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Our Story

Christina grew up in Tallahassee, Florida with her sister Jarrett, mother Phyllis, and father Ben. Phyllis was diagnosed with cancer in the late 1970s, at age 43.  Early chemotherapy regimens were very severe, and patients suffered from both the cancer and the treatment. At a time when most high school girls are caught up in teen life, Christina and her sister Jarrett watched their mother live through the illness and treatment side effects. While Phyllis successfully battled cancer, she grappled with its lasting side effects throughout her life. Many of our early scenarios for the Christina Phipps Foundation Teacher Trainings were informed by the treatments Phyllis received and the difficulty of her recovery. 
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Young Phipps family (early 1970s) left to right Ben, Phyllis, Christina and Jarrett (dog Jenk)

Christina graduated from the University of Georgia and went to work for the State of Florida.  She met and fell in love with Greg Crum, a sailor stationed at Mayport Naval Base, in Jacksonville Florida.  She moved to Neptune Beach in 1997 to be close to her “Gregory”.  She loved "the Beaches" communities of Jacksonville and became active in her community. She was a food columnist for the Jacksonville Beach Examiner, appeared on cooking shows on Jacksonville's Channel 4, was a leader in the "turtle patrol," a patron of the Beaches Historical Museum, and a Navy wife. At age forty, Christina was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer.  

Christina's husband, Greg, becoming an officer in the Navy 2009. Left to right: Ben, Christina, Phyllis, Greg, Jarrett and Roark

Just prior to the time she was diagnosed she completed yoga teacher training and was teaching yoga.  After surgery, and when she started chemotherapy, she found that she was better able to deal with the treatment and aftereffects, both emotionally and physically, than many of her fellow patients. She attributed this to yoga, and she poured herself into deeper study and practice.  Christina realized that she could make the treatment easier and rehabilitation more successful for other cancer patients with personalized yoga instruction. Her cancer did return, yet she continued to teach others in the cancer community yoga and expand her offerings.

Phyllis in a wig because of her cancer (early 1980s) left to right Christina, Ben, Phyllis, and Jarrett (dogs Panzer and Nettles)

That she was an extraordinary yoga instructor is how most in her community will remember her - and probably how she would have wanted to be remembered.  But "extraordinary" is just not an adequate description. To her yoga students, she brought some rare comfort and understanding to their recovery. She was an inspiration and lifeline to them. In her classes, she shared her love of yoga and expressed her remarkable ability to make every person she was with believe that they were Christina's very favorite person.
After fighting like a warrior, Christina died on 15 June 2010. She was conducting yoga classes up to the last few days of her life, encouraging, understanding and teaching.  This is the legacy with which the Christina Phipps Foundation was established. 
Christina’s father, Ben Phipps, seeing the impact and devastation cancer brings, and seeing the benefit of yoga for Christina and her cancer community, created the Foundation to continue and honor the work Christina had started.  
 
Ben and Christina’s husband, Greg, assembled a Board of Directors who had worked with and loved Christina. Besides Ben and Greg, the original Board of the Christina Phipps Foundation consisted of Terri Morrison of Mindful Motion Yoga, Jeri Millard of In the Pink, and Sal Palmieri of Multi-Sport Fit. Together they decided the service that the Foundation could offer was training by medical professionals to certified yoga teachers about yoga and cancer. This training would be offered free to the yoga teacher and in return, they would offer free classes to those affected by cancer for 6 months (though many have continued beyond the 6 months).

The Christina Phipps Foundation (CPF) conducted its inaugural training in partnership with Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, FL in November 2010.  We have had training sessions every year since then (except in 2020).  Click here for a list of our past training classes.

Our CPF-trained teachers offer free in-person CPF classes to the cancer community throughout Florida and in several other states in the Southeast.  Our teachers also conduct classes via Zoom and on YouTube. You can find all our class offerings on this website. We hope we continue to offer trainings and classes in the spirit that Christina imbued her life with.  
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