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INSPIRE November/December

Real Inspiration for Women

Queen Road



Gratitude RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS ยง #inspirehealthmag



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Wisdom Teeth (3rd Molars) Wisdom teeth are the

What Can I Expect During Surgery? Wisdom tooth

last teeth to develop and appear in the mouth. They are called “wisdom teeth” because they usually appear during a person’s late teens or early twenties, which has been called the “age of wisdom.”

surgery is one of the most common surgical procedures performed. Most people require wisdom tooth removal at some point in their life. Having the surgery as a teenager is generally easier, less risky, and the healing process is quicker and more reliable. Most wisdom tooth surgeries do not require hospital admission and can be performed in our office. Most people choose to do this under IV anesthesia. Today, surgery can be performed in comfort and maximal safety using our modern surgical and anesthetic techniques. Most young people can return to normal activities within a couple of days after surgery. We can discuss your options at the time of consultation.

What is an Impacted Tooth? A tooth becomes impacted when there is a lack of space in the mouth and its growth and eruption is blocked by overlying gum, bone or the adjacent tooth. Nine out of ten people have at least one totally impacted wisdom tooth resulting from a lack of space in the mouth. Impacted teeth can lead to such problems as pain, infection, crowding of teeth, tumor formation, or damage to adjacent teeth and bone. More fully developed wisdom teeth tend to cause these problems and require a more involved surgical procedure to remove them. Even though impacted wisdom teeth can cause serious problems a recent study found that wisdom teeth that have erupted into the mouth in a normal upright position may be as prone to disease as those third molars that remain impacted. The researchers found that patients with erupted wisdom teeth may be at greater risk for disease, including periodontitis. These chronic gum infections can cause bone loss around the wisdom teeth and adjacent teeth. Chronic gum infections can affect your general health.

When Should I Have My Wisdom Teeth Removed? It isn’t wise to wait until your wisdom teeth start to bother you. Generally, early removal of wisdom teeth results in an easier surgery and less complicated healing process. Medical studies strongly recommend that wisdom teeth be removed during teenage years to prevent future problems and to ensure optimal healing. It’s recommended all people have their wisdom teeth evaluated by an oral surgeon before high school graduation.

What is an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon? Oral and maxillofacial surgery is the specialty of dentistry that includes the diagnosis, surgical and adjunctive treatment of diseases, injuries and defects involving both the functional and aesthetic aspects of the hard and soft tissues of the mouth and face region. An oral and maxillofacial surgeon is a graduate of an accredited dental school who has completed an additional four or more years of training in an accredited, hospitalbased oral and maxillofacial surgery residency program. Board certification requires additional study and rigorous examination. Our surgeons at COMS are certified by the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.

How Do I Schedule an Appointment? You may ask your general dentist for a referral or you may call us directly. Our phone number is (785) 628-1079. We are located at 2901 Canterbury, Hays, KS. You may get additional information from our website at We are the only full service oral surgery provider for western Kansas. We have been providing care to Western Kansans since 1968. From the beginning our simple philosophy has been to provide you with expert care in a safe and friendly environment. Today we still live by these words.

2901 Canterbury, Hays, KS • canterburyoms.com3 § #inspirehealthmag


14 WEIGHT LOSS Eat Smart During the Holidays: 10 tips to help you keep your resolve and willpower for continued weight loss

