Tags Articles tagged with "health"



By Andrew H. Jones
Community Relations Coordinator
Sun Life Family Health Center

A community comes alive when the residents share their love for their neighbors and friends enough to help improve it. Helping your community helps to build stronger bonds within which can make life better for your family, friends, co—workers and neighbors whom you share your life with. The more love you pour in, the better it will become.

Implementing positive small lifestyle changes are one of the most effective ways to improve your overall health and well—being. Even the smallest positive changes can help form healthy habits. We, the employees at Sun Life Family Health Center, want to offer a few suggested small tips and changes to help you on your journey toward a healthier you. We call them #OneSmallChange. Creating a healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to be some extravagantly outrageous New Year’s resolution that makes or breaks you. Adding in just #OneSmallChange incrementally will add up and make a Big difference.

DANIELLE JENNINGS, WHNP-BC — Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner
Touch it Once
After reading an article about the habits of tidy people I have adopted the “ touch it once” strategy. Rather than putting stuff on a chair or leaving things where they might have to be moved again. I put things where they belong the first time I pick it up. Dishes don’t go in the sink, they go straight into the dishwasher. Shoes are taken off where they belong. Trying to get my kids to adopt this has been more of a struggle.


Work Hard — Play Hard
Make sure to reward yourself for your hard work, drink lots of water and get enough rest!


BERONICA M. — Medical Assistant
One Prayer
One prayer a day will make a huge difference.


SONIA O. — Front Desk
Registration Clerk
#OneSmallChange: Do a Small Act of Kindness for Others
Pick a few small acts of kindness and do one a day for a stranger, or pick something small to make a loved one feel loved. It will have a big impact on others and get you out of the narrow self—centered perspective that most of us get stuck in.


MAISEY B. — Front Desk Registration Clerk
Less focus
on electronics
Limit time usage of all electronics including tablets, gaming systems, cell phones and television for everyone in the household. There is so much focus on social media and gaming in todays world that we tend to forget about that good quality family time.


ELIZABETH A. — Site Manager
Be The
Change You Wish To See
Eye contact and a smile goes a long way for many having a bad day.


DANA RODRIGUEZ, CPNP, PhD — Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
Cut Down
on Sugar Intake
Look at the sugar in the food and drinks you consume. Start by reading food labels. Pay special attention to the sugar and carbohydrates. Start by eliminating sugary beverages like juice and soda.


BERNADETTE F. — Licensed Practical Nurse
Encourage Positivity
Encourage physical activity for all of the family, there is a website called MGR: MesaGilbertRocks. Basically it is like geocaching but instead you look for painted rocks which you can take home for your garden, house or wherever you wish to decorate or you can re-hide them for someone else to find. Libraries, Parks, trails are great places to look/hide. Get creative! Let your children paint the rocks.
Encourage hydration especially among the homeless, place 1—2 bottles of water and a protein bar in a Ziploc bag and hand out to those in need. You can include a happy thought!


BRITTANY K. — Registered Medical Assistant
Enjoy Life
Build a healthier and more enjoyable life by taking a walk to relax and enjoying what’s around you. Bring your kids or pets with you to make it more fun.


LUCY V. — Clinical Laboratory Assistant I
Good Mood
To Start Your Day
Make your alarm clock tone your favorite song, so it can help you to get up easier in the morning while bettering your mood to start your day. The best way to start a conversation with a person you don’t know is to start with giving them a complement. Not only will that break the ice but it also makes them more confident and you even more like-able.


SHAYLA S. — Medical Assistant
Time With Family Well Spent
Turn off all media 3 hours before bed and spend 1on1 time with family.


NICHELLE T. — Front Desk Registration Clerk
Live—Love Well
Treat people the way you want to be treated. Live every day like it could be your last.

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Joan Koczor

By Joan Koczor

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, diabetes is estimated to affect 25.8 million Americans. In the United States, about one in four people over age 60 has diabetes.

Diabetes is a chronic condition in which the body does not properly process food for use as energy. It is the seventh-leading cause of death in the United States.

Diabetes doesn’t allow your body to make enough insulin or isn’t able to use its own insulin as well as it should, resulting in a buildup of sugar in your blood. Serious health complications can include heart disease, blindness, kidney failure and lower-extremity amputations.

There are two types of diabetes: Type 1, which requires insulin as medication, may start as early as childhood; Type 2 is sometimes called adult-onset diabetes. The most common Type 2 may be hereditary. It is more common in people who are overweight.

The ABC method is used for managing diabetes and any complications: A for the A1C test, B for blood pressure and C for cholesterol. Controlling blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol can aid in reducing the risk of long-term complications.

A1C test measures your average blood glucose for the past 2-3 months. Normal A1C levels are less than 5.7 percent. Levels for diabetes is 6.5 percent or higher. Prediabetes levels are 5.7 to 6.4 percent.

Pain or numbness in the hands and feet, extreme fatigue and blurry vision are just a few of the warning signs you might be at risk for diabetes. Check with your doctor if you are experiencing any of these symptoms. Early detection and treatment can decrease the risk of complications.

Living with a chronic condition, such as diabetes, can leave you feeling tired or depressed. Some days will be harder to get through than others.

Take care of your emotional health. Diet, exercise and taking time to relax are very important and contribute to your overall health. Have regular checkups. Do simple things that you enjoy. Go to a movie. Take a mini road trip. Read a book.

And more importantly, keep informed. Make a list of questions and take them with you to your next doctor appointment.

Diabetes.org, for American Diabetes Association 2018 Standards of Care

ChooseMyPlate.gov, for USDA information on the five food groups and how to adjust portions to insure healthy eating

ndep.nih.gov, National Diabetes Education Program to improve treatment and outcome

Ref: American Diabetes Association

Joan Koczor is a senior advocate and member of the Age-Friendly Maricopa Advisory Committee.

This column appears in the March issue of InMaricopa.

By Aaron Gilbert

Aaron Gilbert. Photo by William Lange

It’s one of the most common patterns we see among incoming Longevity Athletics clients: Folks who want to get (or stay) fit will exercise diligently for months, only to “fall off the wagon” for the entire year and battle with getting back into it to achieve resolutions. That’s why we came up with this short, simple and effective workout you can do anywhere.

1. Move through each exercise in sequence. 2. Do 10 reps of each exercise. 3. Minimal to no rest between exercises. 4. Rest 1-2 minutes at the end of the circuit. 5. Repeat for a total of 2-4 circuits.


