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Advertiser The Clanton

CHILTON COUNTY

Progress 2012


Compassionate Care In Your Community www.heartsouthpc.com

Our goal is improving your heart’s health. We do this with advanced diagnostic methods and compassionate care. Put your heart in our hands and together we will achieve our goal.

SHELBY OFFICE • 205-633-5775 SELMA OFFICE • 866-663-5775 CLANTON OFFICE • 866-663-5775 SYLACAUGA OFFICE • 256-249-1855

C. Dale Elliott, M.D., FACC John D. McBrayer, M.D., FACC Mark L. Mullens, M.D., FACC Gregory D. Chapman, M.D., FACC Munish K. Goyal, M.D., FACC Cliff R. Vance, M.D. David S. Fieno, M.D. Neeraj Mehta, M.D., FACC J. Hudson Segrest, M.D. William B. Hillegass, M.D., M.P.H.


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St. Vincent’s Orthopedics, PC

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Full-Service Orthopedics in One Location.

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David P. Adkison, M.D.

Thomas L. P. Johnson, M.D.

Knee & Shoulder

General Orthopedics; Knee, Hip & Shoulder

Eli J. Hurowitz, M.D.

David M. Ostrowski, M.D.

Foot & Ankle

Hand, Wrist & Upper Extremity

Edward U. Kissel, M.D. General Orthopedics; Knee, Hip & Shoulder

J. Todd Smith, M.D.

General Orthopedics; Orthopedic Spine


TABLE OF CONTENTS HAVING A VISION

6

Barry Baker overcomes eye condition

LABOR OF LOVE

12

Mother continues fight for cure

HELP ON THE WAY

16

Jeff State launches nursing program

THIS IS BLISS

20

Massage therapy has rejuvenating effect

SENIORS LIVING WELL

26

Senior Connection partners with M4A

CALENDAR Upcoming events you will want to attend

27

25

ON THE RANGE Golf has benefits for everyone


Story by Stephen Dawkins Portraits by Jon Goering

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Today Barry Baker operates Cornerstone Fitness and Wellness with Amanda Giles. When he was in the third grade (opposite page) he started having trouble in school. Doctors discovered he had macular degeneration, an eye condition that leads to vision loss.


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Having a vision Barry Baker overcomes eye condition No one would have blamed Barry Baker if he decided to feel bad for himself. Baker was diagnosed with macular degeneration at age 10 and is legally blind. He can’t drive a car, and he relies on a cell phone that talks to him and a magnifier so that he can read. Baker’s vision is an obstacle he’s had to overcome his whole life. But a different kind of vision has defined him: his vision for his business, Cornerstone Fitness and Wellness, which serves as a testament to what can be done when someone focuses on what they can do

instead of what they cannot do. Ann Baker remembers how they found out her son had a problem. Barry was smart and loved school, so when he came home crying about a bad grade in Francis Dennis’ third grade history class, Ann was surprised but reacted as any mother with high expectations would. “You obviously didn’t read what you were supposed to,” she recalls telling him, but Barry insisted he had tried. So Ann opened up a book and had Barry read it to her. “He started reading, and it was just


8 Wellness

Baker started playing sports at a young age. Far left, he is shown in October 1981 playing for the Clanton Rams as a nine-year-old, the same year as his diagnosis of macular degeneration. He continued to play sports, including football and weightlifting. A little bigger Barry is shown at right as a senior offensive lineman at Chilton County High School.

like…like he was just calling out words,” she said. “It didn’t make sense to him.” Macular degeneration is a condition, typically found in older adults, that results in loss of vision in the center of the visual field because of damage to the retina. Those with the condition can especially have trouble recognizing faces. Usually, enough peripheral vision remains that a person can function normally, though tasks such as reading may require special devices. Ann said the family was “devastated,” but was also determined to keep a positive attitude. Barry’s older sister, Adriane, would sit and read over schoolwork with him every afternoon. “My parents were so great,” Barry Baker said. “They did everything they could to help me. I don’t know if I’d have reacted the same way.” Barry had other help, too. He chose to attend college at Troy University partly because several high school friends— including his cousin Brad Moatts, Jason Bice and Britt Culpepper—were also going. Barry knew he’d need a way to get around. “Anytime he needed to get somewhere, we made sure he got there,” Bice said. “But he’s that guy that

makes you forget that there’s anything he can’t do. He’s so independent. He’s so motivated, and he doesn’t feel sorry for himself.” That lack of self-pity is one of the most significant reasons behind Barry Baker’s success despite his poor vision. Ann Baker remembers a conversation with Dr. J. Randall Pitts soon after Barry’s diagnosis. “Son, you can do anything you want to do, but you will never fly a plane or drive a car,” Pitts said. “The rest will be up to you.” Barry responded, “I’ve always wanted my own personal chauffeur.” Pitts chuckled and said, “He’s won the battle.” Attitude was a significant part of Baker’s success, yes, but so was knowledge, experience, a calculated risk—and, again, help from the right people. After graduating from Troy in 1995, Baker worked for a rehabilitation clinic in Clanton. Word spread that the clinic was going to close, so Baker made a decision that would define his professional life. Baker knew rehabilitation, but he also knew training. “Pre-habilitation,” he calls it.

