finding it again. Close Quote

Joanne Seamone

Joanne Seamone

Open QuoteWhen I started on this journey with Sculpt, it was about learning how to fuel my body better. I have always been active but never really had the balance of my nutrition in place. Through this journey I have learned what food can do for my mood, training and everyday energy level. I never expected in my wildest dreams I was capable of getting in the shape I am now its wasn’t all about the physical transformation, it was my understanding of food and my new found healthy relationship with it, that has made all the difference. Close Quote

Alyssa Diane

Alyssa Diane

Open Quote2013 • 210 lbs to 2016 • 153 lbs I've changed my lifestyle 100% ! I use to pick up burgers and pepsi bottles & beers and now I pick up iron ;) I am not yet where I want to be, but I am sure as hell proud as to how far I have come. Jackie Sarson said something at our last skype meeting and she nailed it on the head, "We have come too far to be controlled by a plate of nachos, or that poutine". Food will forever be my struggle, but I will overcome my challenges and I will NOT let food control me. Close Quote

Andrew Libby

Andrew Libby

Open QuoteI can't believe the results, they are amazing. The support has been fantastic with weekly check-ins and monitoring, and adjusting if I fall off track of my goals.

I feel younger, sleep better, and have never eaten this much food in my life... and I'm still shredding unwanted fat and building muscle mass. Their approach to weightloss is very personal and tailored for my goals.

They honestly care about how I'm doing in my journey and celebrate the milestones with me. As a TEAM, I couldn't ask for better support and guidance. Now which one of you can help me shop for clothes that fit?Close Quote

Brigitte Dionne

Brigitte Dionne

Open QuoteThe day I joined Sculpt, I draped my 'goal' dress on a chair in my bedroom as a reminder. I could not even come close to zipping it up 9 weeks ago. Not even close! Today, just for fun, I tried it on. It friggin fits! Perfectly!! And I feel amazing!

I could not have done it without your guidance, wisdom, and support! So thank you! Here's to many more perfect weeks! And pretty dresses that fit :) Close Quote

Melanie Legere

Melanie Legere

Open QuoteSince joining Sculpt, both Ryan and Jason have helped me to believe in myself. In just a few weeks, I was able to notice BIG changes in both my mental and physical approach. I feel well balanced and energized. You CAN'T ask for better! THEY ARE AMAZING!!! :)Close Quote

Sean Spencer

Sean Spencer

Open QuoteOk I weighed in this morning and updated my progress pics. Very VERY happy my first goal weight has been achieved. 20lbs off!! I've never been able to lose weight like this before.

Thanks so much for the guidance over the past 4 months. You've set me up with the tools and knowledge I need to keep this thing going! Next stop ...185! Cheers! Close Quote

Holly Jensen

Holly Jensen

Open QuoteThank you very much for everything - you are great coaches - very encouraging, and I so appreciate the help I received from you!

I am very pleased with the nearly 25 lbs. lost and I will definitely be in touch in the new year with more successes! I am on a roll. And it is so easy to maintain. I can live like this forever, and that is the best gift of all. Truly! Thank you, thank you, thank you! Forever grateful! Close Quote

Angela Libby

Angela Libby

Open QuoteMy husband started with team sculpt 4 months ago with some very aggressive goals. To help support him I also started to follow Andrew's meal plan but added the extras that my body needed. After 3 weeks I started to see some amazing changes happen to my body not only physically but mentally as well.

I had more energy. I slept better. I was less tired and my workouts stepped up a couple of more levels of intensity. With the changes I was seeing I decided I was ready to take it to the next level.

I had a meeting with Ryan to discuss if I could be "stage ready" for November. This has ALWAYS been something on my "bucket list" and to be honest (as a mother of 2), I'm not getting any younger.

Jason and Ryan have an ample supply of knowledge. A never die attitude and are passionate for what they do....this coupled with constant encouragement and follow up is the perfect combination to help you meet any health or fitness goal you may have. Keep up the amazing work guys and thank you for being my pillars of support! Close Quote

Danny Duguay

Danny Duguay

Open QuoteBest supporting team I have ever been part of. Very knowledgeable, kind, and honest. They helped me a lot to cope with my injuries and how to strengthen my weaknesses. You don't only learn the science of easy nutrition, but you gain a family. Close Quote

Emily MacDonald

Emily MacDonald

Open QuoteYesterday marked the end of 5 weeks on the Sculpt program. In the 5 weeks, I lost 9.6lbs, which is incredible for me, as I have been working out 5-6 days a week and eating healthy for close to two years with little progress. Being able to learn the proper way to measure and portion food was big for me.

Bethany was absolutely wonderful throughout the experience, always answering my questions and being so encouraging (even when I felt discouraged!). This is a wonderful program, I would 100% recommend this to every one as it gives you a life-long tool for your best possible self! Close Quote

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