Success Stories of Transforming Health

The gift of life gift of life

"She chose to get tested. She chose to go through surgery. She chose to give up one of her organs and save my life. She chose all of these things. For me."

The YMCA Turkey Trot embraces the York community YMCA Turkey Trot embraces the York community

The YMCA Turkey Trot 5K race has become a Thanksgiving Day tradition for those living in or visiting York County. For the past 17 years, the race has grown to become much more than a running race.

Improving care transitions care transitions

The Community Based Care Transitions program aims to reduce hospital readmissions by pairing a patient with a coach who empowers the patient to take control of their health.

Senior clocks 20,000 miles on stationary bike clocks 20,000 miles on stationary bike

Every day, Ed Gleason, 69, bikes 5 to 6 miles on his 1970s Sears stationary bike to stay healthy.

Happy 1st birthday Transforming Health 1st birthday Transforming Health

This special Birthday Roundup celebrates Transforming Health's first year by highlighting the 10 most-read stories on our website.

Wholesome Tummies serves up healthy meals for the classroom Tummies serves up healthy meals for the classroom

Kelly Jarvis, a former pre-school teacher at Keystone Kids Early Learning Center in Shrewsbury who recently left her career in the classroom to run a Wholesome Tummies franchise. Staffed with a chef and two drivers, the company prepares healthy lunches that are delivered daily to area private schools, Jarvis said.

Wounded warriors and the outdoors warriors and the outdoors

Wounded military veterans are being encouraged to find ways to stay healthy, despite their injuries. Several of them had a chance to explore different how to do just that during the recent "Pinchot Outdoors Day" by the Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation.

Class teaches life skills to kids living with disabilities teaches life skills to kids living with disabilities

In the kitchen at Central PA Food Bank, high school students are making whole-wheat pizzas with Chef Jackie Pestka, of Channels Food Rescue. These kids are part of The Arc, which provides real-world experiences to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Students get to know farmers during National Farm to School Month get to know farmers during National Farm to School Month

Local proponents of wellness and buying local have a solution to boost that statistic: More fresh produce in schools.

Jean's story: Alive and cancer free's story: Alive and cancer free

Hear from Jean and learn about her cancer experience and what made the difference in her care.

Lancaster Food Day: Celebrating local, healthy, affordable food Food Day: Celebrating local, healthy, affordable food

Food Day on October 24th, highlights the importance of eating local, healthy, affordable food.

CURE Champion winner Champion winner

Michael May and his teammates raised over $12,000 through CURE Champion to help fund life-changing surgeries for kids living with disabilities.

Lancaster Farmacy: The nourishing traditions of folk medicine Farmacy: The nourishing traditions of folk medicine

Lancaster Farmacy is a four-acre medicinal herb farm in Lancaster County that provides a Community Supported Medicine program to people across the East Coast. They strive to re-connect people to the nourishing traditions of folk medicine.

Millersville University's third annual Breast-a-Ville University's third annual Breast-a-Ville

Millersville University's third annual Breast-a-Ville event helped to raise awareness about breast cancer among college students by engaging them in a variety of educational activities and highlighting personal stories about living with the disease.

Watch: Time for Health Time for Health

How communities, workplaces and schools are focusing on health.

In York, the healthy choice is the easy choice York, the healthy choice is the easy choice

Did you know the community you live in can affect your health?
 Communities like York, Pennsylvania, are taking action to make healthy living easier for residents.

Eating smart, playing smart for a strong, healthy future smart, playing smart for a strong, healthy future

The Eat Smart, Play Smart program helps overweight children learn how to make better choices in order to lead a healthy, productive life through interactive games, cooking demonstrations and group discussion.

Christine Ha: The Blind Cook Ha: The Blind Cook

Christine Ha defeated over 30,000 home cooks across America to claim the Season 3 champion title of "MasterChef" on FOX. What makes her unique, besides her luscious Vietnamese comfort-food creations, is the fact that she is blind.

