The Aunt Sister Legacy
The Aunt Sister Project was founded in 2020 by Ashley Lentz to honor her late aunt, Sister Helene Lentz, also known as “Aunt Sister.” But Aunt Sister is more than a name to Ashley, it is a concept. It is a remembrance of hope, humanitarianism, and perseverance. It is a constant reminder that the world is bigger than the self and, in the only way to feel truly fulfilled is not to take, but to give.
Karen May Lentz, the oldest sister of the father of ASP founder Ashley Lentz, joined the congregation of the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Wichita, Kansas at the age of 14 where she then became Sister Helene Lentz. She served the church for over 50 years in varying roles and capacities, including Vice-President of Mission Development at Via-Christi hospitals, President (Mother Superior) of the Sisters of Saint Joseph Congregation, and Director of the Sister’s Retreat Center in Wichita, Kansas.
Sister Helene lived a life of selfless servitude and was responsible for designing and executing various charitable ministries, including senior housing, community outreach, food service for the homeless, and housing for victims of sexual assault. The last program she founded was the Spiritual Strength Cancer Care Program, which provided spiritual guidance and support for cancer patients and their loved ones.
In August 2011, two weeks after implementing the Cancer Care Program, Sister Helene was diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer. She died four months later after a short but painful battle. A few weeks after her aunt’s passing, Ashley attended her first cancer exercise workshop, which focused on the benefits of exercise for cancer survivors, especially those in treatment. It was at that point she knew that her work would be to honor the memory of Aunt Sister.
Ashley’s career in the fitness industry spans 15 years and includes personal training, group fitness instruction, fitness management, executive leadership, and multi-site organizational direction for several non-profit organizations. Since March 2020 Ashley has led personal training and group fitness classes virtually to clients all around the U.S., at the same time planning, developing, and implementing her three-phase curriculum for cancer warriors and survivors.
While 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic has been intrinsically challenging both mentally and physically, Ashley saw the opportunity to connect with past clients, pilot the curriculum, and gain momentum for her passion project. The Aunt Sister Project was always a dream of the future, but 2020 proved to be the perfect time to make that dream a reality. Ashley learned that exercise and training doesn’t always have to occur in person, and for some, results are more easily attainable through a virtual platform. Launching the program online has allowed participants to join from anywhere, and connections among those participants have proven to be just as strong as those created in person.
While cancer fitness is the focus of this new endeavor, Ashley remains mindful of her underlying passions: leadership, education, and helping others. The Aunt Sister Project, under Ashley’s direction, vows to help all warriors by bringing people together, providing inclusive fitness programs, and educating everyone along the way. Based on this understanding and a profound commitment to the legacy of Sister Helene, The Aunt Sister Project will provide high quality and accessible programs and enhance and promote individual well-being during and after cancer treatment.