“I thought we needed a place where we could do all that together,” he said. “We have some great football coaches around, but they’re hired to coach football, not rehab a knee.” Baker went into business with Amanda Giles, who he worked with at the rehabilitation center. Giles specializes in the rehabilitation aspect of Cornerstone, while Baker specializes in the training. “He just called me one day and said, “I’m thinking about going out on my own, and I would like you to be my partner,” Giles said. Cornerstone has grown into one of the area’s most successful operations, employing about 30 people including full-time and part-time workers. About 1,000 new therapy patients visit Cornerstone in a typical year, and the business averages about 8,400 visits total for therapy. About 200 people a day come in to use the workout equipment. Cornerstone has an indoor basketball goal and indoor pool, along with complete weightlifting, aerobic and therapy facilities. “I had an idea, but I never thought it would be as big as it is,” Baker said. “We’re larger and we’re doing so


Wellness 9

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Wellness 11 many more different things than I ever imagined.” Giles said Baker’s relationships with orthopedic doctors was key, as they would refer people to the fledgling operation. Baker also credits the employees Cornerstone has had over the years. Vicky Martin is one of those crucial employees. She has worked as an insurance clerk since the business opened. “They really care about people here,” said Martin, who also worked with Baker and Giles at the previous rehab clinic. “I remember the day Barry came in and told us what his vision was. He was so excited, and I was excited for him.” Jason Bice’s son, Corbin, accounts for one of those visitors each day as he tries to further his youth sports career. “I see Barry every day,” said Jason Bice, who was a grooms-

man in Baker’s wedding. “I trust him in everything he does. He’s just that kind of guy.” Baker, 39, and his wife, Tara, have a 6-year-old daughter, Anna Kathryn, and 9-monthold-son, Bryce. Baker relies on a special machine to help him read important business documents, he’s still “bumming rides,” as he calls it, and Giles will often read the menu to him when they visit a restaurant for business lunches, but he said he doesn’t spend much time thinking about his limitations on a daily basis. What would he change? “I would love,” he starts, pausing to think about how he wants to phrase the words and gesturing with his hands for emphasis on this important point. “I’m going to get me a TV big enough one day because I would love to lay on the couch and watch TV.”

In addition to playing football, Baker was also on CCHS’s weightlifting team.


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Labor of love Mother continues fight for cure Chris Gaines was a normal little boy when he was born. His mother, Becky, described him as “perfectly healthy,” “smart” and “independent.” Up until the age of 3, he was fine — until one morning, she heard him making noises with his mouth and noticed his body was jerking around. That day began what Becky (now Lucas) calls “the worst nightmare of your life.” “He was fine for all those years until at 3 and a half he started having those seizures,” she said. At first, Lucas suspected that Chris had a tumor. But all of the tests were inconclusive. At age 13, his speech was slurred, but he could still communicate quite a bit until his mid-teen years. And the seizures got worse. First, it was every six months, then every three months, and then three times a week. Sometimes, he would have four to five seizures a day. “You never knew what to expect,” Lucas said. After a decade of unanswered questions, when Chris was 13, Lucas was given the news no mother ever wants to hear — she was going to lose her son. At Children’s Hospital in Birmingham, Chris was diagnosed with Batten Disease — a neurological brain disorder for which there is no known cure. According to the Batten Disease Support and Research Association (BDSRA), Batten is the most common form of disorders called Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinoses (NCLs). Symptoms include mental impairment, worsening seizures, and progressive loss of sight and motor skills. Those who are diagnosed rarely live past their

Above, Chris Gaines is shown with his mother, Becky Lucas, in the hospital shortly before he passed away. Opposite page, Lucas clings to a picture of her son.

early teen years; thus, diagnosis has been called an “early death sentence.” Lucas had never heard of Batten. “I just knew in my mind that he had a tumor,” she said, recounting that day at the hospital with tears. “I told [the doctor], ‘I can’t believe that you’re telling me that a 13-year-old is losing his mind.’” Lucas said doctors told her she would not be physically, spiritually or mentally able to raise Chris alone. But that day, she resolved to take care of him until the day she died — or until he lost the battle with Batten. As Chris gradually lost his independence, the struggle became exhausting in every sense of the word. “I always said, this old body could get some rest, but your heart can never get any rest when you’re watching them slowly die and there is nothing you can

do,” Lucas said. But a mother’s love could never be exhausted. Lucas worked many jobs to support Chris — cleaning houses, painting, and more. But there were people who made it easier. These Lucas refers to as “angels.” “The best help I ever had was the workers from the (Chilton County) Health Department,” she said, naming Lee Robinson, Geraldine Robinson and Flora Chandler, among others. “I never had to worry when I was gone.” Chris touched the lives of his caretakers, from his school days up until he was an adult. He always amazed them. While he was attending the Chilton County Learning and Development Center, Chris would always smile and compliment his bus driver by saying things like, “You’re so pretty today.” “She always said, ‘If I ever had a kid,


14 Wellness I would want him to be just like Chris,’” Lucas said of the driver. One of Lucas’ favorite memories of her son is when he graduated from the Learning and Development Center and wore his cap and gown. Because Chris never got to attend a high school prom, a few years ago, she rented him a tuxedo and took him to the “Second Chance Prom,” held by the Cahaba Valley Elks Lodge. Lucas has pictures from the event to remember him by. “He was so handsome in that tux,” she recalled. Chris lived 36 years. At the time of his death in January 2010, he had been hospitalized for several days and went downhill rapidly. For someone with Batten Disease, Chris defied the odds. Tragically, the disease robbed him of most of life’s experienc-

es. Unfortunately, it’s too late for any research to benefit him. But for Lucas, he is the reason she works to raise money for Batten research. The first fundraiser Lucas organized was a dart tournament held at the Roebuck Elks Lodge about 12 years ago. Later came the Fun Day Horse Show at the Central Alabama Horse Club Arena. Now, in addition to regular dart tournaments, an annual golf tournament is held each September at Lakeview Retreat in Bibb County. Relatives Tony and Connie Cochran organize the tourney, and Kermit Stephens allows the use of the facility. “Words can’t even tell you what Miss Becky [does],” Tony Cochran said. “She is so well prepared. She puts every ounce of her being into that tournament…she took care of Chris, too.”

The above photograph shows Chris as a 2-year-old child.

