Updated: Oct 28, 2020

"Hello, my name is Amy Torres and I will be sharing beautiful memories of my amazing daughter, Tiffney Torres."

What is your story?

"In April of 1993 my husband and I were blessed beyond measure with the birth of our daughter, Tiffney Renee’ Torres. The bond between her and I was instant and remained strong, until the end. Tiffney was our miracle baby. She literally saved my life. You see, unbeknownst to my doctors, I had ovarian cancer while I was pregnant with her. This type of cancer is known as the silent killer for women but because I had Tiff, the cancer was found and my life was spared.

She saved me; I wish I could have saved her.

Tiff was always full of joy and laughter, her smile was infectious! She had a special way of bringing people together and including them. She was always looking out for others. Growing up without siblings, Tiff was super excited to have God siblings. Christopher, Celina, and Mariana. She became a big sister to all of them and enjoyed every minute of it. Tiff loved them with all of her heart. She enjoyed spending time with them, looking out for them, and loving them.

For me, Tiff was always my sidekick. I loved every minute of it and I wish I could turn back time to when we were playing board games, going for walks, or shopping together.

From a young age, Tiff enjoyed creating and helping in the kitchen. She would pull a chair over and “help” out in any way she could. This usually resulted in messes and many wonderful memories. Her love for creating sweet treats grew and she decided to attend pastry school in 2016. She did really well. Tiff caught on quickly and enjoyed what she was doing. She went on to open her own home bakery, The Sugar Savage. The name was very fitting, as she was both sweet and a little savage. Tiff always shared her recipes with me while we worked together in our kitchen.

In April of 2018, our lives were completely shaken up. Our daughter was diagnosed with stage 4 uterine

cancer. The doctors filled us with hope and we (foolishly) never doubted that she would eventually get

better. Tiffney’s pain quickly became unbearable and she had to be admitted to the hospital for nearly a month to get her pain under control as well as receive her first chemo.

Tiff (while still being brave, strong, and having a sense of humor) had to have a complete hysterectomy in order to help save her life. This resulted in her dreams of having children being crushed. After the operation, Tiff finished her chemo. That same day she rang the bell and said to me, “This doesn’t feel like it’s over." I still did not see that she may not get better, I couldn’t.

Next came pre-radiation scans, and our world was about to be shaken again. The scans showed that the cancer had spread to her liver. That was just before Christmas in 2018. At this point, Tiff was waiting for approval of an experimental treatment and her file was being shared across the United States. Meanwhile, I did not want to notice that Tiff was looking really swallowed-yet she stayed strong and did not complain.

She was back in the hospital mid January in 2019. We were told that they were going to get her pain under control. In the following weeks' time stood still yet moved so fast my head was spinning. In the hospital Tiffney’s health was quickly declining, her liver was bleeding into her stomach, and she was in an enormous amount of pain.

We were hit with the words that no parent ever wants to hear, "The doctors are out of options" and we were going to lose Tiff.

All they could do was make her comfortable. Family and friends came to see her and say their good byes, I was still praying for a miracle. However, every day she was getting worse. Within a few days her Godmother, my best friend, had an unbelievably difficult conversation with Tiffney. She asked her about her finial wishes.

There came a day, I believe February 2, 2019, that was the last time Tiff was alert and speaking to us. After that, she was sleeping most of the time. Once she was moved to hospice I needed her to wake up; I wanted to talk to her one last time.

Tiff held on until Armando and I told her it was ok, that we would be ok. Within minutes of us telling her that, she was gone. She was concerned about us and brave to the very end.

As a parent, I feel an enormous amount of guilt. I told her she was going to kick cancers ass and I couldn’t save her.

I sent Tiff a message to her phone after she passed that said:

There are times I don’t want to believe you’re gone and then reality slaps me and the pain of your absence hits me to my very core. As the days and weeks go by it is so difficult for me (and your daddy) to handle or understand. Why didn’t God heal you? Why did he take you from us?