Walking school bus gets kids moving school bus gets kids moving

Today, two out of three kids are considered inactive. That’s why schools like Eisenhower Elementary in Camp Hill are trying to get kids up and moving through what they call a “walking school bus.”

1,000 people worked out at No Sweat in the Park,000 people worked out at No Sweat in the Park

A summer series of free outdoor fitness classes exposed the community to different types of fitness and showcased talented fitness professionals in York County.

2013 Farm to Table dinner celebrates hope Farm to Table dinner celebrates hope

The 2013 American Cancer Society Farm to Table Dinner brought guests together at Strite’s orchard for a festive celebration of local food, drink, music, community… and hope.

Mindful moments at Lancaster General Health moments at Lancaster General Health

The Mindful Moments program is a volunteer based initiative offering 15 minute meditative breaks for Lancaster General Health employees to promote mindfulness through out the organization.

Nurse-Family Partnership supports new moms Partnership supports new moms

Lancaster General Health’s Nurse-Family Partnership Program pairs a vulnerable, first-time mom with a registered nurse. That nurse visits the mom at home throughout her pregnancy. And, she continues to visit until the child turns two.

Taking action to fight high blood pressure action to fight high blood pressure

Like many patients with high blood pressure, I had no symptoms, and, as a healthy, regularly exercising medical student, I had no good reason to see a provider regularly. Without the intervention of this provider, my blood pressure could have gone on untreated for years, eventually putting me at risk for heart disease, stroke and other end organ damage.

Roads to Freedom: Physical activity & Civil War history to Freedom: Physical activity & Civil War history

Roads to Freedom is a summer-long program that encourages children and parents to get outdoors and be physically active by engaging in an adaptation of letterboxing, a hobby in which participants must follow written clues to locate hidden items.

Adopting kids with disabilities kids with disabilities

MaryAnne Roberto says about her adopted children with disabilities, “The best part is knowing they have a future, and my hope is that someday they’ll be able to give back and work with orphans… I can see that happening; it will come full circle.”

Super-utilizer success stories success stories

Super-utilizers are 5% of the patients who account for more than half of all healthcare costs. These patients have a range of complex medical problems that prevent them from getting the appropriate care they need. Now, there's hope.

5 tips for motivating better health tips for motivating better health

Are you thinking that you’d like to make a change for a healthier lifestyle but it seems too overwhelming to start? It’s never too late to start your journey towards better health. Here are 5 tips to help you find your motivation and stick to your goal.

We beat fat beat fat

Husband and wife, Willie and Angela Gillis, beat fat together! At their heaviest, Willie and Angela weighed 492 and 338 pounds, respectively. But, as of February 2013, Willie has lost 300 lbs and Angela has lost 200 lbs. Read about their inspiring journey!

EHR-based program reduces tobacco use program reduces tobacco use

Lancaster General Health Physicians launched a tobacco refer pilot through their electronic health record (EHR) that is helping to reduce tobacco use in Lancaster County.

Tony's story: Managing chronic disease's story: Managing chronic disease

Back in 2010, Tony Ross was diagnosed with severe heart failure, or cardiomyopathy. But, Ross has learned how to manage his own chronic condition after being treated through the heart failure program at PinnacleHealth. This is his story.

Siena's story: Prader-Willi Syndrome's story: Prader-Willi Syndrome

Our adorable little 3 year-old, Siena, was diagnosed with Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS) on March 10, 2011, two days before her first birthday. When we first received this diagnosis, we were of course devastated, and it felt our world had come to a screeching halt. However, over the past two years we have come to realize that this is by no means the end of the road for Siena or any child with Prader-Willi Syndrome.

Better numbers, happier life numbers, happier life

I got some lab work done for a healthy living program at work, and the results were not what I wanted to see. I had crossed over from being overweight and healthy to overweight with poor lab work numbers. It was time to make a change so that I could live a long, healthy, prosperous life with my hubby.

Playing Santa was my crutch Santa was my crutch

"When I played Santa, that was my crutch. I'll stay fat so I can be a good Santa. It's not worth your health." This is Warren's transformation story.

