Healthcare workers getting in shape, setting example for patients

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Health care workers are hoping to get patients in shape one step at a time.

20 employees from the Family Health Center in Kalamazoo are training for the Borgess run, which is part of the big Kalamazoo Marathon event.

This is the first time the center has put together a team, but it's not just for the employees.

Newschannel 3 went out with them in their final days of training.

It was a warm and sunny day Tuesday.

But when the runners started their training journey two months ago they faced many challenges.

"It was snowing, below zero, my husband said 'You're nuts'," said Michele Olsen, a registered nurse at the Family Health Center.

Olsen said she had a big goal pushing her.

"I'm celebrating my 45th birthday this year so coming up on that magical number I wanted to be in the best shape of my life," Olsen said.

She'll run her first 5k on Sunday.

It will also be a first for her co-worker Nicole Broughton.

"Nervous but excited. I've come a long way, not being able to run a whole 2 minutes straight, now I'm running 3 miles straight. It's helped me a lot," Broughton said.

The medical assistant was once a patient at the center, and said they helped turn her health around.

Now she wants to give back.

"A lot of the patients that come in have bad habits, are really sick. So for me to be able to show them or teach them this is the way your healthy lifestyle should be, I have to set the example too," Broughton said.
"Being a nurse by profession, it's very important that you practice what you preach. I can't tell them to get up and exercise if I'm not doing it myself," Olsen said.

Family Health Center CEO Denise Crawford said this strategy of promoting a healthy lifestyle is already working.

"People are wondering what we're going to do next. Can we do the breast cancer walk; can we do a heart walk? It's really gaining a lot of attention and momentum. We're excited about transforming lives," Crawford said.
The runners say they're feeling empowered, and having a support team has been a big help.

"If it's walking a mile, at least that's something," Broughton said.

"It's just an awesome transformation," Olsen said.

The races start at 8 a.m. Sunday at the old Nazareth College campus.