Your were my best friend. I miss our talks, movie time, cooking with you, your funny text messages, your hugs, the way you loved me, I miss everything about you.

My biggest blessing is the honor of being your momma. Who am I without you? 😢 I am trying to be strong for you my princess, you fought so hard but I’m tired y te extraño mucho mi reina. Espero que los ángeles entiendan la bendecidos son de estar en tu presencia.

I love you and I miss you my princess.

Descansa en paz my sweet girl.

I remember a couple of days after she passed away, we were looking for a dress that Tiff wanted to be laid to rest in. I had a few minutes alone, and I was thinking, “what I am going to do without her?" Out of nowhere, I began to think of The Sugar Savage and the time Tiff and I spent in the kitchen. That moment was when I decided to carry on her business as her legacy which has also been a type of therapy for me. I somehow feel closer to her when I am baking and carrying out her dream. A portion of all sales have also been set aside for a scholarship in Tiffney’s name.

In life I held and guided Tiff, now she holds and guides me."

In one word, how would you describe/define your experience? Why?

"Blessed-We are incredibly blessed to have had the honor of being Tiffney’s parents, for that, we will be forever grateful."

What would you compare your experience to? And/or what analogy would define your experience?

"Unconditional love: Tiffney’s heart was full of love from the time she was a baby to the end. That was the type of love I experienced from Tiff, unconditional. No matter what. She loved me like no one else ever will."

What advice would you give yourself or someone else experiencing something similar?

"Open your heart fully to your child, enjoy and cherish every moment as though it could be your last. Try to take time every day to go over something positive, let those memories seep into your soul, because memories may be all you have left of your child."

Hear the song Forever and Ever inspired by Amy's story: Available Everywhere 11.6.20

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Updated: Feb 21, 2020

“My name is Eve, I am from Indiana, and I will be sharing my story about my journey to lose half my body weight."

What is your story?

"I was unhappy, depressed, constantly challenging my self worth. I weighed almost 300 lbs. I waddled, my thighs rubbed together, My arms chaffed daily from rubbing against my torso. I was so out of shape that washing my hair was a struggle to hold my arms up. I cried in dressing rooms. I didn’t go to weddings because I didn’t have anything to wear. I couldn’t keep up with my daughter. I never got to wear the white wedding dress of my dreams. I wasn’t living. I felt dead. I wasn’t pleasant to be around. I was missing out on everything and only saw myself missing out on more because I watched my mom spend 25 years trying to lose weight too.

I eventually went on to lose 158 lbs. My weight loss transformation was the catalyst to a whole new life, a career change and a platform to change the lives of others. I went from laboratory scientist to multi -laboratory manager...to a certified nutritionist ….to business coach and owner of a global fitness coaching academy.

After losing 158 lbs, I began to help women lose weight, build muscle, gain energy and experience food freedom through flexible dieting. I teach women to count macros-a detailed/more portion controlled way of counting calories to have a sustainable diet without food restriction, gimmicks, and reliance on things (like fat burners and hours of cardio). I have been coaching women globally since 2014, when I reached the half my size point of my weight loss, and I did it out all out of fear.

I stated that I lost 150 lbs and I know you guys are wondering when, where, how…I spent a lifetime being overweight. I was more than 100 lbs by the fifth grade. 140 lbs in middle school and remained over 200 lbs in highschool staying around a size 20. I was unathletic and was always the chubby girl. I freaked out when in gym class. Once I got to college I stayed between - 200 and 225 lbs. Losing weight seemed impossible.

I got pregnant during my sophomore year gaining 85 lbs, gave birth to my first kid, and found myself at a size 24 and 277 lbs. It was crazy. I felt depressed, worthless, and saw no sight of being average. I was uncomfortable and just wanted to blend in and be average. My goal was to be 200 lbs, just to feel normal. I thought that was my perceived best self. The breaking point of being overweight came when I went to a dressing room to get a pair of pants. When I looked in the mirror I was far from my best self. I decided to take action, stopped making excuses, and researched how to create a healthy weight loss diet for myself with lower calorie meals of the foods I was already eating and calorie counting.

