By Stephanie Pereira da Silva, founder of pdsF.U.S.I.O.N
My name is Stephanie Pereira da Silva and I started pdsF.U.S.I.O.N. in 2015.
After the birth of my second child, I was struggling with post-partum depression and in one of the lowest moments of my life. As a health and fitness professional for Kimberly-Clark Corporation, I was supposed to be the smiling, happy person leading our wellness program but I struggled to do that effectively.
Around that same time, I was gifted three flower bouquets from unrelated friends. A bouquet from a friend who I met at our daughter’s daycare, one from a former co-worker and one from a college friend. I had no idea what these flowers were, but they all came from the same place, Fellow Flowers.
Fellow Flowers is a movement that piqued my interest right from the start because they uplift women through running. I was captivated by the Fellow Flowers movement and joined their virtual crew and went to one of their retreats with my friends who sent me the flowers. After the retreat, I looked at my friend and said, “We need to bring this movement to Oshkosh!”
She agreed and so, like a bunch of crazy moms, we invited all our mom friends on Facebook to go for a run. That day was epic! We had eight women come run with us, many who had never run a mile in their life. We laughed and smiled on those miles and felt like this movement connected us.
After that first run, we created the group pdsF.U.S.I.O.N., a group of women brought together with intention and purpose to own our journey and the journey of the women united around us. At pdsF.U.S.I.O.N. we give ourselves permission to promote our own self-care, offer no excuses and exude the strength we need to “bring it” every day. We believe in our dreams and offer encouragement and support for the dreams and goals of every women in our crew, knowing we are resilient and a force to be reckoned with. We are “fiercely united in strength, intention, opportunity and new beginnings.” In almost four years, pdsF.U.S.I.O.N. has grown to more than 50 women and has created a robust women’s running experience in our area.
There is space in our community for all the different groups that promote health and running, but we think ours is special. PdsF.U.S.I.O.N. is built on a sisterhood of accountability and has a structured match up program when new women join. We have built a “core crew” into our model, and have designated leaders for accountability, special events, sunshine and service, communication, kid’s programs, new members and more. We are not a drop in running group, but a dedicated group of women who want to be part of each other’s journey. We created the Oshkosh Summer Fun Runs and the Run for the Dogs program to support causes important to our members.
Right now, we have more than half of our crew training for the Community First Fox Cities Marathon presented by Miron Construction weekend of events. Our crew will be starting with our kids on Friday night at the Guardian Kids Run, participating in the Ascension 5K on Saturday and, carrying into Sunday, four from our crew will complete their very FIRST marathon. We cannot think of a better community race to support!