United Pole Artists is launching a new series chronicling inspirational stories from pole dancers across the world. For our first story Irmingard Mayer spoke to Jacqueline Valdez, owner of Elegant Body Pilates in Gainesville, Florida. She is a pole dancer who has faced many obstacles throughout her life. She has lived through several car accidents and experienced the loss of both her parents. She has also recently been diagnosed with Sjogren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disorder in which the glands that produce tears and saliva are destroyed. Read her interview to learn more about her struggles and how she’s working to move past them, and the advice she has for others who are struggling too. Click here to read! Do you have an inspirational story to share? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with a brief description of some of the struggles you’ve gone through and how pole dance has helped and you’ll be considered for an interview!