5 NATURAL BEAUTY The AMAZING Skin Beneits of Apple Cider Vinegar

contents November / December  2015

7 HEALTHY MIND An Attitude of Gratitude

8 ADVENTURE Random Acts of Kindness: A 30-Day Challenge

16 PETS Bringing Your Pets Indoors

18 MIGHTY KIDS Volunteer with Your Kids

19 WOMEN WHO INSPIRE Shooting for the Stars

20 INSPIRE Queen of the Road




November § December 2015

e l p p A Cider Vinegar

natural beauty


By Whitney Alexandra

Everyone familiar with apple cider vinegar (ACV) knows it has been considered a general health tonic throughout the ages. While the pungent smell can deter people from using it, ACV is completely natural with no side effects, making it well worth adding to your day-to-day regimen! ACV for Acne and Pimples ACV contains antibacterial and antiseptics that can target and kill the root of acne and pimples deep inside your pores. Further, it contains both malic and lactic acids that help exfoliate and soften the skin. When you feel like you are getting a pimple, just apply a small amount with a cotton pad on the affected area. ACV for a Natural Skin Toner You don’t need to buy over-the-counter skin toners illed with chemicals and unnatural ingredients! Go natural and use ACV for your everyday skin toner. ACV can balance your skin’s pH and clear away excess oil. At night, apply evenly on your skin with a cotton pad.The strong odor will subside shortly, so don't let that stop you from trying this. ACV for Sunburn Relief The anti-inlammatory substances in ACV can help soothe and reduce sunburn pain. According to Earth Clinic, ACV’s mineral and vitamin content can nourish the skin faster back to recovery. Pour two cups of ACV into a lukewarm bath and soak for immediate relief! ACV to Reduce Your Age Spots According to Organic Facts, ACV can help reduce or even completely eliminate age spots. Add a few drops of ACV to a glass of water and drink. In addition, try mixing ACV and lemon juice, and apply directly to age spots in order to fade their appearance or eliminate them all together. ACV Detox Bath ACV is wonderful for an overall detox of your body, including skin issues and yeast infections such as candida. It serves as an overall detoxiier for muscle aches and pains. ACV baths can aid in drawing excess uric acid from your kidneys. And for those who have concerns about body odors, ACV baths can help eliminate that problem, too!

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editor’s letter


Welcome to the Gratitude issue of INSPIRE HEALTH Magazine. You will ind suggestions and recipes for cleaner, happier and thoughtstimulating living. You may not see gratitude as an ingredient or a suggested practice, but thankfulness is at the core of a quality lifestyle. Think about how you respond when someone says “thank you” when you hold a door open or when you receive a handwritten thank you note. While the good feeling may be short-lived, you can extend that sentiment by extending gratitude toward others. Studies prove that when you recognize life’s blessings you become more enthusiastic, energetic, joyful and optimistic. You can begin counting your blessings now. Keep a gratitude journal; write a daily entry noting what you are grateful for that day. Or make your gratitude list mentally, irst thing in the morning or last thing at night. A friend of mine, a 40-year history professor, received a message from a former student that expressed thanks for her wisdom, example and encouragement, which he credited for his successful career. Her delight as she shared his grateful note with me proved that gratitude is priceless. Especially now, during the holidays, make time to recognize your personal blessings and express your gratitude. Share your experiences with INSPIRE HEALTH. We are always grateful when we hear from you.

Patricia Danlous Help us inspire others! We want to know what inspires you to live healthy. You could be published in the next issue of Inspire Health magazine. Email us at

Inspire Health Great Bend 2015 - All Right Reserved


LOCAL REPORTING: Veronica Coons LOCAL PHOTOGRAPHY: Hugo Gonzalez DESIGN: Hugo Gonzalez SALES: Tammy Mason Diane Lacy-Trostle, Mgr.

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

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Executive Publishers HAL G. FOX SUZANNE POLK FOX Cover Health & Fitness Fashion & Beauty Kids & Family Destinations Editor


Creative Director Design Graphic Designer Print Production


National Sales National Sales National Sales National Sales


© 2015 Jumpstart Publishing, LLC New Orleans, LA All rights reserved Printed in the USA by Fox Print Services The information contained in Inspire Health is intended for educational purposes only. A reader should never substitute information contained in Inspire Health for the advice of a health care professional. Jumpstart Publishing, LLC and publishers of Inspire Health, do not endorse or promote any of the products or services described in the pages of Inspire Health and the publishers do not verify the accuracy of any claims made in the editorial or advertisements contained in Inspire Health. Readers should not use the information in Inspire Health for diagnosis or treatment of any health problem or for prescription of any medication or other treatment. Readers should consult with a healthcare professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or have or suspect they have a health problem.



November § December 2015


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healthy mind

An Attitude of

GRATITUDE By Lynette M. Kokemor, MA-MCMH


• Power (over self and achieving goals) • Love and Belonging (feeling a part of a group or love from family) • Freedom (over yourself, making your own choices) • Fun (pleasure and joy) • Survival (food, water and shelter) Lacking one or all of the basic needs may control your actions. If you are feeling lonely, you may seek comfort with friends and family, fulfilling the need of love and belonging. Sounds simple? I wish! Total behavior consists of four components: thinking, acting, feeling

and physiology. At the center of these components are emotions. Emotions determine how we feel, and the feeling component of total behavior cannot be changed instantly. If you are searching for instant change, start today by being grateful, and pay close attention to how you think and act. Being grateful will uplift your spirit and will eventually cause a positive effect in your emotional health. Being grateful will be challenging at times. Therefore, as you journey through the holiday season, remember these quick tips to a happier, more grateful you. TIPS FOR A MORE GRATEFUL YOU The only person's behavior you can control is your own.

