WDAY.com |

North Dakota's #1 news website 10,650,498 page views — March 2014

Published May 06, 2013, 11:40 PM

Mother and daughter enroll in massage therapy program together

MOORHEAD - Lori Ganey and her oldest daughter, Christina Harness, moved to North Dakota at different times and for different reasons, but they’ve found their next step forward in the same place, at the same time. The mother-daughter duo both started in the massage therapy program at Globe University in Moorhead this January.

By: Sherri Richards, INFORUM

MOORHEAD - Lori Ganey and her oldest daughter, Christina Harness, moved to North Dakota at different times and for different reasons, but they’ve found their next step forward in the same place, at the same time.

The mother-daughter duo both started in the massage therapy program at Globe University in Moorhead this January.

They commute to classes three days a week from their home in Hankinson, N.D.

Ganey, 42, says she moved there two years ago with her four younger children, now ages 4 to 16, at the urging of her adopted father, who was working in the oil patch.

She’d been living in the Chicago area. He’d been hounding her to finish school, something that was sidetracked when she became pregnant as a teenager.

Her plans to get a business degree were put on hold again after he was injured and she stopped online classes to care for him.

But in truth, she wasn’t passionate about earning that business degree.

She started keeping books for her father’s small business at age 14, and she and her ex-husband ran a towing and truck-repair company together, she says. It was work she knew how to do, but not work she enjoyed, she says.

“I’m a firm believer things work out the way they’re supposed to,” Ganey says.

Harness had stayed in Illinois and was studying to become an emergency medical technician paramedic. She knew wanted to help people, but EMT work was just too stressful. She was working 40-plus hours a week, more concerned with earning money than school, Harness says.

When her car blew its engine, it was a last straw. Discouraged, Harness packed up her belongings and moved out of her father’s house. A planned visit to her mother’s home over Thanksgiving turned into a permanent move.

Ganey has a rule: Anyone living in her house must either be working or going to school.

Mother and daughter started talking, and both realized massage therapy held their interest.

Ganey’s life has often centered on caring for others. “I’m a mother to the bones,” she says.

Plus, massage “put me back together” after driving truck took its toll on her body, Ganey says.

Harness says massage has helped her with various sports injuries. It was a career path her grandma had suggested, but one Harness dismissed due to a distaste of touching feet.

Still, they decided to do it together. Within weeks, they started classes in Moorhead.

Mom has been impressed with her daughter’s dedication to the program and her success. It’s the first time Harness has made the honor roll since high school, Ganey says.

“She’s a good kid, but don’t tell her I said it,” Ganey mock whispers in front of her daughter.

Harness says this is the first semester she’s enjoyed school. And she says her mom has become a “mascot” for the school. Ganey was recently elected president of the school’s massage club.

Ganey notes she wouldn’t have gone to a hands-on school without having Harness to share the commute.

“We work really well together as far as the school stuff,” Ganey says.

Megan Mozinski, chair of the massage therapy program at Globe University in Moorhead, says this is the first time the school has seen a mother-daughter pair enroll in the program together. She says it was exciting because of their relationship and the built-in support system.

“Sometimes it helps to have that motivation to help you get through school, especially when things get difficult,” Mozinski says.

“They’re doing fantastic, both of them are super motivated in the program, and you can see they’re both passionate about massage. It’s a lot of fun to have them in classes,” she adds.

It takes about two years to finish the associate’s program, Mozinski says.

The family may be moving, as Ganey recently became engaged, but Ganey says they’re trying to find a way to avoid transferring because they enjoy the Moorhead campus so much.

Once done with school, Ganey plans to take her experience in business to open her own massage parlor. Harness would like to go into sports massage.

Despite their differing end goals, they’re moving toward them together.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Sherri Richards at (701) 241-5556

Tags: