Judy Quint exercises the way most women breathe. It is an essential component of her life. So far she has become a certified Zumba® instructor, an attorney specializing in real estate transactions, and a devoted daughter, wife, mother and friend. She has run the Boston Marathon and beaten a rare disease into submission.
One gets the feeling there isn’t anything Judy Quint cannot do once she puts her mind to it. She exudes enthusiasm, passion and a lovely, gentle energy.
“Only child” in a family of four children
Judy came from an interesting family structure. Her mother was 42 and her father 52 when they had Judy, 15 years following the birth of their three sons. Judy’s mother went to her oldest brother’s college graduation when she was pregnant with her baby girl. In essence, she was like an “only child” in a family with four children.
While growing up in Newton, Massachusetts Judy’s father chronically battled a heart condition and diabetes. His legs needed to be amputated when Judy turned 12, shortly before her bat mitzvah. She spent countless hours helping him to learn how to walk with prosthetic legs and pushing him in his wheelchair.
Judy was 16 when her father succumbed to his compromised health issues. Rather than focusing on the loss of her dad, Judy expressed the gratitude she felt for having spent so much quality time with him those last years.
The next 30 years Judy devoted to caring for her mother as she lived locally and her brothers lived across the country. During that time she also raised her own family. Four years ago Judy’s mother died. Judy cherished their relationship and supported her in every way possible to the end.
Pursuing a Career in Law
Judy pursued her personal and professional life as she cared for her aging mother. She graduated from Ithaca College with a sociology major. Judy originally wanted to go to law school to specialize in health law. “I wanted to help women who were being subjected to unwanted hysterectomies by their doctors as an easy solution to their medical problems and trying to lower the population. I wanted to work primarily with Hispanic women as I had a Spanish minor in college and wanted to combine that skill with serving women through the practice of law.”
“When I look back on this early career decision I see that my interest in health was there from the beginning.” After Judy graduated from New England School of Law, her first job was in a law firm that specialized in real estate law and thus began her career. Choosing this job took Judy away from her intended path, but got her on track for going out on her own within a few years. She became her own boss, allowing Judy to make her own schedule so she could care for her mother and later her children.
Marriage, Family and a Rare Diagnosis
Judy got married at the age of 22 following her first year of law school. After experiencing three years of infertility treatment and a miscarriage, Judy at last gave birth to her daughter and thereafter had two more healthy children without medical assistance.
She raised her kids, developed her career as a lawyer and visited her mother everyday in her assisted living home. Now two of her children have been “launched” and are off at college. After her son graduates from high school, Judy and her husband will officially be empty nesters.
Several years ago Judy was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease called Pemphigus Vulgaris. Even the name sounds unpleasant. She endured two years of experimental treatment after suffering painful mouth and throat sores that prevented her from eating solid foods for those two years. Judy braved a difficult treatment protocol and is now in remission. She prays that she never experiences a flare up of the painful disease, as there is no known cure.
Judy shared that, “Going through the treatment is similar to what cancer patients do when they receive chemo. The disease made me miserable, but also taught me to live each day fully. I never waste any time putting things off for the future. I want to take it all in now and not sweat the small stuff.” She looked me in the eyes and said, “Life is such a precious gift and we need to embrace it.”
Judy said that she “…always regretted that I did not do what I truly wanted to do in law, which was health care law. But I persevered knowing that someday I would do what I really enjoy and what would make a difference to others.”
Exercise and Health
Judy exercises for her physical and psychological well being. She explained that her genetic predisposition to heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure made it essential for her to keep a healthy weight and strong body. Although she hated gym class as a young girl, Judy loved the camaraderie of being on a team, which inspired her to improve her skills and make the volleyball team.
During college and law school she sporadically ran, played tennis and worked out, which helped her manage stress and stay in reasonably good shape. Judy realized that she felt more energetic and productive after doing some cardiovascular activity for about an hour 3-4 times weekly. “I kept my weight in check and exercised throughout my 3 pregnancies.”
Judy confesses she “… got hooked. I realized that exercise was essential to my physical and mental well being. I found the magic pill to manage my stress and that was working out.”
Shortly before her fortieth birthday Judy began running more consistently. One day she approached one of her friends and together they decided to run the Boston Marathon. They also combined this goal with raising money for the Leukemia Society. Judy and Jamie diligently prepared for this most challenging event laughing, crying and sharing along the way.
“My body was not made for running long distance. I had big hips, a big tush and extra body fat. I pushed myself and spent time in physical therapy helping me work through pain issues. But I had a goal and I was determined to reach it.
Having my family, including my husband, three kids, youngest brother and his family and especially my mom watching me cross that finish line was my greatest triumph. I realized at that moment I could do absolutely anything if I put my mind to it.”
Zumba® with Judy
Three years ago Judy took a Zumba® class on a whim with a friend. Although she could not easily learn the combinations, she felt an immediate attraction for this dynamic and effective fitness system that incorporates a fusion of Latin and international music.
“I loved participating in Zumba® classes because I needed to focus on the movement and beat and could not be thinking of my ‘to do’ list. Zumba® class is like taking a mini vacation. It is a time to express myself and enjoy the movements of my body. The heavy sweating is the icing on the cake!”
In a matter of months she was again ‘hooked’ and went on to earn her certification as a Zumba® instructor shortly before her 49th birthday. “I was not intimidated by all the skinny twenty year olds taking the class because I knew I would find my own niche. I felt passion and a calling to make something of this.”
Once Judy began teaching, her infectious enthusiasm for Zumba® drew women into her classes. The upbeat music, great moves, fun connections and overall great workout, keeps them coming. She says her students seem more radiant, happy and energized after Zumba® class. The women rock out together and before and after class they share their stories.
Judy feels blessed to finally be able to do what makes her truly happy. She still handles real estate closings in between teaching her classes. “I appreciate the law work. It keeps my mind focused. But I’m so much happier now knowing that my Zumba® classes are awaiting me.”
Volunteering and other passions
Judy’s other passions include spending time with her family, the Red Sox, Bruce Springsteen concerts, travel, biking, the beach, reading, and of course dancing.
In addition Judy volunteers in various organizations such as breast cancer and Leukemia research, World ORT (an organization to educate people to become self-sufficient), President of her Wayland synagogue, and Second Step (organization helping victims of domestic violence). She has also walked in the Avon 2-Day event to raise money for breast cancer research.
Twenty-five years after Judy graduated law school and began her career, she went full circle back to her interest in health care. Caring for her own body and the physical and psychological well-being of her students through Zumba® brings Judy in touch with her deepest passion.
When asked if she had a favorite saying Judy ran the question by some girlfriends that she faithfully walks with every Sunday. “They said I always say ‘Go for it’ – no matter what they are trying to do with their lives. Apparently I always tell them to stop thinking about it and just go for it. I encourage them each week to cross something new off their ‘to do’ list and then report back to me what they have done.” Judy naturally sees beyond the usual limits for herself as well as her students and friends. She makes it her life work to support and challenge others to realize their unlimited potential.