Starting on all fours, push down with toes to bring knees off floor. Keeping pelvis centered, “crawl” with right arm and left leg moving forward together, and vice versa. 10 seconds = 1 rep


Start in “plank” position, hands directly under shoulders and fingers forward. Maintaining a straight line from head to heel, keep elbows in as you bend them to lower your body as far as you can without shoulders popping forward. Squeeze shoulder blades together and down toward glutes as you lower, then allow them to spread fully apart at the top. Keep abs tight, tailbone tucked under and shoulders down away from ears.


Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, arms extended in front of you or behind your head. With abs engaged, ribs pulled down and tailbone tucked under, push hips back and lower as far as you can, keeping feet straight and knees aligned with little toe. Drive weight into heels and midfoot to return to start.


Keeping ribs down, abs tight, tailbone tucked, and weight through forward heel, pull dumbbell up toward lower ribs while locking your shoulder blade inward and down.


Can’t do one or more of the exercises in the circuit? Skip them. If possible, focus on the lower body, which requires greater muscle engagement and energy burn.

No dumbbell? Use whatever you can find to add weight to the moves.

Aaron Gilbert, CSCS, owns Longevity Athletics.

This column appears in the March issue of InMaricopa.

No Excuses Workout

Aaron Gilbert of Longevity Athletics explains the No Excuses Workout to help keep your healthy-living resolutions. Learn more in the March issue of InMaricopa.

Posted by InMaricopa on Thursday, March 1, 2018


By Andrew H. Jones
Community Relations Coordinator
Sun Life Family Health Center

As parents we never hesitate to schedule regular routine checkups for our children, but as adults we often times put aside our own health needs, and too often, we only see a doctor when we are sick.

People are changing their ways and are becoming more conscious about their health with improvements in diet, exercise and regular health check-ups. A routine and regular health check-up is a detailed test of your body, which should be done annually to monitor your health, reduce your risk of getting sick and detect any potentially life-threatening health conditions and/or hidden disease in your body and lower its effect with early treatment, or best-case scenario prevent it. Routine health checkups have many advantages as it will increase your lifespan by getting the right health services, screening and treatments your body requires.

Importance of Routine Health Check-Ups

Many serious health problems do not have any symptoms but can be found during a routine health check-up. Therefore important to have health checkups often. Any serious illness found in its early stage is much easier to cure. Early detection also enhances chances of survival.

Without routine health check-ups, you cannot regulate some health problems such as diabetes, hypertension, cholesterol, etc. Having a regular health check-up can improve your quality of life and help you avoid a serious problem such as cancer, osteoporosis, heart diseases, etc.

Routine check-ups for women such as diabetes, high blood pressure, cervical screenings and a breast exam will help to detect the signs of diseases at most treatable stages.

A regular scheduled check-up is also a good time to get up-to-date information on new medical technologies that are available.

A routine health exam helps to maintain and keep one’s medical history up to date. A clear and complete medical report can help to detect hereditary and early health problems.

Regular checkups help to strengthen the awareness of medical problems and encourage you to act on signs and symptoms to avoid potential health problems.

According to research, people with a poor diet, who use tobacco, that misuse/overuse alcohol, and/or have a lack of physical activity are more prone to death. Some of these deaths could be preventable with regular routine medical check-ups.

Other than these benefits, a regular health check-up gives an opportunity to talk with your doctor about healthy lifestyle choices. You can also review any immunizations that may be due, or learn about new optional vaccines that may not even be on your radar. During this time, you may also discuss emotional problems like depression and stress. These health checkups help the patient to reduce risks of major illness slipping through the cracks and enable you to worry less about any potential risks.

Sun Life Family Health Center welcomes you to learn more about the healthcare services we offer. Sun Life offers continuous and comprehensive healthcare to individuals and the entire family. In addition to providing care when you are ill, we will also help you achieve a healthy lifestyle and work with you to help prevent future illness.


To help fill up your future medical calendar, these are the recommended ages for adult screenings and vaccines. It is important to become familiar with these lifelong milestones and coordinate a routine yearly schedule to maintain your overall health and wellness.

20 – The age when the American Cancer Society (ACS) recommends beginning annual skin cancer screenings.

21–29 – The age when women should begin getting a cervical screening every three years, according to the ACS.

30–65 – The age when women should begin getting a cervical screening combined with an HPV test every five years, according to the ACS.

50 – The age when men should begin getting prostate screenings, according to the ACS. Also the age when men and women should schedule their first colonoscopy.

60 – The age when men and women should get the shingles vaccine, according to the CDC, which recommends getting the vaccine regardless of whether you recall having had chickenpox.

65 – The age when men and women should receive the pneumococcal vaccine, according to the CDC. In addition, the age when women should get a bone density scan.

70 – The age when men should get a bone-density scan.



Create a Medical Routine for yourself and your family. Monitor your health, reduce your risk of getting sick and detect any potentially life-threatening health conditions with routine check-ups.


Silver Sneakers exercise classes are geared toward older adults. Photo by Michelle Chance


Doctors generally suggest regular activity is good for the body and mind, but as bodies age, keeping an exercise routine may prove difficult.

Only 28 to 34 percent of adults ages 65 to 74 are physically active, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Silver Sneakers is a program that offers free access to athletic classes and is often covered by Medicare and other types of insurance.

Copper Sky Recreation Center and Anytime Fitness provide Silver Sneakers classes in Maricopa.

“It’s primarily designed for adults age 65 years and older, but it’s just a low-intensity exercise program that is really appropriate for a lot of different populations,” said Stephanie Murphy, Silver Sneakers instructor at Copper Sky.

Murphy said the program is also beneficial for people with physical limitations and disabilities, regardless of age.

Copper Sky morning classes meet upstairs in a large dance studio at 9:30, Monday through Thursdays.

Led by Murphy’s direction and motivated by an upbeat, music playlist, participants transition from standing to seated exercises.

“There are a lot of options and a lot of variety in terms of exercise that are available and different modifications that people can do,” Murphy said.

It’s not just classes but a general health program. When 88-year-old Bryan Mitchell moved to Maricopa a couple years ago, he checked out Copper Sky’s resources.

“They said, ‘Are you Silver Sneakers?’ And I said, ‘What the hell is that?’ They said, ‘If you’re on Medicare, you may qualify.’ So, I checked, and sure enough, I do qualify, so I play out here for nothing. You can’t beat that.”

