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GREAT BEND January/February 2018








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WALKING GROUP By Anja Springthorpe


o you find it hard to get yourself motivated to go out for a walk? Consider a walking group. This activity may be exactly what you need to get yourself, and others, moving. Walking outside with a group of like-minded people is a social event that improves health. In fact, research confirms that walking with a group reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and bestows significant benefits to your health and well-being.

Walking wit h a group red uces your ris of cardiovasc k ular disease, o s te o and bestows significant be porosis n efits your health a nd well-bein to g.

4 STEPS TO START YOUR OWN WALKING GROUP: Create a schedule. Are there certain times seasoned hikers? Does your group welcome Create a weekly of day the road is unschedule to get in the safe? Do you cross any dogs and strollers? The habit of walking every major roads? Can the more inclusive your day. The schedule also pedestrian walkways walking group is, the helps you maintain a accommodate a group? more dynamic and diroutine. Consider what Before you decide on a verse the group will be. route, scope it out on a time of day is best for Arrange bad outside exercise. Midtest walk with a friend. weather backups. day is probably too hot Promote A backup plan is in the summer. Rush the group. essential to keep up hour traffic throughout Ask friends and the group’s routine. the year may ruin morn- neighbors to join you. Plan to meet at an ing and evening walks. Community boards indoor walking track Plan your routes. in local shops, gyms, or community hall Get into nature churches and social when outside isn’t an and away from the clubs are easy ways to option. A tennis table tournament is another noise by choosing reach new members. scenic routes. But, pay Specify what type of fun way to keep your group active during attention! Is there a lot walkers you want to of traffic on this path? attract. Beginners or rainy days.





Jan/Feb 2018



Dr. Dan Witt is unstoppable

PUBLISHED BY THE GrEaT BEnD TrIBUnE Mary Hoisington, Publisher LOCaL rEPOrTInG: Veronica Coons LOCaL PHOTOGraPHY: Hugo Gonzalez


DESIGn: Hugo Gonzalez SaLES: Tammy Mason Diane Lacy-Trostle

Inspire Health/Active Living Great Bend 2012 Forest Ave. Great Bend, KS 67530 620-792-1211 All copy and advertising in Active Living are copyrighted and cannot be reproduced without permission

contents January /February 2018




Start a Walking group


Embrace the bands!



Celebrate a Century in the blue zones

Blueberry Cobbler and Peace of Mind



Beating Grief Together


Downsizing? Don’t forget to protect your assets

From Sibling Rivalry to Sibling Revelry


9. Nutrition


A tomato a day keeps the doctor away 10. INSPIRATION

Wouldn’t it be nice to know Brian Wilson

Simple steps prevent falls Gardens in glass


Simple budgeting tips





By Patricia F. Danflous

orget about searching for the Fountain of Youth and the magical drink that promises you will live to be 100 or more. Wait – if that search means you are taking long walks, snacking on fruits and vegetables as you go and taking time to stretch your muscles, you could be on the right path. Exercise, stretching and clean eating are essentials to living longer, more productive lives. Just look to the healthy lifestyles of populations in the world’s designated “Blue Zones” for proof. Longevity research shows that people in

Ikaria, Greece; Loma Linda, California; Sardinia, Italy; Okinawa, Japan; and Nicoya, Costa Rica, live longer, better lives than the average individual. It’s not uncommon to be invited to a 100th birthday party in one of these Blue Zones. Why? How? Studies indicate that the common, contributing factors to longevity include:

Coordinator Kirk Vidrine. “But you may be surprised at what we have learned about living longer. It seems that when people hit that big number, 60, things go downhill in a hurry. Those over 60 tend to experience pain related to their lack of mobility, which begins at that age. This leads to a poor quality of life as they age further. “Human beings are built on the procreation model,” he continues. “You are built to have kids, to help raise your grandkids and then biology doesn’t care about you anymore.

