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HeraldNet Newsletters  Newsletters: Sign up  Green editions icon Green editions Healthy Challenge
Follow our eight Healthy Challenge contestants (and 3 alternates) as they compete to reach their health and fitness goals and win the $2,000 grand prize!
For information on how to get started at the YMCA visit:

For information on Valley General Hospital visit:
Click on each contestants name to view their weekly updates.
Chris Walster is a girl’s basketball coach who is frustrated that he can no longer run with his players. “I need this challenge to get back to where I can run, demonstrate and be the best coach and teacher that I can be,” he said. Chris has challenged his players to run the Seattle Half Marathon in November. He intends to be running along with them. “My players can do great things if they put their minds to it, and I’m a long way away from being able to hold up my end of the challenge by running it with them, so it’s now or never.”
Bill Keegan admits that he lay around all winter and ate ice cream. “I’d walk past the ice cream shop and it would whisper, ‘Hey, Bill, come here for a minute,’” he said. “I’d wind up going home with two quarts.” At 77 years old, Bill hadn’t really looked in the mirror for three years. But today, he’s ready to become motivated to lose weight, gain strength and stamina, and run a mile in less than 10 minutes. “I want to accept the challenge issued by The Everett Herald and Valley General Hospital,” he said. “My body accepts. My ego accepts. My competitive spirit accepts.”
Pastor Bruce Hill has had a few wakeup calls regarding his weight including high blood pressure, loss of energy and some shame. Recently, a close family friend — just a bit older than Bruce — suffered a debilitating stroke, leaving the pastor nervous about his own health. The most recent wakeup call was when his son said, “I don’t want to grow up and be fat like my dad.” Bruce admits he is somewhat confused by all the information overload from fitness gurus and would like professional help in designing a fitness and nutrition program to help him lose weight and become a healthier person.
Shortly after the first season of Biggest Loser, Jacinda (Cindee) Lyons borrowed a video camera from a friend and got to work making a video entry of herself for the show. She sent it in, but never heard anything back. “I am the funny, fat girl that the guys like to hang out with, but don’t want to date,” she said. “I want to quit making excuses for not having a healthy, fit body and living a healthier lifestyle.” As a college student and cashier at WalMart, she hopes to become an inspiration of good health to others who struggle with their weight.
A return to college left Dustan Bricker with an unpleasant surprise. As part of one of his science classes, he participated in the Presidential Fitness Test where he learned that he is clinically obese. “This really shocked me,” Dustan said. “No one ever told me I was approaching obesity when I would go to the doctor. They always weigh you, but no one has ever made mention of any potentially dangerous weight gains.” To help himself lose weight, Dustan is taking the information about the six dimensions of health and wellness he is learning at college and implementing them into his life.
“I have two daughters. Erin is the chubby one.” This simple statement, made by Erin LeBeau’s father during her childhood, defined who she was, who she became and how she lived her life. “I didn’t feel beautiful as a bride and to this day cannot stand to look at the pictures of myself on my wedding day,” Erin said. “More than anything in the world, I want to raise a healthy family. I want my daughters to grow up with positive self images. I want us to be active together and for them to be proud to be seen with me.”
Kaeli Patrick’s past holds a bondage to food, from which she has become an overweight young adult. Even as a child, she felt she was the biggest girl in the room. When Kaeli began college, things got tougher. While living on campus, she ate junk food from the cafeteria and Taco Bell at two in the morning. “At college it was easier not to think about weight because I had so much stuff going on,” she said. Today, Kaeli is preparing for a healthy, confident future that includes a service trip to Cambodia, where she will help teen girls who have been trafficked.
“As a cancer survivor I learned that you don’t sweat the small stuff,” Linda Huskey said. After recently being laid off from her job, Linda finds herself at a crossroads. “Participating in this challenge will give me the tools I need to get through this rough patch of life that has the potential for detrimental effects on my health,” she said. Linda currently suffers from high blood pressure, sleep apnea, asthma and hypothyroidism. Her goal is to make significant efforts to take control of her health. “With a good plan and goals, I will get through this layoff healthier than when I started.”
“My father died of a massive heart attack weeks after his thirty-ninth birthday,” Dawn Kaestner said. “I will reach that birthday milestone in 2011 and want to meet it head on, knowing I am doing everything in my power to buck that cycle.” For Memorial Day, Dawn’s son wrote a poem as a class assignment asking why his grandpa didn’t stay healthy for his daughter and future grandchildren. The poem broke Dawn’s heart and heightened her desire to attain a healthy weight. “I want to set a positive example for my children. They think I’m beautiful and I want to prove them right from the inside-out.”
Born with a heart defect, Kari Blouin was told by her doctors and her parents to not push herself during exercise. Their words of advice got her out of most P.E. activities but prohibited her from participating in sports she would have enjoyed. Three years ago, Kari had a pacemaker installed and was instructed by her cardiologist to exercise like a normal person would to keep her heart strong. “It has been difficult to change my mindset,” she said, “but I am ready to find a new way of living and dealing with the unpleasant. I am ready to learn how to make my body healthy and strong.”
Michael Hall’s goal is to lose 2,000 ounces, to eat 2,000 calories per day, and to have a chance to win $2,000. Michael once exercised at his company’s gym, but tough economic times forced the gym to close and Michael has gotten out of his good exercising habits. On the home front, times are also tougher financially, so dollar-wise it’s more challenging for the Hall family to eat healthfully. “I’d love to become more aware of how to manage these challenges,” he said. “My wife and kids support me and would work out and participate with me, so the changes would benefit us all.”

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