Murphy has taught Silver Sneakers classes for a year and a half and said she frequently sees improvements in balance and flexibility. Copper Sky offers four Silver Sneakers classes (classic, cardio, circuit and splash).

“I love being able to make the joy of exercise accessible to people of all ages and abilities and fitness levels,” Murphy said.

This story appears in the February issue of InMaricopa.


Only one of 17 Maricopa food establishments did not score excellent after being inspected by Pinal County’s health department Dec. 16-Jan. 15.

F.O.R. Maricopa’s food bank continued to have trouble with hot water at its distribution location in Santa Cruz Elementary School. Hand-washing sinks are required to provide water at 100 degrees within seconds. During inspection, after 10 minutes, hot water was at only 70 degrees. F.O.R. Maricopa was requested to correct the problem as soon as possible.

Excellent [No violations found]
Cilantro’s Mexican Cocina
Culver’s of Maricopa
Francisco’s Mexican Food
Fry’s Marketplace
Fry’s Marketplace – Deli
Fry’s Marketplace – Starbucks
Fry’s Marketplace – Sushi
Gyro Grill
Jack in the Box
Maricopa Head Start
Native Grill & Wings
The New HQ
Panda Express
Say Sushi
Tacos ‘N’ More

Satisfactory [Violations corrected during inspection]
F.O.R. Maricopa

Needs Improvement [Critical items noted during inspection cannot be corrected immediately requiring follow-up inspection]

Unacceptable [Gross, unsanitary conditions necessitating the discontinuation of service]

This item appears in the February issue of InMaricopa.

By Aaron Gilbert

Aaron Gilbert. Photo by William Lange


Hack 1: Eat slowly and to “satisfied” instead of “stuffed”

The most effective tool for healthy eating and weight loss resolutions may also be the simplest one: Eat slowly. And stop at “satisfied” instead of “stuffed.”

This strategy helps you avoid overeating for two main reasons:

Physiological: It takes 15-20 minutes for your digestive system to let your brain know you’re satisfied. Slowing down a meal allows that to happen before you overeat.

Psychological: When you slow down and savor your food, you feel content with much less. This means you’ll eat less and enjoy what you’ve eaten more.

Hack 2: Eat well on the go

When your busy schedule has you on the go, pack some smart snacks, such as:

Nuts and seeds
Cut fresh fruit
Grilled chicken breast
Quality protein bar (higher protein, lower sugar)
Plain Greek yogurt or cottage cheese
A few scoops or protein powder and PB2 – add water as needed
Quality meat jerky (lower in sodium and sugar)
Raw veggies and hummus
Celery with nut butter
Hard-boiled eggs
Tuna in a pouch

Hack 3: The “No Excuses” Workout

It’s one of the most common patterns we see among incoming Longevity Athletics clients: Folks who want to get (or stay) fit will exercise diligently for months, only to “fall off the wagon” for the entire year and battle with getting back into it to achieve resolutions. That’s why we came up with this short, simple and effective workout you can do anywhere.

Get the details on these exercises in the March issue of InMaricopa.



Aaron Gilbert, CSCS, is owner of Longevity Athletics.


This column appears in the February issue of InMaricopa.

Bryan Mitchell, 88, plays pickleball twice a week at Copper Sky. Photo by Victor Moreno


Bryan Mitchell will be 89 years old in April. A retired executive, he takes physical fitness seriously. On his own or with new friends, he has a fitness regimen for every week day.

“I watch my diet so that I get the right foods, but I don’t necessarily cut back on the sweets, so I gotta keep working at it,” he said.

A resident of the Redwood neighborhood of Glennwilde, Mitchell came to Maricopa after his 2015 retirement. It was actually his second retirement.

A native of Chicago, he worked his first career there with what was then the A.C. Neilsen Company (now The Neilsen Corporation). As a controller in the mid-‘80s, he was among staff transferred to New York. After two years, the struggling company reorganized and laid off those employees.

Opting not to return to Chicago, Mitchell took early retirement and became a real estate broker. It was his occupation for 28 years in New York, even after his wife died in 2012. He finally called it quits at the age of 86.

His daughter, Susan Bellfield, had moved to Maricopa to be near friends around 2005. She thought the community would be a good fit for her father. So, when she stayed with him after his retirement, she talked him into moving to Arizona.

“I like the weather here,” he said. “And it’s less expensive to live here.”

Attributing Mitchell’s long, independent life at least in part to physical activity is an easy assumption. He used to play tennis and racquetball. Once he moved to Maricopa, he was ready to try something new both for activity and society.

He heard talk at his church about one of the congregants playing pickleball in Province, and he set out to find out what it was and where it might be available to non-Province residents.

That led him to Copper Sky, where he fell in with a motley crew.

“I enjoyed it right from the beginning,” Mitchell said. “It took me a little while to learn it, but it’s really a lot of fun. I look forward to it. They’re a great bunch of people here, too. They’re a lot of fun to play with.”

Now he plays pickleball with a growing group of players at Copper Sky on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, he hits the treadmill at home, where he lives with “a little dog that’s about as old as I am in dog years.”

Mitchell promotes the benefits of pickleball to others looking for light recreation to stay active.

“It’s a great sport for almost any age and any condition,” he said. “You have people who are overweight, people who are underweight, old people, younger people. It’s good for everybody. And you get good exercise from it because they run you around.”

This story appears in the February issue of InMaricopa.


In the past five months, Pinal County has experienced an over-twofold elevation in the number of gonorrhea infections, compared to the prior five-year average.

Sexually transmitted infections are on the rise across the country, according to new data published by Pinal County Health Services. The city of Maricopa and its surrounding communities are no exception.

In a Dec.13 presentation to the Pinal County Board of Supervisors, Director of Pinal County Public Health Services District Dr. Shauna McIsaac said, despite certain sexually transmitted diseases reaching their lowest historical rate in the late 20th century, certain STIs have been on the rise in recent years.

“Although 20 years ago, gonorrhea rates were at historic lows, and syphilis was close to elimination, rates of sexually transmitted infections in the U.S. have now increased three years in a row,” McIsaac said.

Pinal County Public Health Services District


In 2017 alone, from January through September, Pinal County has seen an average of more than three new cases of syphilis per month, whereas the previous five years saw an average of less than one new case of syphilis per month.

