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Member Spotlight

Do you have a great story to share about your health and wellness journey? Each month, we recognize a member who inspires us. Your story could be about weight loss, recovery from surgery or injury, stress relief through exercise, improving diet and nutrition, training for an event, or anything else that motivates you to keep coming back to HealthQuest.

Submit your story and you could be chosen as our Member Spotlight for the month! Your story, and photo if submitted, will be shared here on our website and through social media.

Barbara shops for canned food.

The History of Gobble Waddle

Most of you are well familiar with Barbara Narron, HealthQuest Fitness and Aquatics Instructor to HealthQuest. While giving tours at HealthQuest, I often tease Barbara by telling our guests that Barbara came with the building. HealthQuest opened in 2003 and she started working at HeathQuest in 2005, so she's been part of the HealthQuest team for most of the entire tenure.

During the past few weeks, while marketing Gobble Waddle, I’ve had the privilege to work more closely with Barbara and I’m totally amazed by what I’ve been learning about her and the Gobble Waddle Event. I felt this would be a perfect opportunity to share with you a few golden discoveries.

Diagnose with cancer at age twelve, Barbara experienced true unconditional love by her surrounding communities, as they poured into her and her family. During this time, she decided she had more to give and wasn’t going to stop until it happened. “I feel like there was a lot of prayers and a lot of community churches that prayed for me, so I wanted to do something to give back to the community.” says Barbara.

Many years later, after many thoughts and prayers and having absolutely no resources to make her vision happen, Barbara presented her ideas to Ashley Scott, the director of HealthQuest. Ashley was excited to work with Barbara to accomplish this mission for many reasons. One of those being that this was also along the lines of the mission of HealthQuest; To improve the health of the people in our community!

Barbara noticed that, during this era and in this area, there were very few 5K/10K race events, but it seemed to be an activity of interest.

HealthQuest immediately put Barbara's vision into place and this is how Gobble Waddle was birthed. It began as a 5K walk/run in which everyone that entered was requested to bring an assigned amount of canned foods to donate in lieu of a registration fee. HealthQuest members quickly caught the vision and joined the fun by bringing not only the assigned canned foods but lots more! “The HealthQuest kitchen would be full of food! We would divide the food and deliver it all to local churches that had food banks.” says Barbara, “From year-to-year, due to the increase of the high volume of foods, we had to change our registration process. Local area companies began to get involved by giving monetary donations to help with race awards, t-shirts and so the participation grew and grew.”

I asked Barbara, "Was there ever a time when you felt they should stop and discontinue this program?" "No! In the beginning we had only 30 people,” exclaimed Barbara, “but, the next year we had about 50 people and it has been steadily growing throughout the years.”

As the event continued to grow, more companies caught the vision by contributing monetary donations, HealthQuest later incorporated a 10k route. This addition increased interest from more seasoned runners from not only the local area, but from surrounding states.

HealthQuest soon teamed up with the Johnston Health Foundation who became more involved with the coordination of the 5K & 10K annual event. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, 2020's Gobble Waddle went virtual and had the biggest participation yet with approximately 353 participants! To date approximately 950 lbs. of food has been donated, keeping Gobble Waddle on track with increasing participants and food donations.

“I appreciate the fact that Johnston Health wanted to continue to carry on the vision and the purpose of Gobble Waddle which is to give back and feed those in the community that are truly in need. If you feed, you will be fed.” commented Barbara.

I asked Barbara what she like best about Gobble Waddle. With tears in her eyes, she replied, “I like seeing everyone come out with their family and friends to participate and have fun. I also like seeing all the donations that come in.”

All food donations will be delivered to the following food pantries:
The Blessing Corner of Johnston Health Cardiac Rehab, Sharon Baptist Church of Smithfield, Temple Baptist Church & Hinnant Outreach Ministry of Selma.

Special thanks to everyone that had any part in making Gobble Waddle a huge success in past years and this year. And, special thanks to Barbara for not giving up on herself or the vision she had in her heart. Because she pursued and others helped, many are continuing to benefit twelve years later.

I'd like to take this opportunity to encourage each of you to pursue your visions! Like Barbara, you may not have all the resources to start, but by reaching out to others, together, many visions will become reality!

REAL-to-REAL with Reba at HealthQuest Fitness and Wellness Center
Session 5 - The History of Gobble Waddle featuring Barbara Narron

Denise Pearce

Finding Your Motive

Denise Pearce is a Home Health Physical Therapist Assistant that knows protocols to be healthy. She assists people in this area every day! Denise takes such good care of everyone else, that she places herself on the back burner, seldom finding or taking time for her own health. She confessed that lack of self-care had resulted in weight gain and other health issues that were starting to demand attention and move her to the front burner. Since her children are now adults and living their own lives, Denise decided it was time to make a life-change. With full support and assistance from her husband, Scotty, they began to make plans to make better health happen.