1. 2. Think before acting on emotions. behavior is based on thinking, 3. Total acting, feeling, and physiology. 4. Associate yourself with grateful people. 5. Express your gratitude to loved ones. 6. Keep an “I'm grateful” journal. more focus on what you have and 7. Put less on what you don’t.

THE 7 GENEROSITY HABITS One of the irst steps to feeling grateful is to live your life generously. Living generously is important to the outside world as well as your personal wellness. Your physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing will be positively impacted if you practice the 7 Habits of Generosity. These concepts become second nature when they are practiced consistently. • Physical Health • Mindfulness • Connecting To Others • Connecting To Yourself • Gratitude • Simplicity • Philanthropy § #inspirehealthmag



ife reflects a seemingly mischievous sense of humor when it serves us a giant slice of humble pie. Typically, we are humbled at the most inopportune moments. The ability to stay humble and be grateful is a difficult task. As human beings, it is natural to want more. However, the constant desire for more “things” will affect your spirit negatively. According to Dr. William Glasser, psychiatrist and creator of “Reality Therapy and Choice Theory,” human beings seek to fulfill five basic needs:



s s e n d Kin RANDOM ACTS OF A 30-Day Challenge By Michele Robert Poche t seemed easy enough. Do something nice for someone else, stranger or otherwise, for 30 days straight. Nothing I did was that difficult and everything I did was rewarding.The hardest part was simply remembering to perform an act of kindness every day. It’s easy to get caught up in our lives, to absent-mindedly walk through public places, to buzz hurriedly past someone who may be struggling or hurting.To make random kindness a habit – that was the challenge. The secret to success is to make this promise to yourself: I will, for 30 days, take a moment out of my schedule to put someone else’s needs ahead of mine, with absolutely nothing expected in return.


1. Shared a stamp at the post office. 2. Removed a broken bottle in a parking lot. 3. Called my parents just to chat. 4. Visited with a neighbor. 5. Cleaned out closets and donated to charity. 6. Forgave someone. 7. Let a mom and crying baby ahead in the grocery line. 8. Brought in a neighbor’s garbage cans. 9. Sent a thank you note. 10. Brought a treat to friends. 11. Didn’t interrupt for an entire day. 12. Let someone else have the good parking spot. 13. Cared for a friend’s pets. 14. Said “Yes!” when the cashier asked me to donate money. 15. Returned extra grocery carts to the cart stand. 16. Disposed of all of my trash at the movie theater. 17. Answered a phone call I didn’t really want to take. 18. Said a prayer for a friend in poor health. 19. Gave a ride to a neighbor. 20. Helped a stranger with his broken grocery bag. 21. Let someone else win an argument. 22. Patiently listened to my children. 23. Allowed my friend to speak of her problem that is similar to mine. 24. Spoke to three people I see daily but have never met. 25. Donated blood. 26. Complimented a stranger on her children. 27. Stopped to purchase what a child was selling. 28. Let someone be grumpy without fighting back. 29. Apologized with no strings. 30. Congratulated someone for getting something I wanted.

Feel free to use my ideas or create some of your own. It could be anything. For as Aesop once said, “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”



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EMBRACE YOUR INNER ATHLETE By: Tami Charbonnet | Milestone Photography: Melanie Langteau Model: Jessica Kempainen Don’t use inclement weather as an excuse to pack on extra pounds this winter. Be inspired by winter sports such as skiing, skating and snowboarding. Take advice from winter sports athletes who are strong, fast and resilient regardless of harsh weather conditions. Winter sports athletes may train indoors to strengthen their core, increase agility and become faster. Try these super-charged, calorie-burning exercises ercises to strengthen your core and provide high energy. When Old Man Winter forces you to stay inside, get pumped up with this high-intensity workout!

