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Nevada nurse inspires RNs to take charge of their health

Marathons, books and health event help 3-time cancer survivor spread wellness message

Monday March 10, 2014
Helene Neville, LPN
Helene Neville, LPN
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In 1996 Helene Neville, LPN, a Clark County detention nurse in Las Vegas began her run from cancer. Instead of letting the disease dictate how she would live her life, she decided to share a message of wellness with other nurses.

Neville is the founder and CEO of the National Nurses Health Institute. The institute includes a two-day conference which includes training and certification for Certified Nurse Health Coaches, a half marathon and 5K run for nurses and individuals interested in health and wellness.

“You need to do whatever you desire to do, no matter what the circumstances are,” said Neville, a survivor of Hodgkin’s disease.

As an LPN for more than 29 years and a three-time cancer survivor, she truly walks the talk about health, fitness and holistic recovery from illness. Despite three brain surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation, and nearing the age 50, she embarked in 2010 on a cross-country personal running marathon to bring awareness to health and wellness.


Helene Neville, LPN, crossing the desert near Deming. New Mexico on May 23, 2010.
(Photos courtesy of Charlene Gibson.)
Running

After daily runs of at least 25 miles during this coast to coast journey, Neville gave away copies of her 2009 fitness, nutrition and motivational book, “Nurses in Shape: The Right Dose,” to local hospitals and nurses. She also made guest appearances and gave speeches along the way and found time for daily blog updates and Facebook posts. She offered words of encouragement on overcoming obstacles in life and insights on how nurses can be a catalyst for better health across the nation.

Neville completed the 93-day coast-to-coast run due to her belief that this accomplishment would help other nurses become more committed to their own health so they, in turn, could help their
own patients.

Throughout the run Neville received dozens of Facebook posts and emails from nurses that she met: “Inspire healthcare professionals who are on the front lines of health to be better role models. This could possibly be the missing link to a healthy nation!” said one Facebook writer. Another nurse wrote, “You inspire me when I start to feel sorry for myself, my scars and my physical limitations by breast cancer. This run symbolizes togetherness. I was happy receiving the positive attitude and emotional strength vicariously through your Facebook.”

Neville visited hospitals inspiring staff nurses to achieve better health. Carla Schneider, RN, MSN, MICN, CEN and ED director at Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach, Calif., said: “Our team members here at Hoag Hospital were elated to have the opportunity to visit with Helene. Her heartfelt stories about her experiences in nursing and during her journey, on foot, across our country were inspiring. The magnitude of Helene’s dedication to all of us as care providers and the communities we serve is clear after only a few moments of meeting with her. Her focus on health, specifically ensuring that each of us care for ourselves, was well received.”

With her first book, she hoped to inspire nurses and newfound friends she made during the 2,520 mile run. Then in 2013 her second book, “One On The Run, 93 Days Across America,” chronicles her first cross-country marathon from California to Florida. “My own nursing journey was not about me,” said Neville. “It was for others. It was about giving, and not giving up...much like running.”


Helene Neville, LPN, entering Portland, Ore., in May 2013.
Can do spirit

While on her first run, she received news from her physician that she had thyroid cancer but did not allow the diagnosis to thwart her efforts.

“A cancer diagnosis does not mean a death sentence,” Neville said. “You control your own destiny as how you’re going to live through. You can still have hope. And where there’s hope there’s still life.”

Her mission has been to inspire others to rethink their own impossible. “I believe that we can restore the health of America,” she added. “But it’s up to you and me to take positive action to ensure that the future is everything it can possibly be.” For more information, visit NationalNursesHealthinstitute.com.

Top five fitness tips

Neville shared her top five tips to help anyone achieve their own best fitness:
1. Start where you are and do something active.
2. Achieve the mental edge to get healthy by identifying your own life goals and vision of the
best you.
3. Learn the science and power of nutrition to feed your body correctly.
4. Detoxify your body from substances that slow you down mentally and physically.
5. Learn to recognize you’re beautiful from the inside out.


Tracey Long, RN, is a freelance writer. Post a comment below or email editorWest@nurse.com.