No matter how hard you try, you are not necessarily going to make it to 100. In fact, only one in 5,000 in this country live to 100. “We have learned that living a long life is dictated 10 percent by genetics and 90 percent by lifestyles,” Vidrine said. “But it is not just about achieving a high number of years, it is about living better. Why live longer and be miserable in pain? It is possible to enjoy your retirement and golden years in a better way. You don’t have to live in a Blue Zone – just follow a healthy lifestyle.”

Identity Protection for the whole family

• Socialization with family and others • Sense of purpose • Lack of smoking • A plant-based diet • Spirituality • Physical activity

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reduce immunity, raise blood pressure and cholesterol and induce abnormal heart rhythms.” Your grieving loved one depends on your support to lift their spirits and overcome their loss.

thers Encourage o to reminisce ries special memo . ed of the deceas WAYS TO HELP A BEREFT LOVED ONE: •Be practical: offer to help prepare meals, babysit, do laundry and other household tasks.


osing a loved one tears apart the very fabric of your life. You no longer enjoy the things you once loved, the world feels permanently dull and it seems like your heart will never stop hurting. Everyone undergoes these pangs of grief, including your friends. They were there for you when you needed them most, and now it’s your turn to comfort them. But how? For starters, lose the clichés. Phrases like, “I understand how it feels,” or “It will pass,” do not


soften the grief and only offer false relief. Instead, listen to them. Console them with your presence and concern. Grieving takes time, sometimes even years. Be patient with your bereaving friend. Never tell them to move on before they are ready. As tough as it sounds, talking through pain helps alleviate the hurt. The nonprofit organization Mental Health America says we should encourage others to reminisce special memories of the deceased. Laughing about the good ol’ days is the

healthiest medicine during the grieving process. Exercise also combats grief. It provides a positive, often needed, retreat. Schedule workouts in advance with your friend, and make sure they write it on their calendar. What’s more, according to a health report by the Harvard Medical School, bereavement commonly leads to poor nutrition and unhealthy lifestyle changes. “Persistently elevated levels of stress hormones can

•Be patient: Grieving takes some people months and others years. Never suggest they “move on.” •Listen: They don’t need Dr. Phil; they need your attention. •Understand the emotions of grief: sadness, shock, anger, denial and despair. •Exercise: Plan days to exercise together. Establish a weekly routine, and help them make healthy food choices. •Participate in group therapy: Sites like help individuals find local support groups. •Professional counseling: Many individuals benefit from visiting medical therapists like psychiatrists.

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he sibling relationship is unique in that it is the only continuous family relationship that endures from childhood to old age. Sibling bonds are cemented with a shared past and while rivalry may have played a part in youth, it often wains with maturity. As a result, siblings gravitate to each other in the senior stage in life with an appreciation for the benefits the relationship can provide. Adult siblings can be potential sources of financial, physical, emotional and psychological support in old age. Companionship is a valuable asset shared by siblings, especially in situations where brothers and sisters never marry, or a sibling has lost a spouse and all of their children have grown. Sisters often share a special


attachment and some women find security in residing together later in life. They share expenses as well as the peace of mind that their sibling is close enough to come to their aid in a crisis. Life experiences are sometimes the catalyst for bringing adult siblings together and a renewed bond is formed resulting in feelings of solidarity and closeness. Whereas friendships come

By Cindy Lugo

and go in life, a brother or sister remains a part of your family’s DNA, which makes this unique relationship invaluable. Especially in cases where siblings reconnect for the purpose of caring for ill or aging parents. Whatever the reason siblings gravitate closer as they get older, there is certainly a reason for celebrating a relationship connection that lasts a lifetime.

