With her sunny attitude and a signature workout style that combines jumping rope and dance, this former Radio City Rockette has been building her own fitness empire dedicated to inspiring people to get in shape while having fun. This past spring, a much more serious issue began taking up Amanda’s time. We spoke with her recently for our upcoming issue of Health magazine, on newsstands in June. Here’s a sneak preview of what she shared with us about what she’s been going through.
Amanda's husband, Broadway star Nick Cordero, was hospitalized with COVID-19 in March. What followed was a real-life nightmare. While Amanda cared for the couple’s young son, Elvis, she also had to navigate Nick’s declining health. As he grew more sick, Nick was placed in a medically induced coma on a ventilator. Complications led to his right leg being amputated, and he was given a tracheotomy and feeding tube for nutrition. Amanda recently announced that he had begun to wake up but a few days later, she said he was once again experiencing a setback.
Throughout it all, Amanda has stayed hopeful. She even started a social media movement. Every day at 3 p.m. PST, people around the world blast Nick’s song “Live Your Life” and dance along with Amanda.
Where does your positive attitude come from?
As far as I can remember, I have been a glass-half-full type of person. I always start my day with a positive quote, something that will resonate with me for the whole day. I also have a strong faith; I believe in faith and that there are possibilities out there that are better than anything you could ever expect.
In a flash, your life has changed drastically—but you’ve continued to dance.
Moving, sweating, and dancing always make me feel good! I never end a workout feeling sad or depressed. I live by a couple of mottoes that I always share with the people in my classes: Make yourself as big as you can, and if you are lucky enough to be able to move, then move! There are people, like my husband right now, who cannot move. We should never take for granted how strong our bodies are.
What drew you to dance and jumping rope in the first place?
I started dancing when I was 10 years old and professionally danced for 16 years in New York City. When you dance, you use your entire body in every direction. It’s the ultimate workout, and it is fun! I have been jumping rope since I was a little girl. When I picked up the jump rope as an adult, I immediately remembered how much I loved it.
Since Nick got sick, you have been so brave and open on social media. What made you want to share in this way?
I thought it was important to bring awareness to this horrible disease. Nick first started having symptoms of extreme fatigue, and then it quickly turned into something else. He was a 41-year-old man with no preexisting health conditions, who became very tired and ended up having COVID-19. I felt it was important for people to know Nick’s story in case it was happening in their lives, [in case] they needed to take action. Now, seeing how COVID-19 has taken over his body and dealing with all the repercussions of this disease is important because we are in the early stages of learning more about this virus. Doctors will be studying Nick’s case and other similar cases for years in order to understand this disease.
What has helped you feel supported through all of this?
I have found so much support through the social media family that has been created since sharing Nick’s story. Not only from friends and family but also from people all around the world who don’t know us. People are sending me the most beautiful messages and prayers. Most important, people around the world are joining me at 3 p.m. PST every day, dancing and singing to Nick’s song “Live Your Life.” It doesn’t matter what has happened that day; it could be a really dark and sad day—as soon as 3 p.m. hits, I get a surge of energy from everyone singing and dancing with me.
You have a young child, responsibilities to take care of. How do you find the strength to keep doing everything?
Being present for Elvis has not been hard. He is such a joy and at an amazing age where he is still a baby but starting to be a toddler. When he looks at me and smiles, it instantly transports me into a happy place. I’m so grateful for him right now.
How do you anticipate your life will change?
I have talked to many COVID-19 survivors and their families. I have also talked to many amputees and people who have woken up from a coma to try and prepare myself for whatever is thrown at us.
What words of wisdom do you have for people facing their own health crisis?
Nick’s doctor said it best to me when this all started. He said, “We have to think positive because with that you have possibilities. If we think negative, there are no possibilities.”
This article originally appeared in the July/August 2020 issue of Health Magazine. Click here to subscribe today!
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