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Hamilton Wellness Center saves, changes lives

PHOTO: Jerrico Wright, of Community Memorial Hospital's Wellness Center, works with Jerry LaPlante on one of the six different types of cardio machines.

"I credit Jerrico Wright and the Wellness Center with saving my life," says Crystal Eades of Earlville.

The mission of the center, a service of Community Memorial Hospital, is to positively influence the lives of its participants, which usually means helping clients achieve the benefits of total health and fitness. But sometimes it takes a dramatic turn.

Following a workout recently, Eades had an irregular heartbeat that Wright, the center's director since October of 2007, picked up on the heart monitor. He recommended she see her doctor and consider a visit to a cardiologist. Following a heart catherization in Syracuse, Eades suffered a heart attack and had triple bypass surgery. She has now completed her stage one rehab at Masonic Care, is doing stage two rehab at Faxton-St. Luke's and is eager to get back to the Wellness Center for stages three and four.

"The Wellness Center is wonderful. They are knowledgeable, good with people and give good advice."

"Our goal is to give the community a place to get together in a safe, structured environment to learn how to exercise correctly to reach their health goals," says Wright.

The Wellness Center has about 100 "clients," who range in age from 13 to 87 with an equally broad spectrum of goals, from the competitive wrestler keeping fit between matches to stroke victims restoring strength and stability.

Whether the ambition is to improve a heart condition, lose weight, increase strength or stay active, each client meets with Wright, who helps them design a personalized program that includes fitness, nutrition and education. In addition to individual attention, what sets the Wellness Center apart for Wright is the atmosphere.

"This is a friendly, nonjudgmental place and for some the social aspect is as strong as the physical. We can definitely accommodate beginners up to people who want to become power lifters."

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