Episode 51 -How being physically and mentally strong saved Jillian Kaplans life

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Terri talks to Jillian Kaplan about how her decision to become strong and healthy four years ago saved her life when she was hit by a car in the fall of 2016 and how she’s chosen to make a ‘message’ of the ‘mess'.  

Who is Jillian Kaplan?

Jillian Kaplan is a trauma survivor, animal advocate, rainbow baby mama, former binge eater turned health and fitness coach. Jillian was hit by a car crossing a crosswalk and had emergency brain surgery to save her life.  She also had a shattered pelvis, face, sacrum, and septum.  She spent 3 months in a wheelchair unable to walk or stand but has now fully recovered, lives pain free, and is the mom to a healthy baby girl born in September 2017, 13 months after the traumatic injury.  


Jillian has worked in corporate doing product management and marketing and is pursuing her passion around health as a coach for Beach Body which is part of her online health and fitness coaching business.  She has a B.S. in Management and an MBA from Worcester Polytechnic Institute and lives with her amazing husband and daughter outside of Boston, Mass.  



Show Highlights

  • Jillian talks about growing up in a healthy household and how she chose not to listen and ended up binge eating, addicted to diet pills, and struggling with her weight.  
  • Four years ago, Jillian made the choice to be healthy and strong which ended up saving her life.  
  • Jillian wants to share the message that you are beautiful the way you are, and that health is a lifestyle.  
  • Jillian talks about walking her puppy and getting hit by a car in September 2016 where the doctors weren’t sure if she would survive let alone walk again. 
  • She woke up after the accident and chose to let it be part of her story and to not define her. She has decided to make a ‘message’ out of the ‘mess.’ 
  • Jillian talks about the group Safe Roads Alliance that she works with in Massachusetts.  She spoke at an event where she was the only living survivor of an accident like the one she was in.  
  • Jillian talks about how being in good shape helped her body deal with the trauma she endured.  She had two surgeries within two days of each other which were traumatic in and of themselves.  She was not only physically fit but mentally fit which came from making the decision to become healthier and changing her habits. 
  • Jillian’s husband was notified because of the number on her dog’s tag.  She wasn’t carrying an ID and now she is an advocate for always carrying some form of ID. 
  • Jillian talks about how rehab was so mentally challenging since she was very young compared to the other people there and that she had no one to talk to.  She was alone a lot and was unable to get out of bed on her own. She stayed sane by being active on social media and sharing her story. 
  • Jillian’s husband was incredibly supportive throughout this entire process.  
  • Jillian avoids the crosswalk where the accident occurred but did go there on the one-year anniversary of her accident.  She is cautious now when she is out walking. 
  • Terri talks about the conversations she has with her children about being aware of drivers who are generally distracted and to remain vigilant when riding their bikes or walking out on the streets.  
  • Jillian talks about how she had a miscarriage, was experiencing infertility and was scheduled to meet with specialists but then had the accident.  She was fortunate to have a young, female surgeon who was sensitive to the fact that Jillian was a young woman when fixing her after the accident.
  • Jillian talks about how surprised she was to find out she was five months pregnant when she went in for a medical appointment and ended up delivering a healthy baby girl in the fall of 2017, thirteen months after her accident. 
  • Jillian talks about being a Beach Body coach before and after the accident.  She appreciates the physical and mental strength that she has gained from the program.  She feels an obligation to pay it forward at this point for people who feel defeated or stuck.  
  • Jillian likes to share the things she loves like Ipsy and Artic Zero ice cream and she pays for her products. Terri talks about how she hopes that Jillian ends up benefitting financially from promoting and supporting the products with her audience. 
  • If Jillian had a magic wand, she would change the way people communicate.  She thinks that a lot of the world’s problems could be solved if we just talked to each other (and not through text or email).  
  • Brian Alvey introduced Terri to Jillian and they met through the adoption of their dog.  Jillian talks about how she works with dog rescue organizations on fundraising.  While she wasn’t raised with dogs, she ended up with a dog after a breakup and then wanted to foster dogs and ultimately providing support for dog rescues.  


Terri’s Key Takeaway

Carry some sort of ID when out and about in the event of an accident or emergency.  You never know who might need to reach someone on your behalf.  


References in the Podcast

  • Safe Roads Alliance:  https://www.saferoadsalliance.org/
  • Beach Body: http://www.teambeachbody.com/jilliankaplan
  • Ipsy: https://www.ipsy.com/glambag#/
  • Artic Zero ice cream: https://www.arcticzero.com/
  • Brian Alvey: http://www.brianalvey.com/



Jillian can be reached through her website www.jilliankaplan.com or by email at fitresq@gmail.com.  She is also active on Instagram and Twitter @xoJillianKaplan and Pinterest.  

You can follow Terri on Twitter at @terrihansonmead or go to her website at www.terrihansonmead.com or on Medium:  https://medium.com/@terrihansonmead. 

Feel free to email Terri at PilotingYourLife@gmail.com.

To continue the conversation, go to Twitter at @PilotingLife and use hashtag #PilotingYourLife.