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Wellness 15 Chris would attend the tournament every year, clapping his hands and smiling as he watched. He would have his picture taken with the winners. “He was a good boy,” Cochran said. “He was just a well-loved, soft-spoken child.” Needless to say, last year’s tournament was an emotional one because of Chris’ absence. But the effort goes on. Some participants drive for many hours to show their support in the fight against Batten. This year, in its 10th year, the golf tournament raised $4,309 toward BDSRA. “If it would keep one parent from having to cry like I’ve cried, it would be worth all the work I’ve done,” Lucas said. While there is still no cure, strides have been made. Some patients are diagnosed during their first or second trip to the doctor, Lucas said. There is also support through

the BDSRA. Families of patients with Batten Disease attend the annual National Conference, held in a different city each year. There they learn from others who have had similar experiences, as well as from medical experts. “It’s one of the most wonderful things in the world,” Lucas said. “I was like a drug addict, getting my fix.” A stained glass memorial is set up at each conference that bears the names of those whose lives were claimed by Batten, including Chris. While there is some closure for Lucas through knowing Chris isn’t hurting anymore, the scars of Batten remain. “My mother always told me it was wrong to hate, but I hate Batten Disease with a passion,” she said. For more information about Batten Disease, visit bdsra.org.


Story by Emily Beckett Photos by Justin Averette

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Help on the way Top: Kenslie Massey (left) auscultates Brooke Pearce’s apical pulse as Bridget Nichols (right) assesses her radial pulse. Bottom: Charles Nkem (left) takes Hunter Cowart’s blood pressure (right).

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Jeff State launches nursing program Classes are in session for the new nursing program at the Chilton-Clanton campus of Jefferson State Community College, and instructors are already seeing progress. About 30 nursing students started their first of five semesters in January with classes in health assessment, pharmacology and fundamentals of nursing. “It is a very defined curriculum,” said Dr. Cindy Danley, DNP, MSN and RN. Danley co-teaches the Jeff State nursing program with Angela Batchelor, MS, CNS and RN. “There’s a wide range of things they’ll do this semester,” Danley said. “They get a little bit of everything.” The Jeff State nursing program is an associate’s program with standard curriculum that is the same for students at all Jeff State campuses and includes classroom lectures, skills laboratories, clinicals and hospital visits. At the end of the program, Jeff State students will take the same state board examinations as other students in Alabama. Danley said students in Clanton are currently learning the foundations of nursing, which include taking a person’s blood pressure and pulse, checking vital signs, calculating medications, practicing sterile techniques, administering injections and using a stethoscope. “We work with them to make sure they are able to do that,” Danley said. “We have a teaching stethoscope … so we can hear exactly what they’re hearing. Then,

Above: Theresa Smitherman (right) examines Taylor Musgrave’s throat (left) after checking her temperature in the nursing lab at Jefferson State Community College in Clanton.

we validate that they are doing it successfully.” Batchelor said students will practice skills on each other numerous times before working with an actual patient. “They will learn how to communicate with the patients, how to develop a rapport with that patient,” Batchelor said. Students will also have opportunities to visit and observe at local physicians’ offices. “Other community resources have been extremely cooperative,” Batchelor said. “The community has definitely embraced us.” At the end of each semester, students will complete clinicals and work six days in the hospital. Clanton’s program will incorporate a simulation lab available for nursing students.

Home Health Care It’s at the heart of what we do

Amedisys Home Health Care offers patients the choices necessary to maintain and even improve their quality of life—at home, where they feel most comfortable and recover more quickly. Our range of patient services includes: Skilled Nursing; Behavioral Health Nursing; Home Health Aides; Physical, Occupational and Speech Therapy; and Chronic Care Management Programs.

Clanton, AL For more information, contact

Ph: (205) 755-5509 Fax: (205) 755-9980 www.amedisys.com


18 Wellness Teresa Chappell, a nursing student at Jeff State, demonstrates the proper hand-washing nurses must do before performing any procedure on patients. Washing their hands properly helps nurses maintain a sterile environment around their patients in doctors’ offices and hospitals.

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Wellness 19 Before performing procedures on living patients, students can work on a model, or “Medi Man,” which is controlled by a computer program. Instructors can manipulate the model to exhibit different symptoms or conditions, such as an irregular heart rate, and students are expected to identify problems and respond in the safest, most efficient way. “It’s a very fluid environment and wonderful learning tool,” Batchelor said. “We take it to a level where they have to work as a team, and that’s vital in nursing. It gives them an opportunity to speak up, flex their wings a little bit and use critical thinking skills in a very safe environment.” Batchelor said the program

Students in the first nursing program offered at the Chilton-Clanton campus of Jefferson State Community College started their first of five semesters in January. They are currently learning the fundamentals of nursing.

gives local students another education and career opportunity if commuting to a different campus is not an option. “The fact that we are in town is invaluable, espe-

cially with this economy,” Batchelor said. “We have had a tremendous response to the program. The students are very excited because they’re so new into this. They’re becoming a fam-

ily.” Jeff State is offering advising sessions for future nursing students in Clanton on Wednesday, Feb. 29 at 9 a.m. at Jefferson State’s Chilton-Clanton location.


Story by Emily Beckett Photos by Justin Averette Right: Sharon and Bill Russell of Clanton opened This Is Bliss, a massage center and spa, in August 2011.

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This is Bliss

Massage therapy has rejuvenating effect Sharon and Bill Russell, owners of This Is Bliss LLC in Clanton, see people walk into their massage center and spa for a variety of reasons. Some people are looking for help with chronic arthritis pain, while others are escaping from job-related stress. Regardless of why clients walk in, This Is Bliss strives to ensure they walk out feeling the rejuvenating effects of massage therapy. “We have clients come in just for relaxation, and then we have clients

come in because they have pain areas that they need help with,” Sharon said. “We have some that are chronic stress sufferers. Their job is stressful, and they need that stress to be relieved.” Sharon and employee Ginger Martin are the licensed massage therapists at This Is Bliss, and their mission is to improve their clients’ overall health, one massage or spa treatment at a time. “We help people cope with medical issues as well as achieve relaxation and reduce stress,” Sharon said. “We do

have some say ‘this is bliss’ when they walk out. We love hearing that.” Along with relaxation and stress reduction, massage therapy can relieve muscle tension, improve sleep, lower blood pressure, nurture creativity and increase stamina, Sharon said. Sharon and Ginger do chair massages for clients who do not have time for a longer table massage, as well as separate foot and hand treatments, which include massages from the knee and elbow down, respectively.