Coming to her rescue, family members and club members of HealthQuest Fitness and Wellness Center, Megan and Josh Southerland, recommended she work with the a HealthQuest Fitness and Wellness Specialist and the HealthQuest Clinical Dietitian. For Mother’s Day, Scotty purchased the Premium Personal Training Package for Denise, which includes 6 personal training sessions and 1 nutrition consultation. She began virtual training sessions and quickly realized this was exactly what she needed, ACCOUNTABILITY! Having to make a commitment, to meet with her personal trainer, held her accountable and forced her to exercise; even though, at times, she perceived she didn’t have time or didn’t “think” she felt like exercising, regardless of her inner thoughts, she pushed through and past her limit to reach her goals for that day.

Wait! What about nutrition? Well, Denise had to make yet another confession! Since she’s in the medical field, she knows how to eat and what not to eat, right? Yes and no! After one meeting with the HealthQuest Clinical Dietitian she realized that she had more to learn about nutrition and also about changing her mind in regards to a few things she had previously learned. “She really cleared some things up for me,” said Denise, “some things that I was doing wrong. She helped me with the mental and emotional aspect of eating.”

After her sessions were completed, she continued on her own. But, after a while, she fell back into the same routine and not really getting the results she needed. At this point, her husband noticed her decline in energy and suggested she give HealthQuest a call to purchase more virtual sessions.

When I inquired about how she felt about virtual session compared to in-person. She expressed, “It’s been a wonderful experience, better than I ever imagine when I first started and I feel like I get what I’m paying for.” Also commenting, “If you can’t take care of yourself, then you can’t take care of other people.”

I asked, “What motivates you to get up every day?” She answered, “I would say, my family. To get up and to be there for them. To be a good example and pillar for them. But, I can’t do that if I don’t take care of myself.”

I asked Denise if she had a favorite quote: “I do and it’s actually a bible verse, 'I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.' – Philippians 4:13. That’s what I live my life by and if I’m struggling with something; of course, the first thing I do is pray about it. I want to be stronger physically and emotionally.”

Thanks Denise for sharing your virtual experience!
Have you found your motive? Once you do, let HealthQuest help you to accomplish your health goals. We are fully operational with many in-person and virtual services available to assist you in becoming healthier, building your immune system and simply feeling better day-by-day!

“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” ~Thomas A. Edison

REAL-to-REAL with Reba at HealthQuest Fitness and Wellness Center
Session 4 - Finding Your Motive featuring Denise Pearce

Haley Stevens

Haley's Story

In August of 2017, Haley Stevens recalls that she weighed 110 lbs. Then she began college to major a degree in nursing. With only time to work, attend classes, study, eat and sleep, Haley began to gain weight. In January 2019, Haley made a visit to her doctor and realized she had gained 35 pounds.  She felt as though she didn't have time to take care of herself and was now dealing with the consequences.

Haley commented, "I didn't feel like myself anymore and I wanted that back." She knew she needed to change and she needed to change quick. That's when she decided to make a commitment to start exercising. After going to different fitness facilities in different areas, she decided to join HealthQuest.

Haley jumped in with all fours and immediately took advantage of the free one-hour assessment that comes with all HealthQuest memberships. Samantha Barbour, HealthQuest Health and Wellness Specialist, assisted Haley with establishing a work-out program to get her on track to feeling better.

This was a great starting point for Haley and with her own homework of studying various exercise apps, she is definitely achieving her goals. Taking advantage of the follow-up assessment, also offered by HealthQuest with memberships, Ashley Maher, HealthQuest Health and Wellness Specialist encouraged Haley to continue what she was doing and to include good nutrition and strength-training. Haley stated that she has a curving spinal issue, but she's learning that consistent exercise is one key to eliminating chronic pain and discomfort. She participates in group exercises and enjoys using the cardio and strength training machines. She also lifts some free weights with caution.

Motivated by looking at past photos of herself when she was healthier, I asked Haley what she likes best about HealthQuest. Her response was, "The overall environment. I've not experienced any negativity, no judgement. Nobody's ever said anything ugly to me." Haley commented with a big smile, "Like, when Eric sees me or Frankie sees me, they tell me to keep it up and that I'm doing good!" She also commented that she liked that HealthQuest was part of Johnston Health. Since she works with Johnston Health she can have the membership dues drafted from her paycheck each month. She also feels that after comparing the cost of a HealthQuest membership it is fair considering all that comes with the membership.

Haley has been working in ICU Johnston Health Clayton since July 2019. She loves her job and all her co-workers. She has and is continuing to achieve many of her established goals. She's losing weight, has more energy and feels much better overall.

