A northern Michigan healthcare system is going beyond hospital walls to not only improve the well-being of people, but also connect with them. It's been about a year since the Munson Healthcare Charlevoix Hospital opened its Wellness Workshop.
For one woman it's had a major impact on her health after a life altering disease. In fact, cancer not only changed Carla Chepy's life, but the treatment caused long term effects on her body.
"It was very aggressive cancer. When it finally did happen I was in pretty bad shape. It was non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. It affected my stomach," says Chepy.
Chepy lives an active lifestyle. She's either in her garden or out walking or running, but the side effects of the aggressive chemo started to cause some issues.
"You can't waffle when it comes to deciding how you're going to attack it. You just have to go. So, I tried all different kinds of regimens, eating a certain way. I had a fair amount of success but the neuropathy I had in my legs and feet was never affected. It never got any better," says Chepy.
To help combat the pain, Chepy checked out the Wellness Workshop on Bridge Street in downtown Charlevoix. The workshop is an expansion of Munson Healthcare Charlevoix Hospital. Chepy enrolled in some nutrition classes that included raw eating and juicing.
"It was so hands on. Everybody was chopping. Everybody was trying the juicer or whatever it was we were working on. She did explain to the class it really kind of bypasses your digestive system, which I think was severely damaged. I got up the next day and felt better than I did before the cancer," says Chepy.
The Wellness Workshop opened in June 2016. Now about one year in, it's become an outreach providing healthy activities like yoga, diabetes education even nutrition counseling and cooking classes.
"Here we can be right where the community is instead of trying to decide from an office what the community wants. The programs have been going on for a long time and we were able to increase space and grow for the program," says Director of Community Health Education, Kathleen Jacobsen.
Jacobsen is one of the forces behind the creation of the workshop. She says it's a way to promote health and wellness while connecting the hospital with the community.
"It's very important for people to be well rounded in their wellness, nutrition. We have a dietitian. She'll be running our weight loss program here. We have our medical social worker as well," says Jacobsen.
"I think it shows the community is involved in trying to give people the information they need to live a better lifestyle. They handled the class beautifully. It was so involved. You expect these kind of classes in big cities. I was really surprised anything this progressive was available and I'm thrilled about it," says Chepy.
The majority of the classes through the Wellness Workshop in Charlevoix are free to the public but there is a small charge for some of them.
For more information about the Wellness Workshop click here.