Likewise, on average, 20-30 Pinal County patients tested positive for gonorrhea in the previous five years. In 2017 that average has jumped to nearly 40 patients testing positive per month.

The cause of this influx is difficult to precisely determine, Infectious Disease and Epidemiology Section Manager Graham Briggs said. However, he added, what is clear is the demographic where these spikes are being seen – young people and men who have sex with other men, also known as MSM.

People in those demographics tend to be those individuals engaged in riskier sexual behavior, Briggs said. This has little or nothing to do with their sexuality, he said, and instead had more to do with their reported behavior, such as repeated unprotected sex with multiple partners.

“In Pinal County, while we’re seeing an increase, we don’t know if it’s just because of an increase in MSM. We’re looking at the heterosexual couple being exposed,” Briggs said.

Pinal County has also seen a recent case of syphilis in a pregnant female, Briggs said, which can pose a danger to the child, as the STI can be passed congenitally.

At any rate, according to the Center for Disease Control, Americans ages 15-24, while only accounting for 27 percent of the sexually active population, account for 50 percent of known sexually transmitted infections.

Aside from unprotected sex with multiple partners, the CDC says this increased rate in that demographic is likely caused by any combination of factors, including biology, confidentiality concerns, insufficient screenings and lack of access to healthcare.

Biologically speaking, the CDC says young women are simply more susceptible to certain health issues, including most STIs. Additionally, young people don’t often receive CDC recommended screenings for STIs like chlamydia, nor do they disclose “risk behaviors” to their physicians.

The CDC also expresses concern that most young people either lack insurance or the transportation to access preventive services provided by local health departments and Planned Parenthood.

Factors such as these increase the degree of danger associated with the less-forgiving STIs such as syphilis, which, Briggs said, can cause irreversible harm if not treated during the initial stages of infection.

“We are really good at killing syphilis bacteria,” Briggs said. “What we’re not so good at is identifying infections early in people that don’t seek medical care.”

One telltale sign of syphilis infection sometimes over looked, Briggs said, is palmar-plantar rash – reddish, swollen spots that occur in the palms and bottoms of the feet.

When caught early, syphilis and gonorrhea are easily treated with penicillin and antibiotics, respectively.

The appearance of a new antibiotic-resistant form of gonorrhea, however, also has Briggs and other officials concerned.

The CDC says there are nearly 820,000 new gonorrhea infections a year in the United States, making the prospect of a drug-resistant form of the STI all the more disheartening.

To combat STIs, the CDC suggests, multiple courses of action.

First, officials suggest abstaining from sexual activity. Second, those who engage in sexual activity, are encouraged to use protection, especially condoms, and keep their number of sexual partners to a minimum. Third, the CDC recommends biannual medical exams, which include STI screenings, and communication with sexual partners to encourage them to also receive regular screenings.

Maricopa residents can obtain low- or no-cost screening and prevention at the Maricopa office of Pinal County Health Services, 41600 W. Smith-Enke Road, Suite 15, near the Maricopa Public Library.

For a full list of Pinal County Health Department location, visit their website.


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Submitted photo

Chef Gabriel Gardner, culinary arts instructor at Central Arizona College-Maricopa, shares holiday recipes. The healthy option is a recipe of his own making for roasted winter vegetables. The other is his grandmother’s peach custard pie, which will likely take a little longer to work off after the holidays.



2 medium yams

1 head cauliflower

6 red potatoes

4 parsnips

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

Seasonings: thyme, cumin, chili oil, garam masala, rosemary (use your imagination)


Cauliflower: Trim, wash and dry. Cut out core and break into small florets, cut large ones in half. Place in roasting pan. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with white pepper and thyme or cumin. Toss to distribute spices and oil.

Yams: Peel and cut into 1-inch cubes. Place in roasting pan. Drizzle with olive oil. Toss. Sprinkle with cinnamon or cardamom, or fold in 2 tablespoons diced candied ginger.

Parsnips: Peel. Cut 2 inches long and quarter to make rough batonnet cuts. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper.

Red potatoes: Cut into small wedges. Toss with olive oil, season with pepper, chopped fresh rosemary and a small amount of salt.


Preheat oven to 425. Line sheet pan with parchment paper. Arrange vegetables on pans in single layer. Place pans in oven, and roast 20-30 minutes or until tender and lightly browned. Turn the vegetables a few times during the roasting. Conventional oven works best.

Notes: Vegetables may be roasted in the same pan, but should be a single layer. Enjoy hot or cold, or even as a roasted vegetable salad.



Submitted photo


1 egg, beaten

1 cup sugar

2 teaspoons flour

1 stick melted butter

6 sliced peaches

1 pre-baked pie shell


  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Line shell with peaches.
  3. Mix together flour and sugar, add egg and butter.
  4. Pour custard over peaches.
  5. Bake pie 15 minutes at 375, then 45 minutes at 350.
  6. Cool completely before slicing.

Recipe courtesy of Martha Gardner

This column appears in the December issue of InMaricopa.

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WIC is making it easier for clients to pay for groceries

Women, Infants and Children (WIC) offices around the county introduced a new form of payment for their clients recently.

On Oct. 17, the WIC nutrition program rolled out its “eWIC” cards, which replaced the checks recipients formerly used to pay for groceries at the register.

“Instead of having to go use the checks – and use the entire check – now they are able to get one gallon of milk, or one loaf of bread, or whatever they need rather than having to spend an entire check at once,” said WIC Supervisor Brandon Boatman.

With the new payment system, recipients can also download an app on their phones listing food items available for purchase throughout the month.

The Maricopa WIC office, located inside the Pinal County Public Health Department Clinic at 41600 W. Smith-Enke Road, helps pregnant and post-partum women, as well as children up to age 5.

Applicants must meet income-based criteria to participate.

“If you qualify for WIC, you also have the ability to see one of our WIC nutritionists and in Maricopa they actually have a registered dietician who sees high-risk clients,” Boatman said.

To learn if you qualify and for more information, call 1-866-960-0633. The local office is open for appointments 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday through Friday.

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Aaron Gilbert. Photo by William Lange

By Aaron Gilbert

Are you waiting for the “perfect time” to start eating better, exercising or finally getting in shape? Are you putting off that dream trip, new project or that skill you’ve been meaning to learn?

Human beings are always “waiting for the perfect time.” But why?

For many, it’s a great distraction and justification. It helps us avoid the real – and risky – work of doing. For others, perfectionism and avoidance serve as strong armor against potential embarrassment, criticism and failure.

