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Survivor Contestant Shares Survivor Tips at Go Red for Women Luncheon

A South Dakota woman who survived the Survivor TV reality show, challenged area women to take control of their lives, and their hearts, during the Go Red for Women North heart health expo and luncheon
Holly Hoffman, left, discusses the DermaScan machine used to show sun damage to the skin, with Janet Barno, UVMC wellness nurse, during the Go Red Goes North event Sept. 12 in Piqua.

PIQUA - A South Dakota woman who survived the Survivor TV reality show, challenged area women to take control of their lives, and their hearts, during the Go Red for Women North heart health expo and luncheon held Sept. 12 at the Fort Piqua Plaza.  The event was hosted by the American Heart Association and presented by Upper Valley Medical Center/Premier Health.

Holly Hoffman told 175 people in attendance that once her three children were grown she decided to do something to challenge herself. Because she felt out of shape and without much energy, she started an exercise program and eating healthier on the road to losing 40 pounds.

“Taking care of others should not mean that you forget to take care of yourself. It’s OK to make yourself the number one priority,” Hoffman said.

She then looked for more challenge and adventure. The choice was becoming one of more than 100,000 people to apply for the popular program in which people are dumped in the middle of nowhere and challenged to survive.

Much to  her surprise, Hoffman, who said she didn’t even like to go camping,  was selected for Survivor on first try and headed off to the jungles of Nicaragua in 2009 with only the clothes on her back.

She described a harrowing 38 days in the elements, surviving on little food, being bitten by bugs of all sorts and, as she mentioned more than once, living without comforts including toilet paper. After being talked out of quitting and returning home on day five, she ended up as the last woman in the competition in which she finished fourth.

“Challenges make life interesting, overcoming them makes life meaningful,” Hoffman said of the experience.

Women don’t have to try out for Survivor to take control of their health, Hoffman added. Exercising, eating healthier and dealing effectively with stress all can help, and knowing one’s numbers related to blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar all are important, she stressed to those attending the Go Red event.

Hoffman urged each woman to focus on a mission. “Make it your mission to take control of your life.
Create your own future because each of you is a real world survivor. Make it your mission to live a heart healthy life,” she said.

Other sponsors of this year’s Go Red for Women North event in addition to presenting sponsor UVMC included national sponsor Macy’s and supporting sponsors Medical Mutual, MidMark, Wilson Memorial Hospital, WPTW Radio and I-75 Newspapers.

More information on Holly Hoffman, who now travels as a motivational speaker, is available at HollyHoffman.org.  More information on Go Red is available at GoRedForWomen.org.