Breast Cancer Survivor, Mom and Flourishing Entrepreneur - South OC Moms

With October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I am so thrilled to introduce you all to Breast Cancer Survivor Maria. After this Mom of 3 fought off cancer she went through a period of life reevaluation. This local Mom and Survivor figured out how to turn one of her therapies into a franchise success story. Maria is the owner of Perspire Infrared Sauna Studio in both Dana Point and Laguna Niguel. Now she is helping others find success in their wellness journeys. Find out if she regrets leaving the corporate world behind, why she chose to raise her family in Orange County and find out where in SouthOC she will be opening up her next Perspire location.



What made you decide to open a infrared therapy studio like Perspire in Dana Point?
Two years ago, I was diagnosed with stage two breast cancer. My family didn’t have a history of this disease, so it was a bit of a surprise. Over a period of nine months, I was required to undergo every treatment protocol, from double mastectomy surgery to chemotherapy to radiation therapy.

My personal trainer recommended trying infrared therapy as a way to eliminate metals from my system. The first time I tried Perspire Sauna Studios, it felt completely relaxing and therapeutic. But the real benefit was the cumulative effect of the treatment. I quickly became a premium member and saw amazing results with less and less pain.

When you’re diagnosed with hormone positive breast cancer, you’re put on hormone blocking medication for a long time. One of the common side effects of that treatment is joint pain. I used to wake up in the middle of the night in agony. It negatively impacted my mental health, despite being active and doing everything to help like acupuncture and psychological therapy. And I was deeply anxious and depressed about the whole thing. In learning about the many different treatment options, I wanted to make my own decision about my care. Five doctors were telling me different things, and it became nerve racking. Infrared sauna turned out to be what was best for my body and mind post cancer treatment recovery, and Perspire was the place to do it.


What did you do before becoming a franchisee?
Going to Perspire regularly got me wondering, what would it be like to own one of those? And I began doing a reevaluation of my life. Having spent three decades working as a tech company executive, I was used to being responsible for $500 million in product, with fifty percent travel time. I may have had top airline status, but the job was stressful and imbalanced my life. I was missing my three children and wanted to completely change my life, chart my own destiny and be in the wellness space. But I had never owned my own business before. I was always in the corporate world, so becoming a franchisee felt like jumping off a cliff. My mentor told me, if you’re going to do it, go all in. You can’t work a full-time job and also start something else.



What piece of advice would you give other Mom’s trying to leave the corporate world to start their own passion project like you did?
Don’t be afraid to take the leap. It was very scary indeed and many sleepless nights questioning my decision but I am so glad I did and have zero regrets. Seek out advice from others who have experience and follow your gut. My only regret is I wish II started earlier.


Why did you decide to raise your family in South Orange County?
I have traveled to many places and South OC is still hands down the best weather, food and a place where you can easily have a healthy lifestyle. I actually migrated from the Philippines at a young age and never looked back.



What is your go-to healthy family meal, that everyone loves?
We love chicken Caesar salad with homemade dressing and our fresh made pesto pizza is also a hit.


What is your families favorite Socal staycation?
We love going up north to Santa Barbara, Los Olivos, San Francisco, Carmel and Yosemite for spring break or long holiday weekends.


Favorite Date Night restaurant/activity in SouthOC? (pre or post COVID)
Right now, we are in love with Glasspar in the Dana Point Harbor. Great seafood and the service is top notch plus its 5 minutes away from home. No need to venture out to Laguna Beach for good food anymore.


How can SouthOCMoms find your two perspire locations?
Perspire Dana Point is located in Monarch Bay Plaza near Gelson’s in the corner of Crown Valley and PCH. Perspire Laguna Niguel is in the Rancho Niguel shopping center near Nordstrom Rack on the corner of Greenfield and Rancho Niguel. We are also excited to open San Clemente in 2022!


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