22 Wellness “We can also do spot treatments on the knees, the elbows and the lower back,” Sharon said. “It’s really good for arthritis sufferers. It helps improve circulation and joint mobility.” According to Sharon, any type of massage – regardless of whether it is full-body or one body part – is beneficial for people of all ages. “A foot massage is really good for total body relaxation … because there are points in the feet that connect to different organs in the body,” Sharon said. “If you can stimulate those points, then you’re doing the full body even though you’re just doing the feet.” The effects of massage can even extend to the lungs, liver and heart, she said, as well as the shoulders and spine. “Everything in the body is connected through connective tissue,” Sharon said. “When you work the feet, you’re working that connective tissue, and it can have a total body effect.” Sharon said some of her clients come with referrals from their doctors to

have massages. “Massage therapy is evolving as therapeutic modality, particularly in alternative medicine, in areas of chronic pain and lymphedema where modern

medicine has optimized and exhausted all the options,” said Dr. Hirenkumar Jani, an internist at Chilton Medical Center. “Although, long-term studies need

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Wellness 23 to be conducted to establish the therapeutic long-term benefits of massage therapy,” Jani said. Part of what inspired Sharon to pursue a degree in massage was her desire to help people in a non-invasive way. The other part was she hoped to help her husband, Bill, cope with his injuries from high school football and the military. “I’ve always wanted to help people in a healing capacity, but I have a needle phobia, so being a nurse was totally out of the question,” she said. “While my husband was deployed, I was surfing the Internet and I saw an article on massage therapy. If nothing else, I would at least learn how to better help him.” Sharon and Ginger graduated from Virginia College’s massage program last year, and the Russells opened This Is Bliss in August. Bill is the office manager and handles all appointments, paperwork and customer service.

But not all of This Is Bliss’ services are confined to a building. Sharon said she and her staff take their massage chairs and tables to events in the community, such as long-distance walks and runs, to give free massages. “With spring approaching, all the weekend athletes will be going out in full force,” Sharon said. “If you’re involved in any kind of athletic endeavor, getting regular massages helps increase your performance, increases your stamina and helps get (out) those knots that form in the muscles from repetitive use.” This Is Bliss staff will be at Get Moving Jemison on March 17 to help stretch out walkers and runners after the 5k and to offer massages to those waiting. “There are so many benefits of massage,” Sharon said. “It’s recommended that everyone get a massage once a month to keep their body at the optimum level.” For more information or to make

Above: A water fixture in the lobby (left) helps create a relaxing vibe for clients waiting to get a massage at This Is Bliss.

an appointment at This Is Bliss, visit www.thisisblissllc.com.


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Home on the range Blackmon started playing golf in 1949 Helen Blackmon has hit a lot of golf balls in her time. She’s walked a lot of fairways, driven a lot of golf carts and made a lot of putts. But most importantly to her, she’s had a lot of good times. Blackmon, 88, has been playing golf since 1949. She likes getting out on the course and getting some exercise, but her main reason for playing is spending time with friends. “I’ve always enjoyed it; the main thing is the fellowship,” she said. Blackmon and her husband began playing at the Clanton Country Club after moving to Chilton County from Birmingham. They arrived enjoying playing tennis but soon found a new passion. They joined the country club and enjoyed tournaments held there on Saturdays. “Ladies from other areas loved to come here because we prepared the lunch too,” Blackmon said. There were also steak cookouts in the evenings, and players would come from all over the region— Wetumpka, Vestavia Hills, Hoover and Birmingham. Blackmon was always athletic. She played softball, basketball and volleyball at Phillips High School in Birmingham, one of the state’s top athletic powers at the time. Blackmon’s best score at the par72 country club course is a 79. At one time, she was so efficient on the greens that she was dubbed “Helen the Putter.” Time has taken somewhat of an effect on her game. “My game is terrible now, and I admit it,” she laughs. “I’m disgusted when I can’t hit them as long as I could. I can still hit them straight.”

Helen Blackmon’s best score at the Clanton Country Club’s par-72 course is a 79.

Even if Blackmon doesn’t score as well as she once did, she enjoys time spent with a group of ladies that share an interest in the game. She fondly remembers Mary Lou Seger, a member of the group who passed away recently. After Seger or Blackmon hit a bad shot, Seger would say, “At least we’re not in the nursing home.”

The ladies these days play mostly at Alpine Bay Golf Course north of Sylacauga. Blackmon said the game is good for her health—but not as much so as it used to be, before driving carts became the norm. She remembers giving up walking the course reluctantly. “We had to use carts to keep from getting run over,” she said.


26 Wellness

Seniors ‘living well’ Members of Chilton County’s Senior Connection are still going strong in the Living Well Alabama Community Workshop at the Clanton Recreation Center. The workshop focuses on chronic disease self-management and consists of two-hour sessions every Thursday at 10 a.m. for six weeks beginning Feb. 9 through March 15. Senior RX Coordinator Christina Doege of the Middle Alabama Area Agency on Aging (M4A), said the workshop creates camaraderie among participants while helping them form relationships with others going through the same things. “(It is) asking them to make some minor life changes to improve their lives,” Doege said. “It’s a continuing

workshop, (but) not the same class every week.” The workshops were developed at Stanford University and have taken place at hundreds of locations throughout the U.S., according to a news release from Senior Connection. Living Well Alabama provides participants who are dealing with arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure, anxiety, heart disease and other conditions with real-world ideas and skills to: •Find better ways of dealing with pain and fatigue. •Discover easy exercises to help improve or maintain strength and energy. •Manage their medications. •Improve nutrition. •Talk effectively with family, friends

and health professionals. •Understand new treatment choices. •Feel better about life. Doege said this is the final workshop funded by a grant M4A received from the Alabama Department of Senior Services to promote Living Well Alabama in M4A’s five-county region, which includes Chilton, Blount, Shelby, St. Clair and Walker. “Our agency does offer a lot of different services to seniors,” Doege said, Services provide assistance and support for caregivers as well, such as advocates for nursing home residents. For more information on Senior Connection, call coordinator Vanessa McKinney at (205) 755-9032. -Story by Emily Beckett

