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Lansing woman starts a nonprofit to help people pay for regular massages

Posted at 5:28 PM, Jul 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-22 18:33:16-04

LANSING, Mich. — Serendipity is the occurrence of events by chance that have a beneficial outcome.

This week’s Good Neighbors story is all about serendipity and how two people, who both suffered a tremendous amount of pain, found a common relief and now want to share it with the world.

Thirty-one-year-old Springport resident Anthony Warner says he is happy to get his monthly massage to help him manage his pain.

“I was in the U.S. Army infantry, and we got after it hard," Warner said. "It was not easy on my body!”

Warner’s massage therapist, Bilky Joda-Miller, knows all about pain. She is a breast cancer survivor.

Joda-Miller says cancer caused her a lot of discomfort.

“I was on 800 milligrams of Motrin a few times a day because I was having a lot of pain from the surgery and my arm lymphedema, those kinds of things,” Joda-Miller said.

Joda-Miller says when she discovered how much a massage helped her manage her pain, she decided to change careers. She was studying to be a doctor but decided to go to school to become a massage therapist.

“I feel like I'm getting more from my clients than they might be getting from me. You know, there's a trust factor there," she said. "I talk with Anthony like my he is my son. I check on his life because he's had some hardships.”

Warner says visiting Joda-Miller for a massage gives him not only relaxation but an outlet to talk.

“I was battling anger and depression. I was going through a lot. It’s so important to have just a moment to relax," Warner said. "I didn't realize how important mental health was until I started taking care of it. Coming here for these massages was the start of it."

Joda-Miller says she noticed many of her clients, like Warner, benefited from massages but didn’t necessarily get them as regularly as they should.

So she started the nonprofit Mid-Michigan Massage Therapy Institute.

“A lot of people can't afford massage, and our nonprofit is based on need. Not on the ability to pay,” she said.

Mid-Michigan Massage Therapy Institute helps fund regular professional massages for those who may have a medical condition or have been diagnosed with PTSD, stress or other ailments that a regular massage could help.

Warner says once he learned about Joda-Miller's non-profit, he has been getting massages regularly, and it’s changed his life.

That’s why he wants to tell everyone about the benefits of getting a regular massage.

“If anyone has anxiety they are battling, it's painful. It hurts. It makes you go crazy! There's no amount of alcohol or drug that you can take that can replace the feeling I get from massage. It makes me feel better,” Warner said.

Joda-Miller says it’s serendipitous that she fell into massage therapy. If she didn’t have her cancer, it probably never would have happened. She says she can help others suffering from all sorts of pain, and it’s all part of her life story.

“It makes me feel good. It really does. It was a dream once. I said I would be a massage therapist and I would help people. That’s what I’m doing,” Joda-Miller said.

If you would like to find out more about the Mid-Michigan Massage Therapy Institute, visit their website.

Bilky Joda-Miller, for starting a nonprofit that passes forward the benefits of massage to others, you are this week’s Good Neighbor.

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Bob Hoffman

Bob Hoffman

9:44 PM, Nov 26, 2018

Good Neighbors Host

Bob Hoffman