Prescott's Patch: Community-Supported Agriculture's Patch: Community-Supported Agriculture

CSA's are like subscriptions to fresh, locally-grown produce. Members pay a sum of money up-front and then stop by the farm once a week for about twenty-three weeks to pick up their weekly share of what's being harvested at the moment.

Roads to Freedom: Education & activity to Freedom: Education & activity

Roads to Freedom is a summer-long program that encourages kids and parents to get active while providing a hands-on way of learning about Civil War history.

My story: Living with Lyme disease story: Living with Lyme disease

Linda Olley, a Registered Nurse, from Harrisburg, has been living with the devastating affects of Lyme disease that went undiagnosed for 20 years. Through her suffering, she’s been able to remain hopeful and help others as well.

Cure Champion: Fitness for charity Champion: Fitness for charity

The CURE Champion Campaign aligns personal fitness goals with philanthropy, ultimately providing life-changing surgeries to children around the world.

My story: Male breast cancer story: Male breast cancer

"Breast cancer does not discriminate. Unfortunately our society does." Thomas shares his powerful story about being forced into the "shadow of pink" while facing breast cancer as a male.

Watch: Creating Blue Zones in Central PA Creating Blue Zones in Central PA

Discover some exciting things happening right now in Central Pennsylvania communities that are helping us move more, eat healthier, be more joyful and live longer.

Watch: Blue Zones- How to live to 100 Blue Zones- How to live to 100

How long do you want to live? If you answered 100 years, what’s your game plan for reaching the century mark? Researcher and author Dan Buettner traveled to five corners of the globe to report on so-called "Blue Zones," home to clusters of centenarians. And, he shares their secrets in this special episode of TV Smart Talk.

Woman to woman: Family health to woman: Family health

Women are oftentimes the main healthcare provider for the entire family. That can entail making doctor and dental appointments, not only for the kids, but for a spouse, aging parents, and pets as well.

Support is as important as air and water is as important as air and water

Jennifer was overweight and exhausted and desperately wanted to be an energetic mother who could fully participate in her kids’ lives. She found the support she needed to reach her goal, and now supports others on their own path towards health.

We're nourishing our community're nourishing our community

The Central PA Food Bank is ramping up a new program that delivers fresh produce to hungry people in Pennsylvania.

Fill up your own cup up your own cup

Janice Balmer explains that many of us work too much and put everyone else’s needs first in our lives. She explains that we need to fill up our own cup in oder to care for others.

Transformation at Leg Up Farm at Leg Up Farm

Children with special needs are finding unique ways to learn and grow at a York County farm designed with them in mind.

The essence of dance is joy essence of dance is joy

We recently completed a six-week Dance for Parkinson’s pilot program of our own at Millersville University. Dance with special populations is like a refining fire. It takes away all of the unnecessary complications of the dance world and brings out the absolute best.

Lancaster's first Teaching Garden's first Teaching Garden

Teaching Gardens are a real-life laboratory where students learn how to plant seeds, nurture growing plants, harvest food and ultimately understand the value of good eating habits and the importance of physical activity. 

PREP empowers teens empowers teens

Personal Responsibility Education Programs are designed to educate teens on abstinence and contraception for the prevention of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.

I'll never miss another rainbow again!'ll never miss another rainbow again!

Size 20 to 10 and 12 is the best ever! I can run and play tag with my students and keep up with my friends on tours now and love it. Will never miss another rainbow again!

What I learned about healthy living from a Traditional Chinese Medicine Master I learned about healthy living from a Traditional Chinese Medicine Master

Master Li is a nationally recognized doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine. We were in China to film his life and learn about Chinese Medicine. What we actually learned was that Master Li isn't incredible because he's a Chinese Medicine Master, he's incredible because of the person he is. Not to be cheesy, but meeting and learning from Master Li made this one of the most amazing shoots I've ever been a part of.

Barriers to care to care

Many barriers prevent patients from getting the proper care that they need. Some of these barriers include things such as the cost of care, cost of prescriptions, and access. However, the greatest barrier is actually two fold; being uninsured and not having a primary care physician."Working as one" makes a difference for patient

A supportive team, "working as one," helped Chaz White lose 135 pounds and improve other health measures.