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HEALTH CALENDAR 2/28 | COLON CANCER AWARNESS

The Chilton County Chamber of Commerce will sponsor a Business After Hours on Feb. 28 from 4:30-6 p.m. at Chilton Medical Center to kick off Colon Cancer Awareness Month. Everyone is invited. 2/29 | JEFF STATE NURSING

Jefferson State Community College will hold an advising session for future nursing students on Feb. 29 at 9 a.m. at the Chilton-Clanton location. 3/2-3 | LIME SPRINGS RELAY FOR LIFE YARD SALE

Lime Springs United Methodist Church is having a yard sale March 2-3 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. to benefit Relay For Life. The yard sale will be at 410 Ann Ave. in the Brookwood Subdivision off Yellow Leaf Road. There will be furniture, household goods, books, clothing, etc.

3/15 | CMC DIABETIC EDUCATION

The next diabetic education class will be March 15 at Chilton Medical Center at 10 a.m. 3/17 | ST. PATRICK’S DAY PAGEANT TO BENEFIT JUVENILE DIABETES

Irish Dream Productions and the Clanton Police Department Auxiliary/Explorer Unit presents the annual St. Patrick’s Day Fairy Tale Charity Beauty Pageant on March 17 at the Clanton Conference and Performing Arts Center on the campus of Jeff State. Entry cost is $75. Proceeds benefit juvenile diabetes. For more information, call 258-5201 or email irishdreamproductions@yahoo. com. 3/17 | GET MOVING JEMISON

Get Moving Jemison will begin March 17 at 9 a.m. with a 5k walk/run followed by a health and fitness expo from

10 a.m. until 4 p.m. 3/17 | TIME FOR A CURE BAZAAR

Time for a Cure Arts and Crafts Bazaar will be March 17 from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Oak Grove Baptist Church, 211 Alabama Highway 155 in Jemison. All proceeds benefit Relay For Life. 3/17 | MINERAL SPRINGS YARD SALE FOR RELAY FOR LIFE

Mineral Springs Baptist Church will hold a yard sale March 17 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the fellowship hall next to the church. All proceeds will benefit Relay For Life. Mineral Springs is located at 8316 County Road 51. 4/14 | MISS YMCA PAGEANT

Chilton County’s annual Miss YMCA Pageant will be held Saturday, April 14 instead of Saturday, March 3. All proceeds benefit YMCA Strong Kids, an an-


28 Wellness nual fundraising campaign focused on providing scholarships to children whose families cannot pay for them to participate in YMCA programs. The entry fee for the pageant and photogenic is $45. The pageant-only fee is $35, and the photogenic-only fee is $15. Registration is open until March 30. A parents’ meeting will be April 9. ONGOING | SENIOR CONNECTION EXERCISE

Senior Connection holds weekly exercise classes Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 9 a.m. at the Clanton Recreation Center. For more information, call 755-9032. SECOND THURSDAY | COMMUNITY GRIEF SUPPORT GROUP

A community grief support group meets on the second Thursday of each month at Hatley Healthcare, 300 Medical Center Drive in Clanton, from 6:307:30 p.m. This group is open to anyone who has experienced the loss of a loved

one. This is a community service of ComfortCare Hospice. ONGOING | AGING AND DISABILITY RESOURCE CENTER

The Aging and Disability Resource Center assists those 55 and older with disabilities. The center is able to locate the following resources: dental and hearing, utility assistance, Medicare/medication assistance, nutrition/food assistance, disability advocacy, and housing and job assistance. Call 1-866-570-2998 to schedule an appointment. A representative is available every second and fourth Tuesday by appointment only. The ADRC is located at Chilton Medical Center. MONDAYS | CLANTON ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS

Clanton Alcoholics Anonymous meet each Monday at 7 p.m. at 208 10th Ave. N. for an open meeting. The organization also meets Thursdays at noon for a closed meeting (only for those who

have a desire to quit drinking). For more information, call 205-217-2418 or 256-525-6340. FOURTH THURSDAY | SOCIAL SECURITY REPRESENTATIVE IN TOWN

A Social Security representative will be present at the Chilton County Department of Human Resources on the fourth Thursday of each month. You may apply for a Social Security card or a replacement card. For more information, call 280-2500. ONGOING | BETTER LIVING CENTER IN CLANTON

The Better Living Center in Clanton is sponsoring a series of healthy vegetarian cooking classes starting Tuesday, Feb. 7 at 6:30 p.m. This is a hands-on series in which students cook under the guidance of an instructor. Classes are Feb. 23; March 13 and 29; and April 9-22. For more information, call BLC at (205) 755-5049.

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HEALTH BRIEFS Relay For Life creating commemorative billboard Anyone who has lost a loved one to cancer or who knows a cancer survivor can honor or memorialize them in a public way. A special Relay For Life billboard in Chilton County will bear the names of those affected by cancer. “For $50 per name, you can have the name of your loved one placed in lights for everyone to see,” said Aimee Eiland, Relay chairwoman for Chilton County. “It’s a great way to celebrate loved ones who have won their battle against cancer, remember those who are no longer with us and fight back against this disease that touches so many.” The Chilton County Board of Education’s Relay For Life team is sponsoring the billboard, which Allen Deason of A&M Outdoor

Advertising is donating. The location of the billboard is not known at this time. All of the proceeds will benefit the American Cancer Society, and contributions are tax-deductible. “Every dollar raised brings us one dollar closer to a cure and to a time when the number of people who have to hear the words ‘you have cancer’ is zero,” Eiland said. The board’s Relay For Life team has set a goal of 30 names, or $1,500, for the fundraiser. The deadline for this fundraiser is March 1. Checks made payable to American Cancer Society can be taken to the Board of Education office on Lay Dam Road in Clanton. For more information, contact team leader Kim McKinney at (205) 280-2902 or Aimee