1 2. TRICEPS PUSHUP TO SIDE PLANK: Skaters must propel their bodies up and forward using their shoulders, triceps, biceps and core. The following exercise will help create strong arms while also working the obliques and abdominal muscles.  Begin in a plank position by bracing the abs tightly and pressing your palms to the loor. Balance with strong arms, keeping shoulders directly above your palms.



November § December 2015

 Slowly lower your chest by bending your elbows. Keep elbows close to your ribs. If you ind your elbows outside your ribs or your back arching, come to your knees and then complete the move.  Push back up into the full plank position.  Gently rotate your body to the side and lift your top arm upward. Repeat on the opposite side. Bring one knee to the loor if the full side plank is too dificult. Repeat the triceps pushup to side plank extension 5-10 times.

1. SQUAT EXTENSIONS: Skiers need powerful quads and glutes and balance when gravity pulls them forward on a steep downhill. Squat extensions build powerful legs while extending arms up, forward and down, bracing the core for optimum balance.  Stand with heels anchored to the ground, aligned with your hips.  Bend knees and drop your backside into a deep squat, sending your hands forward.  Without compromising your spine, brace your core and bring arms to the loor.  Return to Position 1. Repeat 10-20 times. A low-impact option is to slightly bend knees and keep arms above your head.



3. STANDING ROWS Rows strengthen your spine and shoulders, helping you to endure impact and prevent injury. The standing row is a simple and effective movement to strengthen your shoulders and back.  Stand up tall and strong. Tuck your chin into your chest to protect your neck. Keep your knees soft.

 Hinging from your hips, tip your upper body forward, and bring your arms out and down toward your knees.  Squeeze your hands into tight ists.  Bring your elbows back slowly, and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Hold for 5-10 seconds.  Release your ists and arms, and slowly rise to standing start position. Repeat standing rows 10-20 times.

4. SIDE LUNGES Side lunges open the hips and the inner thigh area, which aids in agility.  From a standing position, step out to the right side and bend your knee deeply. Be sure to brace ace your core, and balance your weight eight onto the right heel.  Come back to a standing position, and repeat the exercise ercise on the left side side. Repeat 10-20 times on each side. side

4 § #inspirehealthmag



exercise 6. ADVANCED BONUS MOVE  Squat: drop your backside down to your knees.  Bring your hands to the loor, brace your core, and shoot your legs back into a full plank position. Do not let your back arch. If your back arches, bring your knees to the loor.  Lower halfway, elbows shaving the ribs. Push back up into plank.  Jump the feet back into squat position. Repeat 10-20 times. This is an advanced move. Be sure you are ready before conquering this move.

5 6 5. ONE Skaters need incredible balance and spend hours working on balance drills.  Stand tall and tuck in your chin.  Bracing your core and keeping your hips strong and squared to the ground, slowly hinge forward from the hips as you lift one leg. The goal is to keep the body in a beautiful straight line from the neck and spine to the heel.  Try holding for 1 minute. Switch sides and repeat. Tip: Relax and focus your eyes on an object that is not moving. This will help you with balance.



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weight loss


s y a d i l the Ho By Tami Charbonnet


empting inger foods, salty snacks, festive sugar-laden desserts and high-caloric beverages adorn lavishly decorated holiday tables of temptation. Parties, sporting events and extra time with friends and family during the holidays put added demands on our time – and inches on our waistlines. Our willpower is tested when we are offered just one taste of apple pie or another serving of mashed potatoes. Experts tell us that we tend to overeat when we’re in social situations, as much as 50 percent more than when we’re eating alone. The solution? Adopt an “eat smart” plan that

helps you anticipate how to handle those situations where you are tempted to overindulge. Here are 10 tips to eat smart with resolve and willpower for continued weight loss: ❶ Wake up and drink 8 ounces of water with freshly squeezed lemon. ➋ Prepare a large “Inspire Health” water bottle with the same above combo and sip all day! ➌ Eat a light, nutrient-dense breakfast to keep you full and energized.

➍ When you feel hungry, eat freshly cut apples, pears, carrots, celery, or other natural snacks. The key is to keep snacks on hand, ready for a hungry emergency! Soak apple slices in a shallow container with water and fresh lemon juice. If you are traveling, keep fruit in an ice chest for a quick, cold, crispy snack.

➎ For lunch, have a large quinoa salad packed with fresh mixed greens, avocado, tomatoes, tofu or lean protein, beans and a few crushed walnuts or almonds.

