MyGULFCare had their annual Celebration of Health at the Public Library on July 12. Clients, staff and community partners had an opportunity to come together and share their stories of the challenges they have faced trying to establish healthier lifestyles.

One client shared that she has tried "every diet known to man" with the usual yo-yo success. Not until she found acceptance and support to simply be healthier, did she find a way to improve her health that has included slow and steady weight loss. Another client proudly revealed that one year ago he was 377 lbs. suffering from severed lung issues, high blood pressure and long-term effects of smoking. Today he is 245 lbs., a non-smoker, and able to walk a mile daily for exercise. He still has health issues and says he feels more confident in his ability to manage his concerns.

One of the highlights of the event was presentation of the Lilly Journey Awards to clients who have successfully managed Type I Diabetes. Jacquelyn Stevens received a 50-year award and said she has never considered herself "a diabetic," but always "a person with diabetes." She appreciates the person centered approach she has received from Care Management.

Anita Kemp, also a 50-year award winner, said she shares the honor with her dad. He too had Type I diabetes and she lost him when she was 11. She has dealt with Diabetes since she was a toddler and says he was her hero, helping her to realize diabetes is just part of who she is. Melissa Clements, also an award winner, was unable to be there. Another client who survived the tragedy at the World Trade Centers on September 11, 2001 shared how suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) has affected her management of other chronic health conditions.

Other client stories flowed through out the event and made it a true celebration of health. An overview of the program and the services provided, including a few examples of the over-all success of the clients was given by Debbie Maulding, RN Care Manager. MyGULFCare started providing services to the community in 2012 and continues to help make Gulf County healthier. For more information about MyGULFCare and Care Management please call 229-5606.