August 13, 2010
Part 2 –KCH Wellness programs help build healthy communities one person at a time

Ruth Heeter

 Ruth Heeter came to the Fitness Center with a friend back in April of 2009.  They wanted to get fit to enjoy a planned trip to Washington, DC. 

“We started on programs designed by the Wellness team and then started SilverSneakers® and sometimes both.  We were motivated, did well, lost weight, met our goals and enjoyed our trip. After we returned, life set in and it was harder and harder to find the time.” 

“The benefits of our hard work were dwindling and at the end of April 2010, I got an unexpected wake up call.  The jaw and shoulder pain that I had been experiencing for a year in small spurts, hit with vengeance and was unrelenting.  I asked a neighbor to take me to the KCH ER where I was admitted for monitoring.  Next morning Dr. Hipolito wanted me to see his cardiology friends at Hamot and I was on my way by ambulance. That day I had heart catheterization and a stent was placed in a blocked artery.  I immediately felt better than I had in over a year.  Exhaustion was gone. I came home.  The next day I was back at the KCH ER and sent to Hamot for uncontrolled palpitations and was diagnosed with Atrial Fibrillation.  Luckily medicines are keeping my heart in perfect rhythm and I near the end of my 36 sessions at KCH Cardiac Rehab”.

“I come three times a week, get hooked up to a telemetry monitor and go through an increasingly challenging regime in a carefully supervised setting.  My heart rate and rhythm are checked at various times throughout my exercise program.”

“I’ve lost nearly 20 pounds and cholesterol medication and regular exercise are keeping my cholesterol and blood pressure in normal ranges.” 

“I feel stronger every day and I have energy as a result of exercise.  I’ve had some ups and downs, an Achilles challenge that sidelined my exercise for awhile. And, I’m still working on portion control and exercise beyond the three days of cardiac rehab.  Even so,  day to day I’m regaining my health and have no heart pain and no palpitations.”

“I’m motivated by six grandchildren whose lives I choose to be a part of for many years to come.  I’m learning I need to say ‘no’ to stressful situations and make better choices to ensure I enjoy many more years with them. And, I’m lining up friends to join me in exercise when the monitor comes off in a couple more sessions.”   

Ruth knows inspiration is key and while generally a private person notes, “I hope that by sharing my story I can inspire someone else to get off the couch and take charge of their life and health before they receive a wake up call or worse.”

“My inspiration at the Center is Janelle who I’ve watched lose a great deal of weight and find her stride after a lot of hard work.  Her success and commitment inspire me to push on when I don’t feel like it. She exercises with headphones and a song in her heart and smile on her face. She moves with the grace of an angel.” 

“My advice is to come try out the variety of options available at KCH for getting fit and healthy in a supervised setting, filled with light and fun.”

The Center also serves the 200 plus employees at KCH. 

Janelle Wilson

Ruth’s inspiration, Janelle Wilson, is a KCH employee who works in Housekeeping and attends University of Pittsburgh to study radiology.  Janelle described herself as “obese for all of my life.”  She was diagnosed with high blood pressure and Type 2 Diabetes. 

At a certain point in the last couple of years she realized she was not interested in remaining obese for the rest of her life and is on a personal journey to full health.  Her Aunt, LuAnne Larson, who is also employed by KCH, suggested she join the Wellness Center.  She’s been working out routinely ever since, steadily losing weight and realizing her goal to get healthy.

High School Students

Different groups of high school students are staying in shape or getting in shape for their sport at the KCH Wellness Center this summer with all-round training.  The day we took photos, Stephanie Salerno and Cassie Whittemore were training for volleyball season and Cara Lorenzo for soccer. 

McDivitt, indicates that there are “about 80 individuals who participate in formal SilverSneakers® classes or who are members of the KCH Wellness Center and follow personally designed aerobic exercise programs.  Participants range in age from the teens to 90s.”

Each individual is taking full advantage of this hidden treasure/community asset of supervised wellness and individualized routines and personal coaching.   To learn more about how the KCH Wellness center can benefit you, call the Center at 837-4779.



KCH Cardiac Rehab and Wellness Center Manager Jessica McDivitt hooks up Ruth Heeter for Cardiac Rehab session.

Ruth Heeter exercising on a stationary bicycle.


Janelle Wilson with music in her ears and a song in her heart, moving to the beat.







Kane Area High School students training this summer at the KCH Wellness Center to get in shape for their sports.  l-r Stephanie Salerno, Cassie Whittemore, and Cara Lorenzo are going the paces of the routines created for them.