➏ Make time to snack; don’t get so busy you forget to eat. Eating smart means you must snack on your healthy premade snacks.

➐ Exercise at least 30 minutes daily. Take a walk or jog, hit the gym, or practice the exercises listed in this issue's Exercise article.

➑ Relax. Find a quiet place to decompress, sit comfortably or lie down. Close your eyes and breathe deeply for 15 minutes. Clear your mind. We often overeat when we’re stressed. If you relax, you’ll slow down and refocus.

➒ Take the edge off your hunger. Eat a complete, nutrient-dense meal before you attend an event.

➓ Set limits on yourself. Have no more than two beverages and one small cocktail plate of food. Stash healthy snacks in your purse or bag to get you through those hunger pangs!



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YOUR PETS INDOORS By Michele Robert Poche


hen it’s rainy or cold outside, you should bring your cat or dog indoors. Keeping your furry companion occupied will keep them from getting bored and turning to unwanted destructive behavior while inside. Keep your cat engaged by providing a variety of toys that they can either play with by themselves or that you can play with together. If you have a readily accessible window, create a perch so they can watch outside activity. If that isn’t possible, cat videos are available that imitate the sounds and movements of the great outdoors. Encourage your cat to explore by providing boxes and bags. Another option is a cat tree that will give your cat the opportunity to climb and view the world from up high. If your cat is an outdoor cat, now is the time to train them to use an indoor litterbox until it is safe to go outside. Dogs also need exercise and stimulation when the weather forces them indoors. A garage or a large hallway can provide space for a game of fetch or tug-o-war. If you have stairs, let them run up and down the stairs for exercise. Play hide and seek by showing them a favorite toy, hiding it, then teaching them the command “ind.” Set up an obstacle course using boxes, chairs and other sturdy objects, and teach your dog to go over, under and through. Rewarding with a treat when they learn a new trick will provide plenty of incentive. If you can’t stay home with your dog, there are plenty of options to choose from, including doggy daycares and spas or setting up a playdate with a friend’s dog. Keeping your dog or cat active indoors will ensure they’re safe and healthy no matter the weather. 



November § December 2015

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mighty kids

Volunteer with Your Kids By Michele Robert Poche

“Volunteers don't get paid … not because they're worthless, but because they're priceless.” - Sherry Anderson ith so many kids addicted to electronic games, good old-fashioned hobbies like painting, journaling and musicianship are slowly disappearing. It’s a great time to get back to basics. Why not introduce volunteering to your children? Volunteerism is enriching, versatile, selfless and constructive. No one ever walked away from it thinking,“Well, that was an hour wasted.” But where can you start? Consider your children’s ages and interests. Advance planning will help ensure a positive volunteering experience for everyone. Here are a few volunteering suggestions:




November § December 2015

1. Visit a Nursing Home. Many elderly residents don’t get a lot of visitors. They’re looking for a friendly face with whom they can spend time. Children always bring immediate smiles.Young children – and older kids, too – can assist with simple tasks like tying their shoes or reading to the elderly residents. 2. Play Secret Santa. Know someone in your community who is struggling with financial or health concerns? Surprise them with a special gift. It could be a Christmas tree, a household need or money. Just be sure to give anonymously.Your children will learn that truly giving is not about getting credit or being thanked.

3. Adopt a Family. Many religious and charitable organizations coordinate these opportunities. Adopt a family with children and have your kids assist in selecting gifts of clothes, toys and books. 4. Donate to a Food Bank. Team up with your children to pack a food box. Invite friends to join you in collecting. Have your kids help load everything and bring them with you to make the donation. 5. Feed the Homeless. Every community shelter needs help at mealtime and especially during the holidays. Work a shift with your older children at a local shelter. Encourage them to greet every patron with a big smile and friendly conversation. 6. Be a Friend to the Animals. Bring your child with you to volunteer at an animal shelter. Filling food bowls, walking dogs or helping at a fundraising event are all activities children will enjoy.The furry “thank you” they’ll receive is sure to have them smiling all the way home. 7. Support the Troops. Many military personnel are away during the holidays and would be grateful for a special message from home. Have your child create a card and write a message, draw a picture or enclose something to send to someone in the active service. In addition to honoring their sacrifice and commitment, you’ll warm a heart and maybe even find a new pen pal. 