“I could ___ but ___” keeps us safe from pain.

Unfortunately, it’s also what keeps us from growing, thriving and being who we know we have the potential to be. That’s why all-or-nothing thinking – If I don’t do this perfectly then it’s worthless – rarely gets us “all.” It usually gets us “nothing.”

What to do next:

1. Revise your expectations. Recognize there is no perfect time and there never will be. There is only now.

  1. Carve out time, even if it’s imperfect. Nobody will give that time to you. You’ll need to take it. Give yourself permission to make yourself – and your fitness and health goals – a priority. Find the time you need in your schedule.

Don’t have time for an hour-long workout? No problem. How much time do you have? Twenty minutes? Ten minutes? Work with what you’ve got.

Don’t expect things to go perfectly smoothly. Instead, anticipate and strategize. Instead of waiting for things to slow down, start making something happen right now, in the middle of the mess.

  1. Just start. If you feel stuck, just do something. Anything. Find the smallest possible thing you can do right now, in the next five minutes, and do it. Now you’ve started!

At my personal training studio, we concentrate on finding “five-minute actions.” Instead of coming up with the biggest, grandest scheme, think about what you could do in just five minutes to help move yourself – even just a tiny bit – in the direction of your goals. Then, go do it.

  1. Expect resistance. It’s normal. Push through it. Resistance doesn’t mean this won’t work. It just means you’ve started.

You only have to get through this moment. This moment of starting will be the hardest. Luckily, it won’t last long.

  1. Get support. Let go of the concept of the lone hero. Instead, start building your support systems. Whether it’s a friend or family member, workout buddy or a coach, find someone to fire up your booster rockets until you can fly on your own.

Aaron Gilbert, CSCS, is owner of Longevity Athletics.


This column appears in the November issue of InMaricopa.

Paula Powers (left) and Terri Robinson said it is important to find support at work and other outlets besides family during the fight against cancer. Photo by Mason Callejas

Twelve percent of American women will suffer from breast cancer in their lifetime, according to the American Cancer Society. That’s one in eight.

Though modern treatment has improved the survival rate of most patients to better than 70 percent in the worst cases and near 100 percent in the best cases, the affliction still takes its toll on those diagnosed, and their loved ones.

Now, as the country celebrates Breast Cancer Awareness Month this month, Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino once again rolled out its support for those affected by cancer by hosting events such as their annual Battle of the Bras, and by raising money for cancer research.

However, Harrah’s does more than just support the greater cause, cancer survivor and casino employee Paula “Princess” Powers said.

With nearly 30 percent of the casino’s employees having been diagnosed with cancer at one point or the other, she said, there is a unique network to tap into. Often times, relying on close family and friends as your sole support system can be trying.

“Family is not your [main] support system,” Powers said. “They are, but it’s probably harder on them than it is on you.”

That’s why she and so many others offer support at work, she said.

Powers has been a Harrah’s employee for roughly 10 years. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in November 2012, one week before Thanksgiving. Only six months later, in April 2013, she was declared to be in remission, but that wasn’t the end of it for her, she said.

Now she helps wherever she can.

Paula “Princess” Powers. Phot o by Mason Callejas

Not only does the casino itself provide help to the employees through their collective support, but it also sometimes helps minimize the financial fallout that comes with a cancer diagnosis.

Per their website, the Harrah’s Employee Assistance Relief Trust, or HEART fund, “is designed to provide financial assistance to team members who face an unforeseen crisis, which results in financial hardship.”

One of the recipients of the HEART fund, casino employee Terri Robinson, said the program quickly provided financial assistance that helped her afford the costly drugs used to treat cancer.

“I was told to apply, and it was like that day, or the next morning that I had [their] help,” Robinson said. “In my case, it helped with medical bills and helped start my chemo treatment again.”

Robinson has been a Harrah’s employee for just over three years. Less than a year after coming on board in 2015, she said, she was diagnosed. In February of this year she was finally declared to be in remission.

Having access to a great support network among her co-workers, and surprisingly even some of the guests, has helped tremendously, she said.

“One day, out of the blue, [a guest] asked if I was a survivor, and this was partially covered,” Robinson said as she pointed at the pink ribbon and butterfly tattoo she has on her forearm. “It’s just amazing, the support.”

Terri Robinson. Photo by Mason Callejas

As of the publication of this article, Robinson was awaiting the result of another test which could unfortunately show her cancer has returned. Regardless of the results, she said, she will press on.

“It’s hard to be positive sometimes,” Robinson said. “Princess always asks how I’m doing, or says, ‘Hang in there,’ so when you have somebody else fighting the fight, it helps.”

Both Robinson and Powers said it’s important to not be afraid to reach out and ask for help. But, they said, the No. 1 thing that has helped them was staying positive.

“You have to stay positive,” Powers said. “The slightest amount of negativity and you could fall off.”

Terri Robinson’s cancer-survivor tattoo. Photo by Mason Callejas

Sponsored content

From left to right: Jared Hatchard, Community Pharmacy Operations Manager, Kenny Leutz, Pharmacy Manager- Florence, Matthew Bertsch, Director of Pharmacy on University of Arizona College of Pharmacy Graduation day 2017

By Matthew Bertsch, Director of Pharmacy
Sun Life Family Health Center

Giving back to the communities that we work in is extremely fulfilling. When hiring for rural healthcare, one needs to find someone who is

Know your Pharmacist

Get to know your Pharmacist on a first name basis to be engaged and better understand your health and well-being. Never be afraid to ask your Pharmacist a question. No appointment needed. #OneSmallChange

dedicated and passionate, and strives to make the community a healthier place. Recruiting and retaining great employees is of the utmost importance to the success of an organization embedded in rural healthcare. We at Sun Life hired Kenny Leutz onto our pharmacy team in November of 2015. Kenny was one of our first true “homegrown” Pharmacy Managers. We trained Kenny from Intern through Pharmacist and now we are preparing him for his role as Pharmacy Manager at our site in Florence. As is the case with many pharmacists graduating from pharmacy schools around the nation, there is the desire to spread the message that pharmacists, in general, are more than meets the eye. The career is no longer just about filling and looking at prescriptions and medications. The career is focused on patient safety, and making certain that patients leave our hands with the best possible outcomes.

Kenny Leutz answered the following questions regarding pharmacists and patient care.

How can a pharmacist improve patient care?