“Sibling relationships outlast marriages, survive the death of parents, resurface after quarrels that would sink any friendship. They flourish in a thousand incarnations of closeness and distance, warmth, loyalty and distrust." - Erica E. Goode


DID YOU KNOW? According to Registered Dietitian, Elaine Magee, MPH, RD,

“Tomatoes contain all three high-powered antioxidants: beta-carotene (which has vitamin A activity in the body), vitamin E, and vitamin C. A U.S. Department of Agriculture report, What We Eat in America, noted that a third of us get too little vitamin C and almost half get too little vitamin A. Tomatoes are rich in potassium, a mineral most of us don't get enough of. A cup of tomato juice contains 534 milligrams of potassium, and 1/2 cup of tomato sauce has 454 milligrams. “


By Tami Charbonnet


id you know tomatoes are loaded with essential nutrients providing great health benefits? Adding tomatoes to your daily nutritional intake has been proven to help prevent some forms of cancer, kidney disease, heart disease, and stroke. They also benefit bone strength, vision, and even provide antioxidants that fight free radicals causing cell damage.

TOP 5 HEALTH BENEFITS FROM EATING TOMATOES Reduce risk of certain cancers: Tomatoes contain a substance called lycopene, a natural antioxidant that works effectively to slow the growth of cancerous


cells. Cooked tomatoes produce even more lycopene than raw tomatoes. Research indicates that the high levels of lycopene in tomatoes work to reduce your chances of developing prostate, colorectal and stomach cancer. Bone Health: Tomatoes contain vital nutrients that aid in prevention of bone loss or bone density. They contain high amounts of calcium and Vitamin K, both nutrients essential in strengthening bones and repairing ailing bone tissue. Fight free radicals with antioxidants: Tomatoes contain Vitamin A and Vitamin C. Along with beta-carotene, these vitamins work as antioxidants to destroy harmful free radicals found in



Enjoy the following simple recipe to add a tomato a day to your nutritional intake.

the blood. Free radicals in the blood stream lead to serious cell damage, and research shows cell damage may encourage an array of serious disease. Heart Health: The high content of Vitamin B and potassium in tomatoes are effective in reducing cholesterol levels and lowering blood pressure. By including tomatoes in your diet, you can effectively fight heart disease, stroke and other heart related issues that could be life threatening. Fight Kidney stones: Adding tomatoes without seeds to your diet has been proven to reduce the risk of kidney stones. Recent research indicates that antioxidant-rich foods, including tomatoes, other fruits and vegetables (such as squash and bell peppers) may help reduce risk of kidney stones. Low antioxidant intake is directly associated with kidney stone formation.



Jan/Feb 2018


The Beach Boys performing in Sacramento in 1964. Brian Wilson is on the left.





rian Wilson is co-founder of The Beach Boys, a songwriter, performer, author, poet, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and Kennedy Center honoree. Brian is known for his intricate harmonies and heartfelt lyrics; the man who, in the early 1960’s, initiated an immediately recognizable signature sound that is vigorously alive more than 50 years later. At 74, Wilson still has


it. In between penning his memoirs, I Am Brian Wilson, he’s thrilling audiences with his concert tour that runs through May 2017, and churning out new best-selling albums. Thanks in part to the release of Love & Mercy, a 2015 movie depicting his life from the musical beginnings to the height of his substance abuse in the 1980s, Wilson and The Beach Boys have found new audiences and

rekindled interest from an older fan base. If you were one of the lucky ones to attend an early Beach Boys concert or saw Wilson captivating crowds of fans in his current Pet Sounds’ 50th Anniversary Tour, you’ve seen first hand Wilson’s musical talent, stamina and uncanny ability to engage his audience. Whether he performs songs such as Good Vibrations, Barbara Ann, California

Girls, Help Me, Rhonda, Surfin’ USA, Wouldn’t it be Nice, God Only Knows and Sloop John B., the leader of The Beach Boys has overcome his legendary stage fright and is as entertaining as ever. But as popular and successful as his songs are, this giant of American music has a personal history that is mostly lacking harmony and rhythm. As Wilson recounts in his conversational and frank memoir, he faced more than a considerable number of struggles in his life, most of which he kept to himself and definitely away from his audiences. Now, wiser, more confident and frankly acknowl-

edging his past, Wilson is sharing the anxiety, fear, imagination, and genius that marks his roller coaster life. Wilson’s lyrics often paralleled events in his life, including relationships and his use of LSD. Lines in his hit, In My Room, reflect years of solitude beginning in the mid-sixties, making him the subject of much speculation and sometimes ridicule:

Brian, 4 months old, and his dad

"Easy Rider" impression

“There's a world where I can go and tell my secrets to In my room, in my room In this world I lock out all my worries and my fears In my room, in my room” For the first time, in his memoir, he offers explanations with no excuses, for his unusual behavior at a time when most people would be celebrating success. Wilson emphasizes a chaotic life plagued with bipolar disorder, paranoia and schizoaffective disorder. “How do you know when a problem starts?” he asks in I Am Brian Wilson. He talks about “freaking out” in the mid-sixties and announcing he could no longer tour with The Beach Boys. “Did it start in the ‘40s when my father whacked me because he didn’t like how I was acting? Did it start in the ‘70s with

Brian, Melinda, and the kids in 2009

drugs or long before that with the beginnings of mental illness that no one knew how to handle? What did it matter when it started? What mattered was that for a while it wouldn’t end.” Wilson entered a cycle of depression and weight gain, hitting

300 pounds before his wife called for help. Experiencing some sense of peace, he got back to his high school quarterback weight but not without sacrifice. He found himself trapped in a 24-hour therapy scenario with constant monitoring by

a controlling psychotherapist who became entrenched in every aspect of his life. Two years after he entered psychotherapy, Wilson was divorced, drinking, doing cocaine, smoking, overeating and living in a mental hospital. "1978, Continued on next page Jan/Feb 2018



Kennedy Center Award 2007

was the worst year of my life,” he remembers. Things started to change by the mid-80s when Melinda Ledbetter, a former model turned Cadillac salesperson, entered his life. Purchasing the first car she showed him, Wilson

was enchanted with the woman who would become his second wife... and ultimately, his savior. “My first impression was that he was someone who was troubled,” Melinda said, but she put her reservations aside and was soon enchanted. “He was just the sweetest, most naive – so honest and sincere,” she remembered. Soon Melinda opened the door to a recovery that included successfully resuming his musical career. More than 20 years after the couple’s 1995 marriage, Wilson continues to

acknoweldge Melinda’s role in his life; helping him to stop smoking, and enjoying being a dad. Wilson and Melinda are the parents of five adopted children. You may also know of his two oldest daughters with his first wife – Carnie and Wendy Wilson of the Wilson Phillips Band. Today, Wilson is living with no cigarettes, no LSD, no cocaine, no marijuana, no uppers, and no downers; he’s spending time with the family, walking for exercise, relaxing, preforming and creating.

I Am Brian Wilson: A Memoir The superstar musician and founder of The Beach Boys honestly relates his life story in this wellwritten and fascinating memoir. Brian Wilson, with Ben Greenman Da Capo Publishing $26.99 336 pages

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1. 2. 3.

With each hand, hold handles of the resistance band alongside the body. Carefully step onto the center of band with feet hips distance apart

Tip forward at the hips and bring back/ spine into a flat neutral position (Be sure to create a straight line from the neck to the base of the spine.)



Holding handles firmly, stretch both handles alongside the body staying close to and reaching for the hips. Hold for 10 seconds, release, return to standing and repeat 5-10 repetitions.

The best exercises are those that include both aerobic activities as well as strength, balance and flexibility exercises



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The best exercises are those that include both aerobic activities as well as strength, balance and flexibility exercises. With regular resistance training, you will notice changes in your body composition, and you will find daily activities easier and more pleasurable.



ccording to The American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association, older adults (ages 65 and older) should aim for a minimum of 2 1/2 hours (150 minutes) of physical activity every week, including resistance exercises at least two days every week. Adding a resistance band exercise to your daily routine is an easy way to create strong, lean muscles with little to zero impact on joints.

