Meet Healthy Me! Program Participant, Bret Bajdek

At 33 years old, Bret Bajdek spends a lot of his time coaching students at Saint Joseph Catholic High School. As he tries to set good examples and mentor members of the boys’ football and golf teams, he decided it was time to take a look in the mirror and push himself to become a healthier person.

“In high school and college I was constantly trying to put on weight to become a bigger and better football player.  What I didn’t know then was that I would unsuccessfully be trying to shake that weight nearly fifteen years later,” said Bajdek.

That’s what led Bajdek to apply for the Healthy Me! Program. Now, at 340 pounds, he will work with a registered dietitian, a local physician, and fitness specialists this year, in hopes of losing nearly 100 pounds.

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Meet Erika Jackson, Healthy Me! Program Participant

Meet Erika Jackson, Healthy Me! Program Participant

She walked confidently into the building with her hair neatly in braids, it didn’t seem as though she was nervous at all.  Selected as one of the final six participants in the Healthy Me! Program, she was ready to begin her journey to a healthier self.

Erika Jackson moved here in November from Fort Wayne and lives with her two children, her mother and her mother’s husband. 
As an employee in the registration and checkout area in the Emergency Room at Memorial Hospital and an on-call EMT for Prompt, Erika knows how important it is to be healthy.

“They are providing the right tools for me to become healthy, I’m excited about this program,” said Erika. She couldn’t believe she was chosen for the program and almost didn’t apply, but at the last minute she decided she would never be chosen if she didn’t even apply so she reconsidered.

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Potentially life changing opportunity is handed to six local residents

Potentially life changing opportunity is handed to six local residents

On March 24th the lives of six local people changed when they received word that they were chosen for the Healthy Me! Program. 

Each of them wrote a 500 word essay and agreed to waive their right to privacy while involved in the program in exchange for advice from local healthcare providers.

This year’s participants are: Bret Bajdek, Bob Vale, Erika Jackson, Deborah Gordon, Joni Nedderman and Shaun Riffle.

Over the next year, they will receive twice a month sessions at Memorial Health & Lifestyle Center with Fitness Specialists Dave Woods and Jonell Witkowski along with a free gym membership.  They will also meet monthly with physicians from Family Medicine of South Bend, P.C. and Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center Registered Dietitian, Erin Hurst.  The Medical Foundation will be providing quarterly laboratory testing and Dr. Jeffrey Mader will provide dental care. 

You can follow their progress and their struggles as they strive to hit their goal weight and become healthier individuals by following our blog at www.yourlabmatters.blogspot.com and reading articles like the one published today in the Health section of the South Bend Tribune.

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