Choose change before it chooses you change before it chooses you

Sean spent almost 20 years near, at or above 500 pounds... until he was faced with losing his job and his family. He devoted himself to transforming his life and blogged about his daily journey, inspiring others along the way.

If you believe it ... you will achieve it you believe it ... you will achieve it

Barbara literally walked her way to better health. She lost 56 pounds and enjoys being an active grandmother today! Read about her secrets to success!

Patient partners bring a fresh perspective partners bring a fresh perspective

A fresh perspective can foster new ideas. That’s the premise of the Patient Partner Program. Providers invite one or two patients for a behind-the-scenes look at their practice, and then seek suggestions for making it better.

I call it a lifestyle change call it a lifestyle change

I cut out fried foods, beef, pork and white flour. I went cold-turkey on Diet Coke and now drink water and seltzer. I call it a lifestyle change, which makes it feel very different from a diet. A lifestyle change is permanent, and that's what this is all about.

Grammy-nominated rock vocalist joins CURE Champions Program rock vocalist joins CURE Champions Program

Michael Barnes, lead singer of rock band RED, whose recent album “Release The Panic” landed on the Billboard Top Ten, announced that he will participate in the CURE Champion Program by running the Rock and Roll Marathon in Nashville next month. Established by CURE International, the Champion Program allows participants to meet a fitness goal while simultaneously raising money for life-changing surgeries for children in emerging countries.

Encouraging health at work health at work

Paul Davis Restoration & Remodeling is a 24-hour-a-day disaster restoration contractor. Ellen Wright-Burkholder, Business Manager, identifies the high-stress environment as a contributing factor for obesity and smoking among their employees. As a result, she started a wellness program to encourage healthier living.

I believe in ME believe in ME

I was tired, sick, and sad all the time. I had no energy. I watched my kids play from the sidelines yet I pushed them to be in sports and be active. What kind of mother was I that didn't walk the walk, so to speak? I was 220 lbs and did not like where I had led myself. It hit me that I was the only person that could get myself on the road to a healthier me. That instant I said out loud: "I believe in ME."

Steps to Good Health to Good Health

After losing 75 pounds in a year, Peg turned to the web to offer support, tips, and encouragement to others on their own journey towards wellness. Lives are changing... one step at a time.

Healthy choices at work choices at work

In all WellSpan cafeterias, color-coded symbols help guide employees, patients and visitors to healthier eating. Not only are people seeing results in their waistbands, but in their wallets, too.

Go local with PA Preferred local with PA Preferred

The idea of buying and eating locally-produced foods has exploded in recent years. It's especially gained traction in the commonwealth, where agriculture is one of the top two industries.

No job is worth losing your life over job is worth losing your life over

Rob had had a heart attack; the cause was a clogged artery and Rob would need to have a stent placed. He was only 42, an athlete who didn’t smoke or drink and who had no history of heart disease. If Rob’s cholesterol readings were almost normal and we don’t have a family history of heart disease, what could have been the cause of his heart attack? We desperately wanted to know.

FitBit Episode 2: Take time to make change Episode 2: Take time to make change

In episode 2 of Fit Bit, your host, Tommy Tran, encourages you on your journey to create a healthier you. Whatever your fitness goal is, Tommy says to give yourself some time to make those changes that you need to make. Time is the key to longterm success and keeping your fitness resolution.

Get cooking with the cardiologist cooking with the cardiologist

The “Get cooking with the Cardiologist” event at GIANT Foods in Camp Hill, provided a sold-out class with valuable heart-healthy cooking tips, recipes, and answers to their cardiovascular health questions.

Everybody starts somewhere starts somewhere

Stephanie danced her way to success! Check out her inspiring video about her weight loss success story.

Women should know family heart history should know family heart history

More than one in three adults currently lives with at least a type of heart disease, which is particularly deadly to women. Kim Leo of New Cumberland has experienced severe heart problems firsthand.