women who inspire


FOR THE STARS By Michelle Fouchi Esneault

Alyssa gets the last stamp on her NASA Passport from former astronaut Wendy Lawrence.


sk a 3-year-old what they want to be when they grow up and they’re likely to say a princess, a superhero or a firefighter. For most kids, their aspirations eventually change. Not for 14-year-old Alyssa Carson. Her dream has remained consistent: Be one of the first humans on Mars. Alyssa first got the idea of going to Mars when she was 3 years old. “I was watching TV and these kids went off on a mission to Mars,” she relates. “I wanted to be one of those kids.” That got her more interested in space, which grew into her desire to become an astronaut. When Alyssa was 9 years old, she met astronaut Sandra Magnus, who told Alyssa that she decided to become an astronaut when she was 9 years old. “Because I was 9 at the time, it showed me that you could start young and succeed in your dreams,” Alyssa says.

Alyssa has an impressive list of accomplishments. She speaks several languages, including English, Spanish, French, Chinese and Turkish. She has witnessed three Space Shuttle launches, attended the Sally Ride Camp at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and has become the first person to complete the NASA Passport Program, going to all 14 NASA Visitor Centers in the United States. Recently, Alyssa enrolled in collegelevel classes at the International Space University in Strasbourg, France. She

“I think it’s important for kids not to allow someone else to decide what their dreams should be…”

has attended Space Camp seven times, becoming the first person to complete all of NASA’s World Space Camps in Huntsville, AL; Laval, Canada; and the Aegean Free Zone in Izmir,Turkey. Alyssa and her dad have established a charitable foundation that raises money to help send kids to Space Camp. They named the foundation “The Blueberry Foundation” after Alyssa's NASA call sign, Blueberry. “It was given to me by my Space Camp counselor. He said I looked like a blueberry in my flight suit,” Alyssa explains. Alyssa is a budding celebrity. She gave a TEDx talk in Greece and a speech at X-STEM, a Washington, D.C., symposium for students in grades 6-12 featuring innovators in STEM. She appears regularly at local schools to encourage girls’ interest in STEM subjects and to inspire kids to follow their dreams. “I think it’s important for kids not to allow someone else to decide what their dreams should be or to tell them that they can’t do something. We really can do anything,” she says. Alyssa has planned the next 20 years of her life. She wants to get her certifications and pilot’s license. She wants to go to college, first at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, then the International Space University and MIT. “I've always felt positive about my plan,” she says. “Over the years it has changed a bit, but I never doubted it.” Alyssa finds time to play soccer, dance ballet and enjoy piano. She’s a Girl Scout and in her school’s drama club. “I see myself as someone who has a deep drive and passion, someone who is focused on her career,” she says. “But at the same time I lead a regular 14-year-old life”

a special -18 cockpit during Alyssa sits in an F/A lifornia. Ca , trong in Edwards tour of NASA Arms § #inspirehealthmag



How one Great Bend woman makes a difference by providing a free ride

by Veronica Coons Photography by Hugo Gonzalez or most people, when it’s time to visit the doctor, getting there hardly requires a second thought. But because families are living further apart and people living past the time when driving is safe is increasing, there is a growing need for medical transportation. And in rural areas like Western Kansas, where specialists are hours away and public transportation is minimal, it’s of vital importance. In Great Bend, Betty Robinson puts her love of driving and outgoing personality to good use performing this service through the Retired Service Volunteer Program,

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INSPIRE HEALTH November § December 2015 INSPIRE HEALTH November ■December 2015

popularly referred to as RSVP. For more than ten years, she has opened the door of her minivan to people of all ages, lifting the burden of transportation from their minds and hearts. The retired nurse began her vocation by

driving friends to appointments. Word got around and she was contacted by Mary Lou Warren, director of RSVP at that time. She asked if Betty would drive as one of the volunteers, and in return, they would reimburse her for gas. She’s been driving for RSVP ever since. “I love to drive and I love people,” she said when we visited with her in late October. That week, she had trips scheduled to Wichita, Hutchinson, and a handful of local private practices. She’s been driving long enough now to know where nearly every doctor’s office is by heart, something she takes pride in. Most of all, she loves listening, and during the trips to and from appointments, she hears many surprising stories. People open up to her and share about their illnesses, their appointments, and their lives in general, she said. Talking, she knows, helps her riders to relax and feel less stressed.