I bought a taebo video series, grabbed a jump rope, and started working out at home. I found creative ways to cook healthy foods and started journaling all of my food. Once I lost 40 lbs, I got a gym membership and started walking, running and using the elliptical machine. It took me about 16 months. I finally lost 120 lbs. Then..I got pregnant again and gained 40 lbs. during the second pregnancy and lost all the weight in 3 months.

We moved to Arizona to help open another research laboratory and I gained 15 lbs the first month we were there. I then lost the weight, we moved back to Indianapolis where we opened another laboratory, and found myself gaining weight from the move, stress, and old food habits. Management was stressful so I found myself deteriorating mentally, physically and emotionally.

After a couple years of gaining and losing 10 lbs it was 2011, I was sitting around 160 lbs but I still didn’t feel good about myself. I wasn’t comfortable, I was feeling sluggish again, and knew I needed to get back to feeling good. I kept seeing the half my size magazines every year. I would buy them, take them home, and study them intensely. I felt myself slipping and losing motivation so I decided to get uncomfortable to hit my goal. WHY NOT ME?

I started blogging my journey through instagram in December 2013. I posted everything...recipes, healthy food, shots of my running mileage, sweaty gym photos, everything. I used the #halfmysize every time I posted.....I was tagging People Magazine. No one was watching or at least I didnt think they were. I was getting 5 likes, maybe 13 likes.

In April 2014 I had finally lost half my body weight.

In September 2014 People Mag emailed me out of the blue. They told me that they wanted me to be in their magazine; that they had been following my journey for a long time. They said they wanted to get on the phone with me and interview me to make sure that I was a good fit so they could do a background check to make sure I lost the weight way the said way I did.

A lot of people were asking me to help with their own weight loss journeys, so I pursued my nutritionist certification. On December 30th, 2014 I became a certified nutritionist and remember messaging people as the ball dropped on NYE that year.

January 2015, about three weeks after the magazine article released, I found myself very overwhelmed with people messaging me and emailing me nonstop to help them. I felt compelled to help others. That’s when I slowly started to know that it was my purpose.

In February 2015 my boss wanted to do our weekly catch up in his office the same week that I was feeling overwhelmed. I had planned to go in there and tell him that I was thinking about quitting; I was ready to announce that I wanted to resign or go part time in the spring. He ended up giving me a promotion and a raise in that same meeting and I walked out of there in tears.

I got myself together and did some soul searching and one month later I walked into my boss’s office in tears and told him that I loved the company, I loved what I did, and I love my staff, but it was time for me to either resign or go part time. We made the decision for me to go part time from home and that was the week that G transformation fitness LLC was born."

In one word how would you describe/define your experience/story? Why?

"Unreal- I wished and worked my goal into existence (I told myself, "we could change this")."

What would you compare your experience to? What analogy would define your experience?

"Going from a caterpillar to a butterfly."

What advice would you give yourself or someone else experiencing something similar? 

"Keep a #WhyNotMe mentality and do it afraid"

Hear the song "Do It Afraid" inspired by Eve's story: https://open.spotify.com/track/0FANaL7dXgOEEGwWtDNBWd

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Updated: Feb 20, 2020

My name is Tikila and I will be sharing my story about my family.

My story is one that I would say is complicated but positive. Even though there were some challenges in my life, I feel like I’ve seen positives in it.

As a child, I was violated sexually but never let it define me. I remember when I told my parents I learned that love is shown differently but the same. When I told my parents what happened I could see the look on my mother’s face. That feeling of more so like failure and I remember my father being the one that was more verbal and embracing. I felt love from both; I just saw it differently.