Roller derby: Building strength & confidence as a team derby: Building strength & confidence as a team

Roller derby is more than just a sport. It’s about building strength, confidence, better health and friendship together as a team.

Forget fear & stick with it fear & stick with it

FORGET FEAR. Making a change is not going to be easy, or comfortable. It is going to be difficult. It will push you to your limits. You will hurt. You will be sore. Maybe, sometimes you will feel hungry. You will fight cravings. STICK WITH IT. Your body will not only adjust to a new and healthy lifestyle, but you will start to love it.

Ready, Set, Explore Hearts!, Set, Explore Hearts!

Families joined Curious George for a Saturday morning science play date all about how hearts work and how to keep them healthy!

Campaign aligns fitness with philanthropy aligns fitness with philanthropy

What if meeting your fitness goal gave you the ability to help—possibly save the life of a child? What if you were able to train with three celebrity fitness coaches? Would you stay focused? Would you finally keep that resolution and meet your fitness goal?

I found friends in fitness found friends in fitness

I decided to join the Dutchland Rollers in December, after catching enthusiasm for derby from a friend in another town. Besides the fact that I love skating and wanted to be more active, I wanted to meet other adventurous people. I was also drawn to the derby movement's DIY attitude. It wasn't just about fitness. It was about the fabric of my life here.

The Greenhouse: Recover. Preserve. Share. Greenhouse: Recover. Preserve. Share.

The Greenhouse is a community organization that is dedicated to recovering food that would otherwise be wasted, preserving the food by canning, freezing or dehydrating, and then sharing the food with community groups and charity organizations that serve people in the community that need it most.

Health is my lifelong goal is my lifelong goal

Amy Mark of Harrisburg owes much of her success story to supportive friends, family and coaches at her CrossFit gym. Her new workout regime has made her feel stronger, both physically and mentally. She says, "I am able to do things that I never thought possible."

I found my support & reached my goal found my support & reached my goal

Stephanie was unable to be accountable to herself when it came to losing weight. So, she joined a fitness bootcamp and leaned on her trainer and the people in her group for support. She not only found success, but she made great friends, too!

FitBit Episode 1: Small steps to success Episode 1: Small steps to success

Tommy's advice for sticking with your New Year's Resolution? Take it slow and start with the small steps, because that’s what will make a big difference for you in the long run.


When I was asked what motivates me to run, I thought the reasons would be fairly easy to jot down. They weren’t. Sure, I could write about weight loss, and being fit, but that’s only a part of why I run. For me, motivation changes, morphs, and then changes again.

My health is my priority health is my priority

Tommy Tran got used to habitual eating and snacking as a child which created an unhealthy pattern of overeating. By the time he was in middle school, he found himself overweight and unable to keep up with his soccer teammates. He knew he had to make a change.

Local physicians & pharmacists collaborate to address high blood pressure in Lancaster County physicians & pharmacists collaborate to address high blood pressure in Lancaster County

In Lancaster County, 11% of adults (or 43,426 people) have been told by a health care provider that they had a heart attack, coronary heart disease, or a stroke at some point in their lifetime. Disturbed by these rates, physicians representing those six primary care practices committed to address the issue within their practices.

Wellness means quality of life means quality of life

“One night when I was getting dressed to go dancing with friends, I literally had the ‘Aha’ moment that people talk about. I couldn’t find anything to wear, I burst into tears… miserable… and it was that moment that I told myself, ‘I’m not going to be the fat girl anymore. I’m going to be healthy.’” The very next day, Janice began a quest towards better health.

Share your own health success story your own health success story

The Transforming Health team is excited about providing an opportunity for you to share your own story of transformation! Because, real success stories like yours are what will inspire other people to make their own health a priority.

Speaking from the heart: Advocating for change in your community from the heart: Advocating for change in your community

Eboni Bryant approached the Public Works committee of the Mount Joy Borough Council to request that the parks and playgrounds in her municipality become tobacco-free through the adoption of a policy. She shares what it took to make meaningful change in her community in this personal story of success.

Being healthy for my future healthy for my future