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Start to finish: 45 minutes (15 minutes active)

Servings: 4

DIRECTIONS  Heat oven to 350 F.  In a 9x9-inch square baking pan, add 5-6 tablespoons of melted butter.  Mix blueberries, sugar and corn starch and set aside for 30 minutes.  Combine flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Then add shortening and milk, mix then pour into pan.  Pour blueberry mixture on top of the batter.  Bake 45 minutes, or until golden brown. Top with whipped cream or ice cream if desired. Serve!






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If you have been lucky enough to sell your large family home and move to an assisted living facility or low-maintenance condo or apartment once you retired, we have a few important details you are not going to want to miss.


ou never know when a natural disaster will strike and leave your cherished personal belongings in ruin. Whether you are renting an apartment or living in an assisted living community, you must insure your property if you want protection. The owner of the building will insure the structure, but all of your possessions are your responsibility. The best way to make sure you have to proper coverage is to contact your agent or anyone who sells homeowners insurance. If you had home contents coverage with your homeowners coverage when you owned your home, you will understand the importance of covering your belongings now that you are renting. Renters insurance is different from homeowners contents cov-

erage because contents coverage covers all of the property at the location, where renters insurance only covers the property of the person on the policy. If you have a roommate and one of you has insurance, the other person’s property will not be covered, even during a natural disaster. Do your research. Just like any other insurance policy, Renters Insurance is competitive. If you don’t have an agent, shop around for several quotes. All insurance companies are not the same. Beware of commercials that promise policies for pennies. You get what you pay for. If you want to find out more about a certain insurance company, check with one of the five major reporting agencies that report on the stability of insurance companies: A.M. Best, Fitch, Moody's Invest-

ment Services, Standard & Poor's, and Weiss. Make a list and check it twice. Catalog all of your valuables with a complete description, value and picture. Ask your agent if your policy covers replacement value or original cost. Sometimes, this amount can leave a large gap between what the insurance company will pay and what you think your item is worth. It’s better to pick a policy that will pay you what

you deserve and expect. Do the exclusions in your policy exclude you from protection? Check the declarations page of the policy before you sign to make sure you are getting the coverage you need. Some policies do not cover floods, named storms, collectibles and antiques. You may have to purchase separate coverage for specific risks or items. Don’t lose your shirt because you didn’t have the right insurance.

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Jan/Feb 2018




The Second Time Around

Check out these websites for more detailed guidance: Grandparentsforchildren. org Helpguide. org


ust when you thought you would ease into retirement, you find yourself in a familiar role – parenting, again! If you feel as though your life has suddenly undergone major adjustments, you are not alone. Data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that the number of children residing in a grandparent’s home has increased significantly over the past decade. When parents are absent or unable to rear

By Cindy Lugo

their children it is often the grandparents who step in to shoulder the responsibility of raising the second generation. This commitment brings with it both rewards and challenges. You may gain fulfillment by providing a sense of security for your grandchildren, developing deeper relationships and keeping the family together. You may even find that parenting a second time around is better because you are smarter and don’t take things

as seriously as you did the first go-round. But, even if you embrace your role as a custodial grandparent with vigor andcommitment, you may find yourself overwhelmed with the unexpected.

New 2018

HERE ARE SOME TIPS AND RESOURCES TO HELP YOU ALONG IN THE JOURNEY Don’t get caught in legal limbo, talk to an attorney to fully explore legal arrangements. Join a support group for grandparents raising grandchildren. Get the grandchildren connected with a church/community youth group. Research avenues of public assistance for various housing, health and financial needs.


Marmie Chrysler 620.792.2571 800.239.7840


Simple Steps Prevent



e smile when a toddler who is learning to walk, struggling to maintain his balance, finally plops down on his bottom. But when a senior adult has a similar event, it’s a serious matter. Every second, a senior experiences a fall that may cause injury leading to death.

bars in the bathroom and use a non-skid bath mat. Keep a flashlight next to the bed.