That experience was the first lesson before I even knew what love languages were. To know my parents had two different love languages. So again, not letting it define my life. It was just something I needed to share.

I was about twelve years old and so once I shared it with my family it was like a moment of breath and we dealt with it, you know, the way we were supposed to.

So fast-forward to my adult life or teen life. I have five siblings, four sisters and a brother and we always joked about having a large family.

So I'm watching my siblings, and my oldest of two siblings are a year a part and went to college and then there's a couple years in between and then my two second siblings they went to college. So, that's a new pattern. My parents don't have college education but it was kind of one of those things, you know, you go to college.

So, it's my turn to go to college.

I go to college like everybody else. Then start taking classes and then I'm flunking classes. This is not what I'm supposed to do. After a while I was like, okay, I just don’t want to go to school anymore.

I remember going to my parents and saying that I’m just going to stop going to school. My mother never judged she just said, “okay.”

I started working and then I remember a conversation with my dad saying there was a couple things that he wanted and it had to happen in this order. We were to go to college or go to the military, wait until we were 25, and then we could get married and start a family. Well here I am; I am breaking this. So over the years I just remember again my parents showing love differently.

My mother was always the reserved one but she showed it through her actions. My father was always the one (sometimes when we didn't even want it) waking us up to say how much he loved us and telling us different stories.

So I just started living life. I move to a different city and found myself working. I'm looking at my siblings who have careers but I have a job. So I live by myself, I can't survive off one job so now I have to have two. I'm struggling to make ends meet. Then I remember my father’s plan. Where do I fit in this line?

I have four siblings with a college education; my younger sister is starting college, where do I fit? Am I going to be that one, the only one that does not fit in this line?

I remember I had a friend at the time and I was talking to him about it and I was telling him, I can't support myself and do this on my own.

So he said, okay I will go with you, and I went to go see my brother. I went back to Fayetteville and ask him if I could move in, because I wanted to go back to school.

At that moment, I saw him take like a breath of fresh air. My family never made me feel less than because I wasn't going to school, but I saw a breath of fresh air and that “light,” like okay now you're doing what you are supposed to do.

So I moved in with my brother and I started the school process.

My younger sister and I are now in school. We have five years difference between us but we are going to college together. I remember saying “We will not graduate at the same time. I will graduate before you.”

I ended up having to take a semester off and so now we're literally in this together. I remember thinking, “This is not the order, I'm supposed to graduate first.” So the running joke is, we were in schools in two different cities. My graduation and hers were on the same day but I graduated at 8 in the morning she graduated at 10 o'clock in the morning.

So I was still able to say I graduated before you.

I had a fiancé at this time and he was ready to get married prior to my graduation. He said you could move here and in my mind I was thinking back to what my father said. My father said 25, then married (I'm 28 so I already passed that hurdle) but I still couldn't get married before graduation. So I graduated on the 11th and I got married on the 17th because I had to complete that order.

Now fast forward a couple more years and we had our first child.

I just remembered again wanting my child to have some of those same memories that I have I had, especially coming from a large family. I wanted her to have those memories, I said to myself that every year I'll make sure I take her back and forth to Fayetteville so she can see her family.

My daughter was about 7 months old and I remember this day, I was at work, and my siblings and I we have what we call family prayer. So every Sunday all six of us will get on the phone and we will talk to each other and we will pray and just talk about our lives because we all live in different cities.

This one was during the week, and my brother texted us and said I need you guys to call the conference line, so we call the conference line. He told us that my father had a massive stroke and they did not know if he was going to live or die. I still remember that moment sitting in my car and thinking what is going to happen.

I immediately call my husband and say I have to go home, so I buy a plane ticket, the next morning I fly home. I remember sitting in my father’s room, he was in ICU and at this moment, and he was still stroking. They did not know what the effects would be and what his life would be like. I wrote a prayer to God, and I remember asking God to heal my father; to not take my father, he needed to see my daughter live. He needed to be a part of her life, and I still have that.