Way-to-go Haley!

One of Haley's favorite life quotes is: “It doesn't get easier, you just get stronger.” – Unknown

REAL-to-REAL with Reba at HealthQuest Fitness and Wellness Center
Session 3 - Meet Haley

Sarah Jeffrey

Sarah's Story

As a child, Sarah Jeffrey was physically limited in many areas due to a heart condition that eventually led to minor heart surgery called Balloon Valvuloplasty.

Joining HealthQuest in June of 2018, Sarah's initial goals were to build endurance, lose weight and most importantly, her deepest desire was to just feel better.

Since June, she has not only met most of her initial goals, but has also superseded in areas she never expected to even try, much less accomplish! She contributes most of this success to setting personal goals within herself and then to those associated with HealthQuest.

I asked Sarah, "What motivates you to continue to work-out at HealthQuest? “Some days I don't even want to go to the gym," comments Sarah, "but, when I walk in the door I'm always greeted by positive staff." Despite Sarah's heart condition, Samantha Barbour, HQ's Health & Wellness Specialist, encouraged her to sign-up for HQ Extreme. Samantha took time to walk Sarah through the course by explaining and demonstrating different ideas to accomplish the same end results. "Growing up, I was always left behind because I simply couldn't breathe," says Sarah, "but not at HealthQuest, even the members of HealthQuest encouraged me and waited for me to catch up and finish."

Sarah wants to encourage all new members to schedule the complimentary Well-U Fitness Consultations that comes with a membership at HealthQuest. "This appointment gave me a realistic starting point and the follow-up appointment gave me opportunity to get further assistance. I also like the fact that all the trainers are accessible."

Sarah is a teacher for High School Exceptional Children and one of her latest accomplishments including running in the 2019 Gobble Waddle 5K. One of her favorite quotes is: “It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.” - Mahatma Gandhi

Congratulations Sarah! We look forward to being part of many more fitness and wellness accomplishments with you.

REAL-to-REAL with Reba at HealthQuest Fitness and Wellness Center
Session 1 - Meet Sarah

Noah Swabe and family

Noah's Story

Weighing in at his highest of 363 lbs. and smoking 2 packs of cigarettes per day, Noah Swabe finally made the decision that he wanted to change! In February, 2019, Noah had gastric bypass surgery, but commented that he took this surgery as a complete joke and only quit smoking because it was a requirement before he had the surgery. Then, it hit him!

His parents had gastric bypass surgery, he had gastric bypass surgery and he decided he didn’t want a third generation - his kids, to have gastric bypass surgery. He decided to do something to break this cycle! As he seriously started thinking about the future of his wife, his five children and his nephew that they now foster as one of their very own, he realized that he needed to be healthier for them, because all these people depend on him.

Noah is a full-time husband, dad, and student. He works a demanding full-time job with an hour commute each way and he doesn’t take his limited and valuable time lightly. Noah joined HealthQuest in April of 2019. Like most, his initial goal was to get healthier. His initial solution was to make it a habit to go to the gym and also to take advantage of the Well-U appointment that comes with a HealthQuest membership. Then, he began to save up his spare change in order to purchase personal training sessions. He considered the Well-U appointment to be highly successful in giving him a starter point and after a few sessions with Eric Rothman, Health and Wellness Specialist with HealthQuest, he started achieving his goals and setting new goals.

I asked Noah what he liked best about HealthQuest. “What I like about HealthQuest is the environment; in particular is that, I’ve never felt out-of-place at HealthQuest.” replied Noah, “You’ve got all walks of life and all types at HealthQuest. I never felt I wasn’t supposed to be there.” He also commented that he never felt like he wasn’t in good enough shape to be a member at HealthQuest and that everyone was there has the same goals even though everyone is different.

“I’ve had all the excuses in the book and I’ve continued to use those excuses forever and ever and ever and ever. It can be done, it’s just a matter of figuring it out and how to work it in." said Noah, "It’s about making yourself a priority for everybody else. Now, me and my wife, Tricia are doing more things together and we’re actually going to do a race together.” Noah did his first Spartan race in November of 2019 and he’s participating in a marathon in March. The whole family is spending more time together, traveling and all will be participating in upcoming races within the next few months.

It’s evident that Noah’s choice to be healthier has been a positive changed for not only him, but for his entire family.

When Noah started racing, this became one of his favorite quotes: “Today I will do what other's won't, so tomorrow I will do what others can't.” – Jerry Rice

REAL-to-REAL with Reba at HealthQuest Fitness and Wellness Center
Session 2 - Meet Noah

Share Your Success Story

We know how hard it is to make a lifestyle change. If you have a health success story, we want to celebrate with you! Please share your story with us.

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