Spirit of Women
Inspiring Others to Take Action
Congratulations to the 2011 St. Luke's Hospital Healthy Woman Award Honorees
The honorees were recognized at St. Luke's Hospital Spirit Girls' Night Out on Oct. 20.
Victoria Babu says she was never athletic. But she started running for weight control and stress as a young adult and enjoyed the benefits. It was a stress reliever during her busy life as a broadcast journalist and mother. Her job allowed her to keep up-to-date on health and medical issues, and wellness became a passion. At age 41, she learned to swim in order to complete triathlons. This training changed her life, and when she stepped down from television news for family and lifestyle reasons, she became a personal trainer, helping others achieve their goals.
In 2008, at age 50, she learned life-changing news at her physical exam. She was diagnosed with Scleroderma, a degenerative and often fatal autoimmune disease, which was affecting her daily routine. She aggressively pursued treatment, and is proud that she is fighting this condition and has now seen an improvement in her skin and lung capacity.
As a community volunteer, she dedicates her time, efforts and wisdom to help causes close to her heart, including Scleroderma, which impacts 14,000 people in Missouri and is not widely publicized. As a news director and host of her own lifestyle show, "Smart Living with Victoria Babu" on KTRS 550AM, she continues to advance health issues and bring important information to our community.
Kathy's life was changed dramatically when she experienced a heart attack while traveling for a business trip at age 40. While her journey following this event has not been easy, she has taken the opportunity to educate herself and others about the dangers of heart disease. She is an accomplished marathon runner and wears a T-shirt to races that states, "I've had a heart attack." Wearing this helps motivate others to initiate a conversation where Kathy is able to tell her story and let others know to listen to their body and the warning signs associated with heart disease.
Kathy just became one of two WomenHeart representatives and will help launch a new support group at St. Luke's Hospital for those with heart disease. Kathy recently attended the intensive training for this role at the Mayo Clinic. Through her efforts, this support group will help area women cope with heart disease, improve their quality of life and advocate for their benefit.
Sandy Rafferty had a dream 37 years ago while working in California to incorporate horses into occupational therapy for individuals with disabilities. She saw the difference the interaction made for people and the true value of the therapy. She still finds daily inspiration to continue working at the organization she founded 37 years ago, called Therapeutic Horsemanship, despite being "semi retired." The program offers occupational therapy with horses for individuals ages 2 to 92 who have mental and physical disabilities. Each week, 160 people come to the facility in Wentzville and leave changed forever.
The pride she has for her staff and team truly show when she tells you about the progress they are able to make with someone learning to walk again due to "hippotherapy." Beyond her dedication at work, Sandy is a volunteer for the Paralympics, traveling throughout the world as a volunteer for various competitions.
Deborah Weinstein inspires hundreds of women to make a commitment to health through her Curves clubs. Now based in Olivette, Deborah has nearly 400 members from her Olivette and Creve Coeur locations that commit to fitness and healthy choices, and get a sense of support and family from Deborah, her staff and fellow members. The recent tragic death of her son has not stopped Deborah from making a difference. She views it as making her even stronger and more committed to helping others, since her community has certainly helped her through a difficult time.
She says being the perfect dress size is not what's important. Being healthy and feeling good is what matters. Her Curves family would agree that the environment at the clubs Deborah established over the past 10 years has helped them achieve those goals and leave Curves with a smile each day, knowing they are impacting their overall health.
Meet previous Healthy Woman Award winners (2010)