e v i r d o t e v I lo d an e l p o e p e v I lo

The long and winding road

Expressway to her heart

Betty had dreams of becoming a nurse in high school, and her father encouraged her to attend college for it. But she found classes like anatomy, physiology and chemistry daunting at the time. Her first grade card convinced her college wasn’t for her, and she left school, she said. Instead, she spent several years caring for her grandfather until he passed away. At the age of 40 years old, her house was completely paid for, and she decided then to dust off her dream and went back to school to become a Registered Nurse.This time, she made an A in chemistry, and thanks to the emphatic skills of her teachers, made it through her other required classes.They were challenging, but her inquisitiveness and curiosity were her allies, and after she was pinned, she went to work at the state hospital, where she worked until retiring at age 64.

A few years ago, Betty became concerned about her own health. She felt exhausted and was told she needed to lose weight, but found it impossible. “My doctor told me I was fine, that I just needed to walk more,” she remembers. “I told him I could not, but he, as well as my family, thought I was just being lazy and not trying.” Meanwhile, her concern grew, as did her frustration. She was forced to stop driving in December because she became so sick and weak. By then, she had become so convinced she was dying, she began to give things away, much to the alarm of her sisters and brother. A trip to the hospital led to a visit with a different doctor, who after examining her, informed her that her aortic valve

was almost completely crystallized and her aorta was the size of the rest of her heart. The gray pallor of her skin, and the fact that a vein could not be found were additional indicators of her grave condition. The confirmation was a relief, she said. Her family rallied around her with the news that there truly was a problem. In April, Betty underwent open heart surgery, and a week later, she could walk. Her skin brightened, and she began to feel better. Soon, she began walking for fitness, taking it slow but progressing. Her brother even sent her a Fitbit to wear on her wrist to track her activity. Where a year ago she could barely walk across the street, today she walks a mile to two miles a few times a week. Stairs, however, are still a challenge, but she’s regaining lost ground now.

INSPIRE HEALTH November ■ December 2015

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On the road again Months after her surgery she could finally drive herself again. During a follow-up appointment with her surgeon, she asked if she could resume driving for RSVP. Not only did she get the thumbs up from her surgeon, he provided her with a letter declaring she was fit to drive without restrictions. It was a happy day for Betty, and for RSVP. “It broke my heart to have to stop driving,” she recalls. “I had a few people who requested me, and it made me feel sad when I couldn’t be there for them.” From time to time, she is reminded of the impact she makes on some of her clients. She’s been approached by some who give her hugs when she’s been out and about in Great Bend, and that is one of the big payoffs for her. On August 15, Betty began transporting people to their appointments again. “You can’t keep a good volunteer down and Betty is a good example of that,” said Volunteers In Action/RSVP Director Linn Hogg. “Despite a set-back in her health, Betty has logged in over 1,600 miles since she started driving again in August of 2015.” Because of her value to the program, Betty was a 2015 Volunteer of the Year Nominee, Linn said.

Driver’s seat Driving isn’t all Betty does, it turns out. Since her recovery, she is becoming more active with her church and other organizations around Great Bend. Coming up in November, she’s planning to help ensure students at Barton Community College who can’t travel home for the holiday feel cared for. Her church, Trinity United Methodist, will host a Thanksgiving dinner for the students, and Betty will help drive them to the feast. On the return ride to their dorms, they’ll be carrying home delicious Thanksgiving left-overs to help tide them over the holiday. Betty now travels to her own doctor appointments in Wichita, but she doesn’t make the two hour trip alone. Her sisters insist on riding along. While there, they love to shop. On a recent trip, she accompanied them around the Town West mall, something she hadn’t been able to do in a long time. Her frequent trips to Wichita and Hutchinson make it possible to run errands. While waiting for her clients to complete their appointments, she sometimes fills prescriptions or takes time to stop by stores like Sam’s Club or Aldees to pick up items for the Food Bank. “I’ve always liked people and helping,” she says. “If I’m going there anyway, I might as well help out if I can.”

If you are interested in providing medical transportation with RSVP contact Victoria Garza-Reyes (620) 786-7556 or



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November - December Inspire Health 2015 Inspire Health Great Bend magazine encourages women everywhere to embrace natural living as the key...

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November - December Inspire Health 2015 Inspire Health Great Bend magazine encourages women everywhere to embrace natural living as the key...