Age: 23 years old
Occupation: Kinesiologist and Personal Trainer
Hometown: from Thunder Bay ON, now living in Oakville ON
My biggest physical accomplishment(s) to date: becoming an Olympic Powerlifting Coach
In the News: Janna Levanto in Cancer Ride
Small town girl goes national!
At 23 years of age, I am honored to be chosen as one of the youngest members of the team. I grew up in Thunder Bay ON and graduated from Lakehead University. I am a certified Kinesiologist and personal trainer currently working in Oakville, and I hope one day to study Naturopathic Medicine. I’m also a certified Olympic power lifting coach, a goal I achieved in the Spring of 2008 at the Olympic Training Centre in Colorado Springs, where I even had the chance to meet and work with the Beijing athletes!
While healthy living, fitness and training are all integral parts of my life and identity – I must confess that I’m new to the world of cycling and endurance sports. In fact, I sat on my first road bike just this past fall!
So why would a cycling virgin like me want to ride across Canada? Last fall, at the Can Fit Pro Conference, I saw an inspirational video about the 2008 event and was completely moved by the passion behind the cause, the undeniable devotion these people had to making a difference and the changes they were helping to evoke in so many lives. I remember turning to my boss, who was sitting next to me and said “I will be a part of that next year, you watch.” And here I am!
My motivation for riding lies a lot deeper than the chance to be a part of something big or to learn something new and challenge my fitness. It comes from my heart, my personal experience, and my drive.
So many lives are affected by cancer. When I was 12 I was injured during an indoor soccer game. It was after what was supposed to be a relatively easy visit to the ER for X-Rays that my life took a dramatic change. The radiologist had noticed a tumor above my knee. I remember weeks of doctors and tests. And although I really didn’t know all the details of what was going on, I remember clearly the stress, worry and the concern within my family that affected so many aspects our daily lives. My story has relief at the end but so many other families don’t receive that good news.
I know that I am not home-free. Over 40% of us will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in our lives. My family has battled with cancer many times; some have survived while others have lost the fight. I will never forget how lucky I am, and I will also never forget those feelings - worry, fear, uncertainty. No child should ever feel like that, but there are so many who do.
This is why I want to ride. I want to show those families fighting cancer that there are people who care, that there is support - that there is hope.
As corny as it may sound, I’ve always said that I want to make a difference in the world, to do something great and now here is my chance.
“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” Ghandi