By MAGGIE MENDERSKI
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
Former "Biggest Loser" contestant Tracey Yukich will speak on heart wellness next week in Hannibal, Mo., and Quincy.
Hannibal Regional Healthcare System and Blessing Health System have teamed up on an education campaign focusing on women's wellness. Yukich will make a presentation at 6 p.m. Monday at the Mabee Sports Complex on the Hannibal-LaGrange University campus and at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Paul Heath Community Education and Fine Arts Center at John Wood Community College in Quincy.
The two sessions are the second of four presentations in the Healthier Together series.
Lucy Bordewick, communication specialist for Blessing Hospital, said the series targets women in the 30-60 age group. She hopes the series encourages well-balanced lifestyles.
"Taking care of yourself is more (than) about looking good on the outside," Bordewick said.
Yukich will discuss the importance of living a heart-healthy lifestyle. While on "The Biggest Loser," she collapsed during a one-mile run. Her unhealthy habits had caused plaque to form on her heart. After Yukich collapsed, her weight-loss goal became a matter of survival.
Each year, 8.4 million people die from heart disease, and Yukich didn't want to be one of them. Yukich's her heart issues subsided after she dropped from 250 to 130 pounds.
Sara Swisher, marketing coordinator for Hannibal Regional Hospital, admired Yukich's dedication to wellness and believes the community can learn from her experience.
"I think she can really inspire people to live a healthier life," Swisher said. "She says even if she helps one person, then she's done her job."
Yukich now has a nutrition license and is an Aerobics and Fitness Association of America-certified personal trainer and group exercise instructor. In addition to her evening talks next week, she'll also host free workouts from 12:30 to 1 p.m. Monday at the YMCA of Hannibal and from 12:30 to 1 p.m. Tuesday at the Quincy Family YMCA.
Several educational booths will be set up during Yukich's wellness presentations. Bordewick said the booths are designed to educate the community on personal health.
After this month's presentation on heart health, the series will continue on April 15-16 with presentations by Barb Chapin Baker, a clinical professional counselor, who will talk about depression and stress management. Former Olympian Caren Kemner will discuss osteoporosis and bone and joint health to close out the Healthier Together serices on July 15-16.