Eiland at (205) 280-2910. Linda Hand named a Hero of Hope Amid all the doctor’s appointments, surgeries, treatments and pain many cancer patients endure, a cancer survivor – a living example of success in surmounting this relentless disease – can provide hope where hope may be runHand ning out. Linda Hand of Clanton is a two-time breast cancer survivor, and she has begun planting her seeds of hope in Chilton County and surrounding areas by sharing her survival story as a 2011 Hero of Hope

for the American Cancer Society. “The Heroes of Hope program provides a highly visible symbol of personal victory over the disease, as well as encourages support and participation in the programs of the Society,” said Keisha Pittman, an American Cancer Society 2010 Hero of Hope and co-chairwoman of the 2011 Heroes of Hope program. According to an American Cancer Society news release, Hand was one of 20 cancer survivors and caregivers selected for the Society’s Mid-South Division, which includes Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee. She was one of two American Cancer Society volunteers selected from Alabama this year. “It was such an honor for me to be chosen as one,” Hand said. “I like to give back to other patients

Got Tension?

DEEP TISSUE MASSAGE • SPORTS MASSAGE HOT STONE MASSAGE • SWEDISH MASSAGE

Introductory Session for First Time Clients $

25

Home appointments available

This is Bliss, LLC 205-312-9411

www.thisisblissllc.com 501 1st Ave North, Clanton (Next to Clanton Cleaners)

Est.#1949


30 Wellness if I can. It does give me a good feeling to get up and talk and let them know that there is life after cancer.” Hand turned to the American Cancer Society for information and support after her diagnosis, and now she is returning the favor. Hand has served as an ambassador for the American Cancer Society at two Celebration on the Hill Relay For Life events in Washington, D.C. She has also served as chairwoman on the Relay For Life planning and survivorship committees. “I have been a Reach to Recovery volunteer, when they partner a breast cancer survivor with a newly diagnosed breast cancer patient,” she said. “Hero of Hope has given me a different feeling toward that. I feel that I do reach out to them more.” Hand said she is blessed to be cancerfree now, and as a Hero of Hope, she has already had three opportunities to share her experiences. “It is a year-long commitment, but it is a lifetime honor,” Hand said. “I will always be a Hero of Hope.” The Heroes of Hope program is in its fourth year. Honorees will serve as spokespeople for the American Cancer Society in their communities, the news release said. Those selected have triumphed over cancer, made signifi-

cant volunteer contributions to the American Cancer Society and made an impact in the lives of others. “Hearing their stories makes a statement that progress is being made in cancer research and prevention, and that there is hope for the future for people who are diagnosed,” said Lee Adkins, co-chairwoman of the 2011 Heroes of Hope program, and a 2010 Hero of Hope. For more information about the American Cancer Society, call 1-800-227-2345 or visit Cancer.org. ADPH monitors new cases of hand, foot and mouth disease The Alabama Department of Public Health asks the public to be aware that cases of the contagious viral illness called hand, foot and mouth disease are more numerous and severe than normal in Alabama this winter. No known deaths have resulted from the virus, although there have been hospitalizations and there can be some rare, severe complications. As of Feb. 10, the ADPH has interviewed patients and collected and submitted specimens to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for individuals with febrile illnesses and rash.

Based on the results of testing done by the CDC, the Coxsackie A6 virus has been identified. This specific type of virus has been identified in other countries but has not previously been associated with an outbreak in the U.S. There is no specific treatment for hand, foot and mouth disease. The public should not be unduly alarmed at this time; however, individuals diagnosed with hand, foot and mouth disease need to follow the recommendations of their health care provider to remain at home until they have no fever, all lesions have scabbed over and no lesions have appeared for two days. The viral disease affects the hands, feet and mouth and usually infects infants and children younger than 5 years old in summer and early autumn. Symptoms are fever, rash, sores, poor appetite, a vague feeling of illness and sore throat; painful sores in the mouth may blister and become ulcers; skin rash, flat or raised red spots, develops over one to two days; rash usually on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet and may appear on the knees, elbows, bottom or genital area. To prevent the disease from spreading, ADPH recommends washing hands carefully and frequently, disinfecting surfaces and avoiding close contact with infected people.


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Wellness 25

Home on the range Blackmon started playing golf in 1949 Helen Blackmon has hit a lot of golf balls in her time. She’s walked a lot of fairways, driven a lot of golf carts and made a lot of putts. But most importantly to her, she’s had a lot of good times. Blackmon, 88, has been playing golf since 1949. She likes getting out on the course and getting some exercise, but her main reason for playing is spending time with friends. “I’ve always enjoyed it; the main thing is the fellowship,” she said. Blackmon and her husband began playing at the Clanton Country Club after moving to Chilton County from Birmingham. They arrived enjoying playing tennis but soon found a new passion. They joined the country club and enjoyed tournaments held there on Saturdays. “Ladies from other areas loved to come here because we prepared the lunch too,” Blackmon said. There were also steak cookouts in the evenings, and players would come from all over the region— Wetumpka, Vestavia Hills, Hoover and Birmingham. Blackmon was always athletic. She played softball, basketball and volleyball at Phillips High School in Birmingham, one of the state’s top athletic powers at the time. Blackmon’s best score at the par72 country club course is a 79. At one time, she was so efficient on the greens that she was dubbed “Helen the Putter.” Time has taken somewhat of an effect on her game. “My game is terrible now, and I admit it,” she laughs. “I’m disgusted when I can’t hit them as long as I could. I can still hit them straight.”

Helen Blackmon’s best score at the Clanton Country Club’s par-72 course is a 79.

Even if Blackmon doesn’t score as well as she once did, she enjoys time spent with a group of ladies that share an interest in the game. She fondly remembers Mary Lou Seger, a member of the group who passed away recently. After Seger or Blackmon hit a bad shot, Seger would say, “At least we’re not in the nursing home.”