Why do people fall? Tripping and falling on slippery or uneven surfaces is a major cause. Medicines that cause sleepiness or dizziness can result in slowed reflexes that also result in falls. If a person is suffering from balance problems caused by reduced muscle strength or drinking alcohol, a fall can be the outcome.

How can balance be improved? Exercise that develops endurance, muscle strength and flexibility will help prevent falls. There are a number of classes given at the Y and Community Centers that teach seniors to have better balance and coordination. Here’s a simple balance exercise that can be done at home: • Stand up straight with feet together and arms at the side. • Lift the right foot a few inches off the floor and bend the right knee. • Balance on the left foot and hold for five seconds. • Lower the right foot and repeat with the left leg for ten repetitions.

What can prevent falls? If outdoors, the use of a cane or a walker improves stability. Wearing rubber soled shoes and avoiding slippery grass or sidewalks helps avoid situations that result in falls. When indoors, wear lowheeled shoes and avoid walking in socks or slippers. Keep floors free from clutter and make sure rugs are securely fastened to the floor. Put grab

Focus attention on a spot ahead. Maintain good posture with the chest out and shoulders back. If standing unsupported is too difficult, try holding onto furniture. When exercising while supported, hold the leg in position for 60 seconds. Improving balance through exercise and avoiding conditions that provoke falls are actions that will lead to a safer, confident, independent life for seniors.



Raise your head and look around to find a sturdy chair. Don’t try to stand up on your own.


Roll over on your side by turning your head in the direction you’re trying to roll. Then move your hips, shoulders, arms and finally, your leg, over.

3. 4. 5.

Using your arms, push your upper body up. Slowly get up on your hands and knees and crawl to a sturdy chair.

Place your hands on the seat and slide one foot forward so that it is flat on the floor.

6. 7.

Keep the other leg bent with the knee on the floor.

From the kneeling position, slowly rise and turn your body to sit in the chair.

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s m u i r a r r e T

GARDENS IN GLASS By Patricia F. Danflous


errariums are simple to build, easy to maintain, increase the oxygen levels in your home, and they are trendy – again! Just like in the seventies, the age-old tradition of growing an indoor garden in a small container has become the latest thing. Check out your friends’ Facebook pages, Pinterest or local craft store for inspiration and ideas. Look inside that closet, shed or garage you regularly avoid. The one with the miscellaneous items you haven’t brought yourself to part with yet. Did you find an old goldfish bowl, a set of mason jars or the glass vase that once held cotton balls in the bathroom? Then you already have your terrarium. Ready to start?

Gather supplies including: • Clear, clean container (wide openings are easier to work with) • Pebbles or rocks (marbles work, too) • Peat moss, to retain water • Potting soil • Strawberry begonias, aquamarine, air plant or black mondo grass plant • Spoon, long-handled tongs or tweezers, scissors, funnel


Building a terrarium is a layering labor. Follow these basic steps, and you will have an indoor garden in less than an hour: • Place a small handful of

• Place plant in soil and

pebbles or rocks at the bottom of your container for aeration and drainage. • Add a layer of dampened peat moss. • Scoop in a few inches of soil – the depth of this layer will depend on the size of your container. Make sure you have enough room for your plants to grow.

position with tongs or tweezers. Pat the soil into place around roots with a spoon. • Add a little water. • Decide where to place your new terrarium. Find out what level of sunlight works best for your plant. • Maintain your terrarium with occasional watering.


have n a c g n Shoppi e dopamine the samd circuity as s. rewar dictive drug -ad highly



By Liz McGehee

t might surprise you to learn that most millionaires are frugal. They know how to budget, they don’t overspend and they often live below budget. You may not be a millionaire, but you can live well by practicing these simple budgeting tips:


Be thrifty. Practice restraint. Even millionaires aren’t above coupons, deals and penny-pinching. If anything, they capital-

ize on these money-saving tricks more than anyone. Make sure you really get the best deal before forking over your hard-earned cash.