“Pharmacists can play an important role in providing comprehensive health care to every patient that they have. Pharmacists verify that appropriate medications are prescribed to patients, free from dosing errors, serious drug-drug interactions and drug-disease interactions. Additionally, patients need to be counseled on how to take medications correctly. Having the right medication prescribed means nothing if the patient is not educated on when medications should be taken, how they should be taken, and signs that the medication can be harmful instead of helpful.

Kenny verifies prescriptions during his training as a
staff pharmacist at the Casa Grande location

What do community health centers mean to rural healthcare?

“Community health centers are extremely important to residents of rural communities mainly because access to health care is so limited. Many residents of rural Arizona lack health care coverage, have lower than average income, lack physical access to health care facilities, and have no supplemental support that is needed to live a healthy lifestyle. Community health centers are essential to help bridge this gap in care to underserved communities by providing primary and preventive care, health education, mental health, pediatric, dental, and pharmacy services among others.”

What do you see in your future?

“I see myself continuing to work in rural communities providing quality, comprehensive health care. I feel that I can play a larger role in rural communities due to the limited number of providers and resources that are available”. Pharmacy, in general, is so much more than meets the eye. It is the assistance with over-the-counter medications, education of the patient at the time of prescription pickup and the friendliness of the familiar face when patients visit regularly that is expected of pharmacists. What is rarely seen is the work behind the scenes, the constant communication with providers, ensuring proper medication dosages, and the careful preparation of prescriptions that often pharmacists do not get recognized for. We, as pharmacists, take pride in the quality of care that we offer patients.

For questions regarding Sun Life’s pharmacy services or any of our 13 locations please call Sun Life Family Health Center at 520- 836-3446 or visit our website at www. sunlifefamilyhealth.org.

By Aaron Gilbert

Aaron Gilbert. Photo by William Lange

What is fish oil? Fish oil is, well, oil from fish.

It’s rich in two groups of omega-3 fatty acids known as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). DHA and EPA, along with alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), found in things like flax and walnuts, fall under the subheading of omega-3 fatty acids.

EPA and DHA are often cited as being the beneficial components of fish oil. EPA and DHA originate in algae, which is the base of the food chain for fish. Fish consume algae and thus concentrate high amounts of the beneficial fats.

Why is fish oil so important?

Overall health

Omega-3’s are very important to cardiovascular function, nervous system function and brain development, and immunity health. Research shows low DHA consumption (and blood levels) is associated with memory loss, difficulty concentrating, Alzheimer’s disease and mood problems.

Cell membranes

Essential fats play an integral role in promoting cell health. Human cells have a fatty membrane (lipid bilayer) that is semi-permeable. It regulates what gets into the cell and what goes out of it. The fluidity of cell membranes depends on the fatty acid composition of the diet.

Metabolic health

Finally, DHA and EPA can increase metabolism by increasing levels of enzymes that boost calorie-burning ability.

Omega-3 to omega-6 ratio

It’s easy for us to get omega-6 fatty acids. These are found in plant oils and factory-raised animals, which are fed a lot of corn and soy.

But it’s hard for people in western countries to get omega-3 fats from dietary sources. We eat a lot more processed foods and a lot less wild game and plants than our ancestors did. And we don’t usually eat things like snails and insects, which are also high in omega-3, like are common in diets elsewhere in the world. We rely heavily now on omega-6 vegetable oils.

What you should know

We can’t make omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in our bodies, so we need to get them from our diets.


  1. Aim for 3-9 daily grams of total fish oil (about 1-3 grams of EPA + DHA) per day from a supplement company that doesn’t contribute directly to the depletion of fish (e.g., they use primarily fish discards).
  2. Look for small-fish-based formulations (e.g. herring, mackerel). Small fish are lower on the food chain and less likely to accumulate environmental toxins. Or choose krill oil or algae oil.
  3. Avoid cod liver oil.
  4. Avoid trans fats; they can interfere with EPA & DHA in the body.
  5. Limit consumption of corn, cottonseed and sunflower oil (omega-6-rich vegetable oils), which negatively alter your fatty acid ratio.

Aaron Gilbert, CSCS, is founder/owner of Longevity Athletics.

520-261-4661; Aaron@LongevityAthletics.com

This column appears in the October issue of InMaricopa.

Sponsored content

Orthodontists Tyler and Dustin Coles

Maricopa orthodontists Tyler and Dustin Coles rooted their business in the community when the city was in the midst of historical growth.

“During the housing boom of the mid 2000s, we noticed that there was no orthodontist in Maricopa,” Tyler Coles said. “We decided that it would be a great place to start a practice that could grow with the town.”

For the past 12 years, the Coles have treated over 10,000 patients in Maricopa and their four other locations.

The family’s local office is unique, with cool, slushy drinks and warm, baked cookies ready for patients while they wait.

“We like to think of ourselves as the one orange in the sea of apples,” said Dustin Coles.

Dustin said the recognition they have received for their intricate work is as individualized as the clients they treat.

Premier Orthodontics offers traditional, metal braces, clear aligners, as well as oral surgery and other teeth-straightening options.

“Our practice has won an award from Invisalign for treating the hardest case in the country,” Dustin said.

In addition to its day-to-day operations, Dustin and Tyler said they like to give back to their community through charity work.

“We also have pledged to treat 100 kids a year pro bono, through the Smiles Change Lives foundation,” Dustin said. “It’s our way of saying ‘thanks’ and helping those in need.”

Premier operates out of Chandler/Gilbert, Casa Grande, North Phoenix/Scottsdale and Central Phoenix. Coles said Maricopa customers can visit any Premier office if they need to be seen while visiting the Valley.

“We love what we do, and that we are here to serve the people of Maricopa for the long haul,” Dustin Coles said.




This item appears in the InMaricopa Health Guide.

by -
Aaron Gilbert. Photo by William Lange

By Aaron Gilbert

What are Kettlebells?

Kettlebells are iron or steel balls with a flattened bottom on one end and a curved handle on the other. Kettlebells are used both for general fitness training and competitive sport.

They improve whole-body, dynamic movement for strength, endurance and power. They are used by sports teams, those who train at home, world-class athletes and folks who want to burn fat and build muscle.

Kettlebell Advantages

  • They are a room-efficient gym you can take anywhere and use anywhere.
  • By varying the weights used, you can use the same movement for cardio, strength-endurance, speed or power.
  • You can do swings, presses, pulls, squatting-type movements and dynamic work.
  • Because kettlebell movements involve the whole body, you work upper and lower body strength concurrently and time effectively.
  • The focus on form for shoulder work helps strengthen and stabilize the shoulder joint.