So over the next couple of days we find out he is going to make it, but his life would be forever different.

The doctor said he has something called Aphasia, and that meant to us, to his life, that he knew the words he wanted to say but he lost his processing. Again, this is the man who gave me love through his words and can no longer do that.

The doctor said that he will know what he wants to say, and he's saying it in his mind but what you hear is gibberish, but he's going to think is that we’re the crazy ones, because he knows what he's going to say.

That is our life now with our father.

He regained some of his mobility but he still somewhat paralyzed on his right side. So our life now is funny, people say the best way to describe it is like playing charades. We have to guess at what he's trying to say, and it's always so hard because, again, that's the person that told me I love you through his words.

I look at my parents. They have had struggles over their lives, but they have been married (oh my gosh) 46 years.

One day my father and my mom call and my mom says “Your daddy wants to talk to you.” So we're talking on the phone and I have no idea what he's trying to say to me. I'm asking him questions blah blah blah and after about 5 minutes I said, “just put my mother back on the phone.” So he puts my mother back on the phone. She asks me two questions, asks him two questions and then immediately tells me what he was trying to say.

That showed me what marriage does and how you just learn each other. That was a lesson about family and marriage and all of that because she understood something that I would have never have understood.

Now, looking at my daughter and she's only known her grandfather to be this way and she would always ask me questions like “why can't Papa talk?” or “what happened to him?” So trying to explain that story to her was challenging.

One day last year when we had a birthday party for my mom. Everyone was talking about different things about my mother and they asked my dad if he had anything to say.

He took the microphone and without being prompted he said, “I love you.”

For me that was a moment.

My daughter she just lit up she was like “Mommy! Papa said I love you!” So for me that was my moment of God showing me that it's still there, his love is still there.

For her to be able to witness my daddy and that “I love you” through his words the way I did. That was special. Even if it never happens again.

Just the other day she said, “remember when papa said I love you.” So, that was big for her.

When I talk about my siblings, all of us handle our Father’s sickness differently. For me, because of the twelve hour drive, I only see my father but a few times a year (my father and my mother and my family) but we've always remained close. I do not think that either of us could handle the things that have happened in our lives without all of us.

It is funny, I was sending a text message to my siblings one day and we were just talking about our stories because we've all ended up at different places. Kind of the same path but different paths and just talking about how blessed we are that all of us made it through college.

We did not come from money. We grew up kind of in the projects so it wasn't the norm for us to graduate college and have Masters; that wasn't what we're supposed to do. So with all the adversities in our lives, to say that we've made it was big. Because of this, we needed a name for ourselves (and not even realizing it, the show this is us was our inspiration and I didn't even know it).

I sent my sister a text message one day and I said “I'm proud of us, the big six.” It didn't even dawn on me that they called themselves the big three but that was forever our togetherness.

I have a cup on my desk that my sister had given to us in a picture that says “the big six” and so that's our phrase.

I look at my father and how his journey has changed and how my mother and my father have had to switch roles. She's the one that has to say I love you now and give us the words because he no longer can. Over the years I just thought about how important it is to know that everybody has struggles but not letting those struggles define them.

He could have given up, he could have not tried to talk, he could have not done anything. My family could have given up, we could have put him in a nursing home but we didn’t.

If you can imagine how hard it is to try and communicate with somebody and it is forever charades all day long. It can become frustrating but the love is still there and you still make it through.

I always wonder sometimes; my dad just sits and I just see him sitting there and I wonder what is going through his mind. The sad part is, he can never tell me. How do you give words to somebody that doesn't have language?

That is one of those things that I feel like I’ll always struggle with but I appreciate that I have the big six and my mother to help me get through it.

That's my family story.

Hear the song "Love Is" inspired by Tikila's story: https://open.spotify.com/track/1f1GvImJ38G5WJGSZ5ggRp

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