Ask yourself if you really need it. According to a study in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, shopping can have the same dopamine reward circuity as highly-addictive drugs, including cocaine, opiates, and nicotine. Whether it’s a sweater or a new car,

walk away and think about it. If you still want that sweater a day or two later, then go back and get it.


Don’t open more than 2-3 credit cards. Use a debit card as often as possible so that you don’t overspend. The spending rewards that come with credit cards often encourage us to spend more. It’s a lot harder to let go of your checking and savings than it is to charge on a somewhat limitless credit card.


Get a side job. If you want to save money, consider a second job. Yes, you will be busy, but this is a chance to capitalize

on what you do well. Become a consultant in whatever field you specialize in. Do you love meeting new people and making your own hours? Anyone with a clean driving record can work for Lyft and Uber.


Learn to invest. Get-rich-quick schemes are risky and rarely pay off. Invest in your retirement or look for ways to earn interest on your money. Some banks offer rewards for keeping a set minimum balance in your checking account. FDIC-insured online banks also offer higher interest than national banks. Keep monitoring interest rates for changes and better opportunities.

Jan/Feb 2018


Hunter, photographer, Dr. Dan Witt is unstoppable by Veronica Coons - Photography by Hugo Gonzalez -


r. Dan Witt is a lifelong hunter and accomplished photographer. His hobbies have taken him to exotic hunting destinations all over North America and the African continent. A strong man, he looks forward to the next big hunt, and spends three to four days a week exploring Cheyenne Bottoms in search of inspiring scenes to photograph. But it was when his wife, Sandra, was diagnosed with breast cancer, that he got serious about his health.

“An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.” — Henry David Thoreau He shared the story of her diagnosis. Sandra was faithful about getting her mammograms done every year.Then, about a year ago, she saw a report about a new diagnostic test available in the area.The test, 3-D Mammography, offers doctors 100 images of the breast from different angles, rather than only two.The precision ups the chances of finding breast cancer in its earliest stages. Even though Sandra had only ever received normal reports, she was impressed with what she’d heard, and decided to make an appointment for the procedure at St. Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City.


“If you were to describe me with just one word, I’m a hunter,” — Dr. Dan Witt

Photo courtesy of Dr. Dan Witt Dr. Dan Witt is a lifelong hunter. His expeditions all over North America and Africa have resulted in numerous trophies on display in his Hoisington home.

“They were horrified by what they found,” he said. “They pulled her file and saw the cancer had been there for three years with normal reports.” Immediately, they scheduled surgery, followed by chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Sandra had a tough time with chemotherapy, Dan said. Keeping her white blood cell count up was a struggle, and they had to take extreme measures to avoid germs during that time. Dan realized with so much riding on his ability to help his wife, he needed to put some effort into staying healthy. In January, he got a fitbit. He wears the electronic device on his wrist like a watch. It tracks both his heart rate and the number of steps he takes in a day, among other things. He’s dropped 30 lbs. since February. Regular vigorous exercise has been the key to these changes. “I think about what I put in my mouth now,” he said. “I don’t deprive myself.”

His goal is 12,000 steps a day, and the device lets him know when he reaches it. Many times, he exceeds his goal. Early every morning, he can be found walking at the Hoisington Activity Center. “There are 30-year old girls flying by me all the time,” he said. “But there’s not near enough people in my age group that are doing this.” Several afternoons a week, he’ll return and use the elliptical machine for an hour, he said. He has compared the miles he’s walked this year, and has stepped his way across the equivalent of the country of New Zealand. He has seen other positive improvements too. “My resting heartbeat is in the mid50s,” he said. “I don’t take any medicine. My blood pressure is 126 over 80.” And all of this is possible despite having, as he puts it, two fake knees and a fake ankle.