Getting Started: Find a coach


The best start for any kettlebell user is to begin with finding a skilled and experience coach.

A trained eye can evaluate key parts of foundational moves, such as:

  • proper grip/wrist alignment with the bell.
  • foot-to-knee position.
  • shoulder action.
  • appropriate back alignment.

A few sessions with a coach is the best way to help learn and refine these elegant moves.

Summary and Recommendations

 Kettlebells are a fabulous and often-overlooked tool for strength training and general fitness improvements. The mileage one can get from a single kettlebell is hard to match with any other training tool. As the kettlebell’s signature movements are dynamic, they blend the benefits of multiple joint strength lifts with power and endurance work.

Kettlebell work also helps develop forearm, hand and finger strength because of numerous options for grip, and various weights dynamically challenging the grip repeatedly and at high speeds.

A single kettlebell workout can include a great variety of pushes, pulls and power movements. Because of the options of varying weight and sets, kettlebells offer fat-burning alternatives to bikes or treadmills. Kettlebells engage the whole body with a single tool that is small, portable and affordable for home use.

Whether looking for conditioning, fat-burning, raw strength or power, it’s worth looking into kettlebell training.

Aaron Gilbert, CSCS, is founder/owner of Longevity Athletics.



This column appears in the September issue of InMaricopa.

This is the third story of a four-part series on the crisis, care and prevention of opioid abuse, which was recently named an epidemic by the governor's office.

Naloxone is sold over the counter to combat the effects of an opioid overdose.

One of the best options for saving an opioid overdose patient is to use an opiate antagonist like naloxone.  

Pharmacies in the Maricopa area are confirmed to carry one or more forms of naloxone.

Arizona Department of Health Services’ Real Time Opioid Data tracker estimates as of Aug. 24, there have been 1,961 suspected opioid overdoses, 1,339 doses of naloxone administered to those overdose patients, and an estimated 1,050 of those patients being successfully revived by the antagonist.

It’s important to note these are conservative estimates. Sometimes when users encounter the stronger forms of opiates such as heroin laced with fentanyl and carfentanil, multiple doses of naloxone are needed to revive the individual.

As of June 9, Arizona has joined more than 25 other states in creating a standing order” for naloxone, making it available without prescription over the counter at most pharmacies.

Anyone near someone who may heavily use opioids or opiates, prescription or otherwise, are recommended to obtain some form of naloxone to use in the event of an overdose.

Though in limited supply, pharmacies typically offer naloxone in two forms.

The most common form is a nasal spray called Narcan, which typically comes in a two-dose package and costs around $140 without insurance.

The next most common is a generic naloxone injection typically sold in 1-milileter, single-dose vials at around $25 a piece without insurance, or in a two-dose kit for around $50.

Another, less common, form of naloxone is being manufactured in the form if an auto-injector similar to an EpiPen, called Evizo. Costs of the auto-injector can be $500 or more.


Pharmacies in the Maricopa area are confirmed to carry one or more forms of naloxone. Most, including CVS, Walgreens, Walmart and Bashas’ pharmacies, carry at least the Narcan nasal spray. Though not regularly stocked with naloxone injections, most are willing to order them.

For those with insurance, naloxone can be significantly cheaper. For those without insurance coupons are available and organizations such as Sonoran Prevention Works will deliver free naloxone and offer instruction on how to administer it.


Part 1: How the addiction begins

Part 2: Stronger and deadlier than ever

Part 4: Recovery & Rehabilitation

Aaron Gilbert. Photo by William Lange

By Aaron Gilbert

When you are well-hydrated and conditions are awesome in your body, various processes preserve fluid and electrolyte balance. If you become dehydrated due to illness, stress, exercise, climate variations, supplements, foods or beverages, life-threatening imbalances may occur – major bummer.

Symptoms of dehydration include:

  • thirst
  • dry skin
  • fatigue and weakness
  • increased body temperature
  • muscle cramping
  • headaches
  • nausea
  • dry mucous membranes (mouth, nose, eyes)

Severe dehydration can also include:

  • muscle spasms
  • vomiting
  • dark urine
  • vision problems
  • loss of consciousness
  • kidney and liver failure


Exercise and Dehydration

During exercise, we need more water. The enhanced metabolic rate of muscle contraction requires a larger delivery of nutrients and oxygen along with faster waste and heat removal from the body – water makes this happen.

Loss of plasma volume during prolonged exercise by dehydration diminishes performance in part because of the associate reduction in stroke volume and increases in heart rate known as cardiovascular drift. So, to maximize your performance potential while exercising, stay hydrated.


If no fluids are going to be consumed during exercise, pre-hydrate with the following regimen:

  • 16 ounces of fluid on the night before exercise
  • 16 ounces of fluid in the morning
  • 16-30 ounces of fluid, 1 hour before exercise
  • 8-16 ounces 20 minutes before exercise

While dehydration is a concern, over-hydration or water intoxication is also something to watch for when consuming your fluids. Hyponatremia is a sodium electrolyte disorder that is associated with drinking excessive amounts of water that can result in death. EEK! Don’t be alarmed, cases are rare and you’d have to consume gallons and gallons of water in a relatively short amount of time for it to be a concern.


Tips for Avoiding Dehydration:

Be aware of thirst cues.

For men, an average of 16 cups or 128 ounces of water a day from fluid and non-fluid sources (e.g. fruits and vegetables) is adequate.

For women, an average of 11 cups or 88 ounces.

Keep in mind there is extreme variability in water needs based on climate and physical activity levels.

Consume nutrient-dense foods/beverages after exercise to assist in the re-hydrating process.

Those with a history of cramping and “salty sweat” should consider adding salt to foods/beverages after exercising (a quarter to half teaspoon).

For every pound of sweat lost during exercise, rehydrate with 2 cups of fluid.

Aaron Gilbert, CSCS, is founder/owner of Longevity Athletics.



This column appears in the August issue of InMaricopa.


By Joan Koczor

Dementia has become a growing concern for many, and its effects are long-reaching.

Joan Koczor

A person suffering from dementia often experiences confusion, problems speaking and inability to focus. Often the family of a person diagnosed with dementia feels a sense of loss. Overnight, it seems, they are robbed of this person and the important part they played in the family dynamic.

