South shore yoga instructor holds virtual classes for brain cancer patients and their families

DUXBURY, Mass. — Tori Best said yoga was her lifeline which got her through the paralyzing grief after her mother died from brain cancer.

“Yoga was honestly, the thing that saved me,” she said.

Best’s mom, Peggy Baczek, was diagnosed with Glioblastoma multiforme in 2012, not long after retiring after 34 years as a physical education teacher at Bristol Plymouth Regional Tech High School in Taunton. She passed away two years later at the age of 61.

“My mom is my forever role model she was relentlessly kind incredibly generous with her time and spirit,” she said.

Her mom’s spirit and legacy live on. To honor her, Best partnered with the National Brain Tumor Society to launch a program called Meditation Mondays.

They are free, virtual classes for brain tumor patients, their care givers and families. They focus on relaxation to manage stress and anxiety to improve quality of life.

“Being human is hard and then having a brain tumor diagnosis on top of that and a pandemic, too, to endure. I can’t imagine that’s anything less than excruciating, so offering a place for people to land and be a community together, I’d like to think it’s doing some good,” she said.

Since the 30-minute sessions are virtual brain cancer patients and their families from across the country participate, like Meryl Shader of Sacramento, California. Her 24-year-old son, Sawyer, is a brain cancer survivor. Sawyer was diagnosed with medulloblastoma when he was four years old.

“There’s something about doing it in real time with other people that just makes the experience all the I don’t know there’s a community an awareness that we all have gone through or are going through, the same trauma,” Shader said.

From her world being turned up-side down, Tori Best pays it forward in memory of her mom, which has helped her world turn right-side-up again. Meditation Mondays are held the second Monday of each month.

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