Jan/Feb 2018


“I can walk, I can hunt, I can climb any mountain, I can go anywhere I want to and not be physically challenged,” — Dr. Dan Witt

“For us hhunting i wasn’t’ a sport. It was a way to be intimate with nature…” -Ted Kerasote

The ankle, Dan said, is due to the mountain goat prominently displayed in the trophy room at his Hoisington home. It took him 12 years to draw a permit for the goat, which he took with a longbow near Red Cone, Colorado. “I was hauling him out in about 18 inches of snow,” he said. “I stepped in a hole and wrecked that ankle. That was about 6 p.m.” Looking at his GPS, he


realized li d he h was about b t 2.2 miles from his vehicle. He didn’t get back to his truck until 1:30 in the morning with the goat and his bow, he said. “If you were to describe me with just one word, I’m a hunter,” he said. He started hunting young, and still uses a gun he received nearly 70 years ago when he was a boy of 10, growing up in Groom, Texas. His dad, the town doctor, and his friend, the town druggist, went in on the purchase of a rifle. On his tenth birthday, they called Dan into his dad’s office and presented it to him. Then,

his hi dad d d took t k him hi to t the th hardware store. “He told old Glen D. Harold, the owner, “Dan can charge all the ammo that he wants to,” and I took him up on that,” he said. As an adult, he learned to hunt with a bow, quite by accident. A friend invited him to a baited bear hunt in Canada. It wasn’t until a few weeks before the hunt he learned it was a bow-only hunt. A friend set him up with his compound bow and some arrows and he taught himself to shoot. His initial success with the compound convinced

him he could learn to shoot with a longbow just as easily. He was friends with a number of game wardens, and they mostly shot longbow. It would take him three years of flinging arrows and occasional success with small game before he would finally take a doe at 20 yards. Peer pressure, he admits, attracted him initially to bow hunting. But something else compelled him to continue. “There was something simple and fair and better about bow hunting,” he said. “It takes a lot more time. It requires patience. If you don’t have time to sit for three or four hours to do it, you’re

never happy, and you’re never comfortable because you either need to be somewhere or have some obligation or you’re just too fidgety or something.”

“Hunting, fishing, drawing, and music occupied my every moment. Cares I knew not, and cared naught about them.” -John James Audubon

Patience, the ability to be still and wait and observe for long stretches of time, is a critical skill not only for hunting, but also for photography. Dan is accomplished in both areas, and his interest has taken him far and wide.

“I’ve always carried a camera. It’s just a natural extension of my hunting career,” he said. The one place he was drawn to most of all is Cheyenne Bottoms. That’s why he chose to relocate to Hoisington in 1990 after 17 years practicing in Kansas City. Clara Barton Hospital reminded him of the hospital where his father practiced in Groom. It felt like home. There, he felt he could practice medicine the way it was intended to be practiced. His appreciation of the area only deepened over the years, and when he retired, he and Sandra decided they would remain. Retirement made it possible for him to delve deep into photography, and go beyond photos that simply documented where he had been and with whom. He’s taken courses from professionals like Steve Trout of Grand Junction, Colorado, and attended workshops led by National Geographic photographers in places like Bondurant, Wyoming,

near Jackson Hole. He’s gone on photo expeditions with other local photographers too, like Karole Erikson and Jay Miller, to locations in Texas, New Mexico and Utah. But mostly, he visits Cheyenne Bottoms, at least three days a week.There, he said, he drives until he sees something, and then he’ll get out and pursue it and take his pictures. Many can be found made into postcards, for sale at the Kansas Wetlands Education Center located just east of the Bottoms. Dan’s routines, his walking and his elliptical training, not only keeps him in shape for helping Sandra, but also pursuing these activities that make retirement such an adventure. “I can walk, I can hunt, I can climb any mountain, I can go anywhere I want to and not be physically challenged,” he said. “I’m not as agile or as balanced as I was, but as far as durability or getting it done, stand back because it’s not very hard for me.”

Photo courtesy of Dr. Dan Witt

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Active Living Great Bend January 2018  

Active Living Magazine encourages people everywhere to embrace natural living as the key to true and lasting health by promoting natural and...

Active Living Great Bend January 2018  

Active Living Magazine encourages people everywhere to embrace natural living as the key to true and lasting health by promoting natural and...