The ladies these days play mostly at Alpine Bay Golf Course north of Sylacauga. Blackmon said the game is good for her health—but not as much so as it used to be, before driving carts became the norm. She remembers giving up walking the course reluctantly. “We had to use carts to keep from getting run over,” she said.


26 Wellness

Seniors ‘living well’ Members of Chilton County’s Senior Connection are still going strong in the Living Well Alabama Community Workshop at the Clanton Recreation Center. The workshop focuses on chronic disease self-management and consists of two-hour sessions every Thursday at 10 a.m. for six weeks beginning Feb. 9 through March 15. Senior RX Coordinator Christina Doege of the Middle Alabama Area Agency on Aging (M4A), said the workshop creates camaraderie among participants while helping them form relationships with others going through the same things. “(It is) asking them to make some minor life changes to improve their lives,” Doege said. “It’s a continuing

workshop, (but) not the same class every week.” The workshops were developed at Stanford University and have taken place at hundreds of locations throughout the U.S., according to a news release from Senior Connection. Living Well Alabama provides participants who are dealing with arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure, anxiety, heart disease and other conditions with real-world ideas and skills to: •Find better ways of dealing with pain and fatigue. •Discover easy exercises to help improve or maintain strength and energy. •Manage their medications. •Improve nutrition. •Talk effectively with family, friends

and health professionals. •Understand new treatment choices. •Feel better about life. Doege said this is the final workshop funded by a grant M4A received from the Alabama Department of Senior Services to promote Living Well Alabama in M4A’s five-county region, which includes Chilton, Blount, Shelby, St. Clair and Walker. “Our agency does offer a lot of different services to seniors,” Doege said, Services provide assistance and support for caregivers as well, such as advocates for nursing home residents. For more information on Senior Connection, call coordinator Vanessa McKinney at (205) 755-9032. -Story by Emily Beckett

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Wellness 27

HEALTH CALENDAR 2/28 | COLON CANCER AWARNESS

The Chilton County Chamber of Commerce will sponsor a Business After Hours on Feb. 28 from 4:30-6 p.m. at Chilton Medical Center to kick off Colon Cancer Awareness Month. Everyone is invited. 2/29 | JEFF STATE NURSING

Jefferson State Community College will hold an advising session for future nursing students on Feb. 29 at 9 a.m. at the Chilton-Clanton location. 3/2-3 | LIME SPRINGS RELAY FOR LIFE YARD SALE

Lime Springs United Methodist Church is having a yard sale March 2-3 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. to benefit Relay For Life. The yard sale will be at 410 Ann Ave. in the Brookwood Subdivision off Yellow Leaf Road. There will be furniture, household goods, books, clothing, etc.

3/15 | CMC DIABETIC EDUCATION

The next diabetic education class will be March 15 at Chilton Medical Center at 10 a.m. 3/17 | ST. PATRICK’S DAY PAGEANT TO BENEFIT JUVENILE DIABETES

Irish Dream Productions and the Clanton Police Department Auxiliary/Explorer Unit presents the annual St. Patrick’s Day Fairy Tale Charity Beauty Pageant on March 17 at the Clanton Conference and Performing Arts Center on the campus of Jeff State. Entry cost is $75. Proceeds benefit juvenile diabetes. For more information, call 258-5201 or email irishdreamproductions@yahoo. com. 3/17 | GET MOVING JEMISON

Get Moving Jemison will begin March 17 at 9 a.m. with a 5k walk/run followed by a health and fitness expo from

10 a.m. until 4 p.m. 3/17 | TIME FOR A CURE BAZAAR

Time for a Cure Arts and Crafts Bazaar will be March 17 from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Oak Grove Baptist Church, 211 Alabama Highway 155 in Jemison. All proceeds benefit Relay For Life. 3/17 | MINERAL SPRINGS YARD SALE FOR RELAY FOR LIFE

Mineral Springs Baptist Church will hold a yard sale March 17 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the fellowship hall next to the church. All proceeds will benefit Relay For Life. Mineral Springs is located at 8316 County Road 51. 4/14 | MISS YMCA PAGEANT

Chilton County’s annual Miss YMCA Pageant will be held Saturday, April 14 instead of Saturday, March 3. All proceeds benefit YMCA Strong Kids, an an-


28 Wellness nual fundraising campaign focused on providing scholarships to children whose families cannot pay for them to participate in YMCA programs. The entry fee for the pageant and photogenic is $45. The pageant-only fee is $35, and the photogenic-only fee is $15. Registration is open until March 30. A parents’ meeting will be April 9. ONGOING | SENIOR CONNECTION EXERCISE

Senior Connection holds weekly exercise classes Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 9 a.m. at the Clanton Recreation Center. For more information, call 755-9032. SECOND THURSDAY | COMMUNITY GRIEF SUPPORT GROUP

A community grief support group meets on the second Thursday of each month at Hatley Healthcare, 300 Medical Center Drive in Clanton, from 6:307:30 p.m. This group is open to anyone who has experienced the loss of a loved

one. This is a community service of ComfortCare Hospice. ONGOING | AGING AND DISABILITY RESOURCE CENTER

The Aging and Disability Resource Center assists those 55 and older with disabilities. The center is able to locate the following resources: dental and hearing, utility assistance, Medicare/medication assistance, nutrition/food assistance, disability advocacy, and housing and job assistance. Call 1-866-570-2998 to schedule an appointment. A representative is available every second and fourth Tuesday by appointment only. The ADRC is located at Chilton Medical Center. MONDAYS | CLANTON ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS

Clanton Alcoholics Anonymous meet each Monday at 7 p.m. at 208 10th Ave. N. for an open meeting. The organization also meets Thursdays at noon for a closed meeting (only for those who

have a desire to quit drinking). For more information, call 205-217-2418 or 256-525-6340. FOURTH THURSDAY | SOCIAL SECURITY REPRESENTATIVE IN TOWN

A Social Security representative will be present at the Chilton County Department of Human Resources on the fourth Thursday of each month. You may apply for a Social Security card or a replacement card. For more information, call 280-2500. ONGOING | BETTER LIVING CENTER IN CLANTON

The Better Living Center in Clanton is sponsoring a series of healthy vegetarian cooking classes starting Tuesday, Feb. 7 at 6:30 p.m. This is a hands-on series in which students cook under the guidance of an instructor. Classes are Feb. 23; March 13 and 29; and April 9-22. For more information, call BLC at (205) 755-5049.

