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Free class offers health answers from local experts

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Posted: Tuesday, January 5, 2010 12:00 am

In today’s sagging economy people are doing their best just to get by, but Ahwatukee Foothills resident Christine Marek is working diligently to help others, and her generosity is making a difference in her neighbors’ lives.

Marek organized a health and wellness class that has met at Ironwood Library every month since last June. January’s class is scheduled for this Wednesday, and the class is free.

“I started the class because I was upset about health care reform, and I was curious about alternative and preventative health care,” Marek said. “My insurance has been getting less and less coverage, and I wanted to know who could help me.”

Guest speakers are featured at each meeting, and this month’s speakers include Dr. Sam Sterk, a trained hypnotherapist; and Betsy Yurgel, a naturopathic doctor. The speakers will discuss health goals for 2010. A group discussion regarding whole food nutrition also takes place at each meeting.

“I decided that instead of going to doctors to find out more for myself about health care I would invite them to the library to speak to everyone,” Marek said. “The class actually costs me money to put on and I’m not sure if I can continue to hold it indefinitely, but I really enjoy it.”

Speakers at Marek’s class are primarily from Ahwatukee Foothills, but not exclusively. Marek believes the class’s format of having doctors speak about their work is valuable to the community.

“How often do you get to hear a dentist speak about the newest dental procedures and preventative dentistry?” she said. “You could actually meet your local dentist or doctor at one of our classes.”

Attendance at the classes has ranged from 10 to 25 people, and Marek hopes the class continues to grow in popularity.

“The library lets me use their room for free, but they are so short staffed and under funded right now that they can’t help me endorse the program,” she said.

With community input, Marek would like to host speakers Ahwatukee Foothills residents want to hear most in order to draw more interest in the classes.

“I would love to find speakers that the community wants to hear from,” she noted.

Looking to the future, Marek plans on continuing the classes as long as she can.

“I do plan on continuing the classes,” she said. “It’s like my baby, but with this economy it is difficult.”

The next health and wellness class will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Jan. 9 at Ironwood Library, 4333 E. Chandler Blvd.

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