Do you know a wellness superhero? We want to hear from you!

Published on September 30, 2019

Sonya Smith, Penn Nursing Center

Sonya Smith, Penn Nursing Center

Sonya was nominated by a coworker. 

Tell us about Sonya's Wellness Superhero journey.

Sonya is not only amazing at her job, a caring individual, supportive, and conscientious, she now takes everything with a straight forward "I can conquer that" approach. Sonya shares her story related to her weight and the diagnosis surrounding it, while encouraging others to know that they can change. Sonya encouraged me to improve my health, and I am so grateful. She has been the support that I have needed as I walk this life-changing pathway. Her positive attitude draws everyone to her and improves outcomes for everyone no matter what path they may be taking. She also is very committed to positive mental health, and is frequently the person the staff lean on and go to in times of crisis. Sonya has the EACP number and refers employees.

What inspired Sonya to get healthy and stay healthy?

Sonya went to her physician and was told she was pre-diabetic. Knowing that diabetes ran in her family, and seeing the outcomes diabetes can have on our patients, Sonya decided she did not want that to happen. Sonya began to exercise and change her eating habits. She followed up with Central Carolina Surgery. Sonya has attended nutritional visits as well.

Are there activities or hobbies Sonya now participates in that she didn’t before?

Sonya enjoys getting outdoors and being active. She walks at a local track, she has joined a gym, and Sonya walks at work. She also eats and snacks on healthier choices.

Have Sonya's doctor, family, friends and co-workers provided support along the way? If so, how?

Sonya's dietician and physician have been amazing. She has a supportive family and friends to encourage her. Sonya has developed a network of co-workers that work together to encourage each other to "stay the course" with adequate nutrition and exercise. There is a lot of information sharing, as we all have different nutritionists and physicians.

If you could say one thing to other employees to inspire them, what would you say?

I was unhappy with where my life was. I weighed the most I had ever weighed and I was headed for a diagnosis of diabetes. I did not know what I was going to do. With the help of doctors, dietitians, and friends, I have lost over 60 since December and am no longer pre-diabetic. Anyone can make a change in their lives. It is hard, but you never give up. It is frustrating, but you keep pushing. It may feel like you are losing out on things, when you are actually gaining so much more. Keep your head up, stay focused on your goal, and you will achieve anything you set your mind to.