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Wellness 29

HEALTH BRIEFS Relay For Life creating commemorative billboard Anyone who has lost a loved one to cancer or who knows a cancer survivor can honor or memorialize them in a public way. A special Relay For Life billboard in Chilton County will bear the names of those affected by cancer. “For $50 per name, you can have the name of your loved one placed in lights for everyone to see,” said Aimee Eiland, Relay chairwoman for Chilton County. “It’s a great way to celebrate loved ones who have won their battle against cancer, remember those who are no longer with us and fight back against this disease that touches so many.” The Chilton County Board of Education’s Relay For Life team is sponsoring the billboard, which Allen Deason of A&M Outdoor

Advertising is donating. The location of the billboard is not known at this time. All of the proceeds will benefit the American Cancer Society, and contributions are tax-deductible. “Every dollar raised brings us one dollar closer to a cure and to a time when the number of people who have to hear the words ‘you have cancer’ is zero,” Eiland said. The board’s Relay For Life team has set a goal of 30 names, or $1,500, for the fundraiser. The deadline for this fundraiser is March 1. Checks made payable to American Cancer Society can be taken to the Board of Education office on Lay Dam Road in Clanton. For more information, contact team leader Kim McKinney at (205) 280-2902 or Aimee

Eiland at (205) 280-2910. Linda Hand named a Hero of Hope Amid all the doctor’s appointments, surgeries, treatments and pain many cancer patients endure, a cancer survivor – a living example of success in surmounting this relentless disease – can provide hope where hope may be runHand ning out. Linda Hand of Clanton is a two-time breast cancer survivor, and she has begun planting her seeds of hope in Chilton County and surrounding areas by sharing her survival story as a 2011 Hero of Hope

for the American Cancer Society. “The Heroes of Hope program provides a highly visible symbol of personal victory over the disease, as well as encourages support and participation in the programs of the Society,” said Keisha Pittman, an American Cancer Society 2010 Hero of Hope and co-chairwoman of the 2011 Heroes of Hope program. According to an American Cancer Society news release, Hand was one of 20 cancer survivors and caregivers selected for the Society’s Mid-South Division, which includes Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee. She was one of two American Cancer Society volunteers selected from Alabama this year. “It was such an honor for me to be chosen as one,” Hand said. “I like to give back to other patients

Got Tension?

DEEP TISSUE MASSAGE • SPORTS MASSAGE HOT STONE MASSAGE • SWEDISH MASSAGE

Introductory Session for First Time Clients $

25

Home appointments available

This is Bliss, LLC 205-312-9411

www.thisisblissllc.com 501 1st Ave North, Clanton (Next to Clanton Cleaners)

Est.#1949


30 Wellness if I can. It does give me a good feeling to get up and talk and let them know that there is life after cancer.” Hand turned to the American Cancer Society for information and support after her diagnosis, and now she is returning the favor. Hand has served as an ambassador for the American Cancer Society at two Celebration on the Hill Relay For Life events in Washington, D.C. She has also served as chairwoman on the Relay For Life planning and survivorship committees. “I have been a Reach to Recovery volunteer, when they partner a breast cancer survivor with a newly diagnosed breast cancer patient,” she said. “Hero of Hope has given me a different feeling toward that. I feel that I do reach out to them more.” Hand said she is blessed to be cancerfree now, and as a Hero of Hope, she has already had three opportunities to share her experiences. “It is a year-long commitment, but it is a lifetime honor,” Hand said. “I will always be a Hero of Hope.” The Heroes of Hope program is in its fourth year. Honorees will serve as spokespeople for the American Cancer Society in their communities, the news release said. Those selected have triumphed over cancer, made signifi-

cant volunteer contributions to the American Cancer Society and made an impact in the lives of others. “Hearing their stories makes a statement that progress is being made in cancer research and prevention, and that there is hope for the future for people who are diagnosed,” said Lee Adkins, co-chairwoman of the 2011 Heroes of Hope program, and a 2010 Hero of Hope. For more information about the American Cancer Society, call 1-800-227-2345 or visit Cancer.org. ADPH monitors new cases of hand, foot and mouth disease The Alabama Department of Public Health asks the public to be aware that cases of the contagious viral illness called hand, foot and mouth disease are more numerous and severe than normal in Alabama this winter. No known deaths have resulted from the virus, although there have been hospitalizations and there can be some rare, severe complications. As of Feb. 10, the ADPH has interviewed patients and collected and submitted specimens to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for individuals with febrile illnesses and rash.

Based on the results of testing done by the CDC, the Coxsackie A6 virus has been identified. This specific type of virus has been identified in other countries but has not previously been associated with an outbreak in the U.S. There is no specific treatment for hand, foot and mouth disease. The public should not be unduly alarmed at this time; however, individuals diagnosed with hand, foot and mouth disease need to follow the recommendations of their health care provider to remain at home until they have no fever, all lesions have scabbed over and no lesions have appeared for two days. The viral disease affects the hands, feet and mouth and usually infects infants and children younger than 5 years old in summer and early autumn. Symptoms are fever, rash, sores, poor appetite, a vague feeling of illness and sore throat; painful sores in the mouth may blister and become ulcers; skin rash, flat or raised red spots, develops over one to two days; rash usually on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet and may appear on the knees, elbows, bottom or genital area. To prevent the disease from spreading, ADPH recommends washing hands carefully and frequently, disinfecting surfaces and avoiding close contact with infected people.


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Wellness 2012