Nancy Heberling

One from the Heart


Your own health and wellness is personal. How then did
Nancy Heberling decide to take on these issues island wide?
Could she actually offer a program designed to increase
awareness of the understanding of well being and to also really
bring it home to as many people as she possibly could? Could
she do all of this and make it free of charge? Yes, she could!
Read on to discover more about Nancy, and "Inspiring Wellness."

Pink: With all you've accomplished you must have a background in healthcare.
Nancy: I had always wanted to be a nurse, but I met my husband Tom
and in those days, you were not allowed to be married and in training. When our children were in grade school I went back to school and got my nursing degree. I worked in the local hospital in ICU/CCU for several years then became interested in the hospice movement when it was just starting. I worked as a hospice nurse for 15 years! In the early 90's another new movement in health care was started called "Parish Nursing." As a parish nurse, I made hospital follow-up visits, started breast cancer and prostate cancer support groups, had an exercise group, and started a variety of other educational programs. We started using the term "holistic" for this approach to healthcare.

P: What brought you to Hilton Head Island and how did you become
involved in some of the local heath care programs?
N: We had been vacationing on the Island since 1978 and we steeled here
about five years ago. We joined First Presbyterian Church and one of the pastors at that time was interested in starting a program called "Health Ministries" and he knew my background. I was asked to become a member of the group and then to be the chairman.

P: How did the idea for "Inspiring Wellness" come to you and form into
what it is today?
N: Our "Health Ministries" was very concerned about local problems such
as type ll diabetes, poor nutritional education, and obesity. Meanwhile, I read an article by David Lauderdale about a man who walked from Jacksonville, FL to Boston, MA to bring attention to obesity, which he personally battles. He had made a movie and given speeches to interested groups. My local contactbecame Dr. Rankin who agreed to meet with us to brainstorm bringing some form of this effort to the Lowcountry. To make a long story short, we decided to develop a program that could involve many aspects of health and wellness and be offered to as many people as possible. We decided on the title "Inspiring Wellness" and started to reach out to doctors, churches, schools, and any other places we could think of.

P: What is the range of participants this program has reached?
N: We have had participants from all over the Island, off Island, snowbirds,
churches, and even some children. We determined in the end that we had
reached at least 1,500 people. We had eight sessions with speakers, the
BEACHWALK program, and an ongoing once a month support group!

P: What do you see as long lasting or on going effects of this program?
N: Many of our participants have made some major lifestyle changes
to become healthier. We have many testimonials from people who have
experienced weight loss, better blood work, and a variety of other health
improvements. The once a month support group is still well attended too. We are already working on another program for next year.

P: Do you have any words of wisdom about the whole wellness scene?
N: Yes, I do. Churches originally started hospitals, nursing and medical
schools in this country. I firmly believe that we cannot separate the spiritual
from the physical, emotional and the relational aspects of health. The
leading reasons that people develop heart disease, cancer, stroke and chronic respiratory diseases is poor diet, tobacco, alcohol, and lack of exercise. If faith communities can encourage members to make changes, we could have longer healthier lives, and help our country's healthcare costs.

Nancy Heberling never hesitates to speak her mind. Her skills,
organizational abilities, and pure caring heart have truly made
a difference in the lives of others. Nancy always says that many
others have helped in this project, but nothing happens without a
leader, does it? Thank you, Nancy