Going the Extra Mile… Or 10

(l-r) Gloria Brown, recreation development specialist with Eastern Health, and client Judy Stokes.

(l-r) Gloria Brown, recreation development specialist with Eastern Health, and client Judy Stokes.

At Eastern Health, we often hear of employees who go the extra mile. Then we hear about employees like Gloria Brown, who go an extra 10 miles — literally.

Gloria Brown is a recreation development specialist with the Strengths Team/Case Management Services with the Mental Health and Addictions Program. Aside from helping clients set recreation and leisure goals, Gloria is a goal setter in her personal life. As an avid runner, she is a long-time Tely 10 participant— for 15 years, to be exact!

But this year’s road race was like no other. For the first time, Gloria ran the race — side by side with a client.

Judy Stokes, Eastern Health client.

Judy Stokes running the Tely Ten in St. John’s.

Meet Judy Stokes. For most of her life, Judy has struggled with mental health and addictions issues. Since 2008, Judy has been a participant with the Strengths Team at Eastern Health, where she met Gloria.

The Strengths Team offer services to assist those struggling with mental health and addictions issues, to achieve or return to an independent, healthy, productive lifestyle. The overall goal of the program is to help clients use their knowledge, insight gained, and their own natural supports and resources to make healthy changes in their lives.

“This program has helped me reach goals that I had never thought were possible,” says Judy. Though she always dreamed of running in a race, it rarely ever seemed like the right time.

“Then I met Gloria— and everything changed.”

After joining the Strengths Team, Judy took up running as a stress reliever to help with her mental health. It wasn’t long after that she realized she had found her new passion. Late last year, Judy said to herself: “I am going to run the Tely 10.”

And with the help of Gloria and the Strengths Team, she did just that!

Judy and Gloria near the finish line of the Tely ten race, in St. John's.

Judy and Gloria nearing the finish line of the Tely Ten race in St. John’s.

“Exercise has tremendous benefits on our mental health,” says Gloria. “Any opportunity to encourage physically active goals to help clients is an absolute pleasure.”

July 27th was a hot, muggy Sunday. But that didn’t stop Gloria and Judy. The pair each donned an Eastern Health Tely 10 t-shirt, and ran together the entire way; finishing with a time of 2:30:27.

While this year marked Gloria’s 15th year receiving a Tely 10 medal, Judy received her first.  And, Judy assures: “It won’t be my last.”

Do you or someone you know need help? Do you think this program may appeal to you? Call the Strengths Team at (709) 777-3438. If in need of immediate service, call Eastern Health’s Mental Health Crisis Line at (709) 737-4668 or toll-free at 1-888-737-4668. It is available province-wide, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

This story was written by Samantha Flynn, a co-operative education student with Eastern Health.

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