Five questions for Regan Mizuno, Saskatchewan native who discusses her Anthem Singing, Curling and Charitable causes

1. Where are you from and what are your interests?

My hometown is Shellbrook, Saskatchewan, a small town of about 1000 people. I grew up on a grain farm one mile south of town. My interests included curling and playing ringette, skating on ice ponds, skidooing, and ice fishing – your typical Northern Saskatchewan upbringing. Also, I did lots of singing with my mom and sister in church and family events — memories I’ll hold dear forever. I received a mechanical engineering degree from the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon. Once I moved south of the border, I passed the patent bar exam to become a US patent agent. Through my work as a patent agent I was blessed to have worked with NASA and Itochu of Japan.

2. What brought you to the US?

Denver looked nice – it had warmer weather, a strong economy, and lots of opportunity for jobs in engineering. The only thing I missed was curling! That came later, when a couple years ago the Denver curling club became active again and started renting some ice. It was an amazing experience to skip a women’s competitive team and go to club nationals in Wisconsin. I’m in a transition and am heading to San Jose where I hope to continue singing and curling. There’s a fantastic curling club that I can’t wait to be a part of. My hope is to continue curling competitively in the US and take it as far as I can go. It’s such a growing, exciting sport and is so much fun to share with not only fellow Canadians but also the new US curlers, who seem to have fallen in love with it and whose supercharged excitement is absolutely contagious.

3. Tell us about your experiences in singing National Anthems.
Singing the national anthem for the Harlem Globetrotters was a hugely fun experience! And I love singing at Ball Games. I’ve done several anthems at Coors Field in Denver. I got my start singing for local hockey games in Shellbrook, and became the anthem singer for the WHL team, the “Saskatoon Blades” while attending University. Once I moved to Denver, I sang at a number of college hockey games (Denver Pioneers) as well as the Denver Nuggets basketball team. Singing the anthem at the US 2009 Olympic curling trials in Denver was especially fun, as I got to meet all the curlers!

I enjoyed playing piano and singing at country clubs and dinner parties, and was fortunate enough to have the pleasure of playing the Colorado Governor’s mansion and the Brown Palace, Denver’s historical hotel. The Brown Palace hosts the President of the United States when in town. I was the first female piano player in the history of the hotel. That was a highlight of my career.

4. What charitable interests do you support?

Well, it all started when I moved to Denver. It was a crazy time when I look back at it. Essentially what happened is that within 4 months of moving to Denver I was diagnosed with lupus with kidney involvement. Fortunately the regimen of heavy drugs worked (I was on a breast cancer drug called Cytoxan for 2.5 years). I was put into remission technically. But I still felt really bad. I had a lot of pain and couldn’t really do much – I had trouble walking from the couch to the kitchen and needed a cane to get up the stairs. It wasn’t until I changed my lifestyle that my life began to change. Diet and exercise are a huge component to my health. It was a challenge to find methods to exercise. With the joint pain, I had to figure out a way to exercise that was safe and wouldn’t hurt. I had to figure out literally how to hold my body when I lifted weights. It seemed impossible at first. But I kept experimenting with moves until I found what worked. I used what I had learned from my engineering degree (mechanics, theory of motion, etc.) to figure out the moves and to explain to myself why it was that these new exercises were making it possible for me to exercise. The new diet and exercise program worked so well I decided to share it with others and Regan Moves was born. I got my fitness training certificate and taught my exercise class at the YMCA. I talk about it on my fitness website, www.reganmoves.com. It gives access to nutritional and exercise information that is appropriate for people with all sorts of chronic conditions, not just lupus: arthritis, sports injuries, fibromyalgia, and so on, as well as people not affected by chronic conditions. I’m in as good of physical condition as I ever was and can compete with anyone out there at skating, curling, working out, and even jogging. I feel extremely blessed. I write for another website called Empowher.com as a “lupus expert”, and basically share my story with whoever I can. I am extremely excited about all of it. I finally feel like my life has purpose.

Volunteer stuff is so much fun. I was a board member of the Lupus Foundation of Colorado and I lobby on Capitol Hill each year for Lupus Research funding on behalf of the Lupus Research Institute. Recent success included obtaining funding for a medical-student educational program about lupus that will directly affect lupus outcomes because of the resultant increase in doctor understanding and increased ability to make an earlier, accurate diagnosis. I look forward to doing work with the Lupus Foundation of Northern California. I created an advocacy site called www.beatlupus.com that gives information about how to get involved and lobby on the hill.

5. What do you miss about Canada?

Dedicated curling ice! Hopefully San Jose will get some soon. I miss the lakes and trees of northern Saskatchewan as well as the people who live there. They have this calm about them. It’s a sense of serenity that’s so magnetic and powerful it’s almost eerie when I’m among the people and nature. That magical, tingly sense when you get back there. It’s true! I get this overwhelming feeling of calm mixed with excitement every time I see the open sky and plains around Uncle Perry’s farm and the glass surface on the big lake of Waskesiu. I’m goofy sometimes, I know!

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