I am not an expert in this field but have been fortunate to meet those who are through seminars and workshops.

The following information comes from Wikipedia.com, MedicineNet.com and persons knowledgeable about this disease. I hope you find it helpful.

Dementia is a broad category of brain diseases that cause a long-term and often gradual decrease in the ability to think and remember that is great enough to affect a person’s daily functioning. The most common type of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease, which makes up 50 to 70 percent of cases.

Symptoms include memory loss, word-finding difficulties, impaired judgment and problems with day-to-day activities, which are caused by injury or loss of brain cells (neurons). Increased risk factors for dementia include older age, family history, heavy alcohol use, hardening of arteries, high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol and smoking.

Once the brain cells are injured, they lose their ability to communicate with other cells, leading to dysfunction.

The types of dementia include Lewy body dementia, vascular dementia and frontotemporal dementia. There is dementia associated with Parkinson’s disease or Huntington’s disease. Senile dementia (“senility”) is a term that was once used to describe all dementias; this term is no longer used as a diagnosis.

The stages of dementia:

Stage 1: No impairment – The patient has no problems.

Stage 2: Questionable impairment – The patient begins to have some difficulty but can still function independently.

Stage 3: Mild impairment – The patient has obvious but still mild difficulty with daily activities.

Stage 4: Moderate impairment – The patient needs help caring for themselves.

There is help out there. Pinal Gila Council for Seniors is in Casa Grande. Caliche Senior Living in Casa Grande has an Adult Day Care Club that provides a necessary respite for caregivers as well as providing a safe environment for their loved one. Banner Alzheimer’s Institute is in Phoenix with more resources.

This is just a sample of the help that is available.

Joan Koczor is an advocate for Maricopa seniors and a member of the Age-Friendly Maricopa Advisory Committee.

This column appears in the August issue of InMaricopa.

Aaron Gilbert. Photo by William Lange

By Aaron Gilbert

Whether vegan or paleo, some carbs or no carbs, almost all “health-conscious diets” agree on one thing: You should eat your greens!

Despite unique taste preferences, almost anyone can learn to love their veggies daily with this easy 3-step formula. It creates flavor combos that balance out the bitterness and taste great.

Step 1 – Challenge Yourself

Choose a vegetable you’ve avoided in the past or have been a little afraid to try. Research shows veggie distaste is reduced with exposure. It can take 3-4 tries to start liking something you previously didn’t.

Least Bitter to Most Bitter

1 – Spinach

2 – Asparagus

3 – Broccoli

4 – Brussels Spouts

5 – Belgian Endive

6 – Swiss Chard

7 – Collard Greens

8 – Kale

9 – Chicories

10 – Rapini

11 – Radicchio

12 – Dandelion Greens


Step 2 – Complement Your Greens

Select 1-3 complementary items for your veggie from these categories:


Crushed red pepper

Chopped fresh chilies

Smoked paprika

Black pepper

Chopped garlic




Fresh lemon juice

Fresh lime juice

Vinegar (wine, cider, or rice)

Preserved vegetable (pickles, chilies, etc.)

Fermented vegetables (sauerkraut, kimchi, etc.)



Dijon mustard






Brined cheese (feta, etc.)

Complements create flavor harmony, pushing several taste buttons at the same time. This covers up the certain “veggie flavors” you may not enjoy.


Step 3 – Buffer the Bitterness

Select 1-2 buffering items for your veggie.


Maple syrup


Cooked onions

Fortified wine


Oranges, tangerines, mandarin




Chopped Walnuts

Olive oil

Cooked bacon


Soft cheese (goat, etc.)

Sliced almonds


Don’t freak out if these buffers sound calorie-dense. It only takes a little bit to balance out bitterness, not a cup of oil or a pound of bacon.


Step 4 – Pick your method

Wash your vegetable thoroughly. If cooking, chop them into equal-sized pieces.


Cut veggies to desired size and arrange them on your plate.

Top with complements and buffers.

Recommended veggies:



Brussels sprouts

Belgian endive





Place veggies in a single layer in steam pot with 1 inch of water.

Cook over high heat for 3 min.

Garnish with complements and buffers.

Recommended Veggies:





Place damp veggies in single layer in sauté pan with a drizzle of cooking oil.

Cook on medium-high for about 10 min.

Add salty, sweet and/or spice midway through cooking.

Garnish with sour and/or fat.

Recommended veggies:

Belgian endive

Swiss chard

Collard greens

Dandelion greens





Place veggies in single layer in large pot over medium heat; drizzle with cooking oil.

Add salty, spice and/or sweet along with enough water to half-submerge veggies.

Lower heat, cover and cook until tender but still firm, 15-45 min.

Garnish with sour and or fat.

Recommended veggies:

Belgian endive

Swiss chard

Collard greens

Dandelion greens




Aaron Gilbert, CSCS is founder/owner of Longevity Athletics.



This column appears in the July issue of InMaricopa.


Kelly Antone explains the process

Kelly Antone and his wife Stephanie Burnette-Antone have teamed up to get healthy. Photo by Michelle Chance

A Maricopa man stepped on a scale Thursday evening and learned he dropped nearly 110 pounds in less than five months.

Kelly Antone began his journey in January when he and his wife Stephanie Burnette-Antone walked into Copa Craze. The couple was looking for a solution to health problems they said were caused in part by being overweight.

A history of high blood pressure and painful back and knee pain were motivators for Kelly Antone, who works seven days a week irrigating crops at Ak-Chin Farms.

Kelly Antone has been gradually shrinking since starting his current regimen of diet and exercise. Now his photo hangs on the wall at Copa Craze.

The strenuous, 10-hour days spent working in the heat were made worse by his extra weight, he said.

Irrigating fields requires workers to spend approximately half their day bent over small canals, siphoning water through tubes from the ditches to the crops.

“I started out at 475 pounds,” Antone said. “Four hundred seventy five pounds doesn’t really go too well with walking on little boards (across the canals).  I’d be breaking boards and the little edges on the ditches just trying to start the pipes.”

After work, friends and family described him as a “walking corpse,” depleted of energy. As the New Year rolled around, he knew it was time for a change, and so did his wife.

Stephanie Burnette-Antone said she is diabetic and had high blood sugar levels, sustained, she said, because of certain lifestyle choices.

“It was mainly because we were always eating out,” she said.

One day in mid-January the couple met wellness coach Nathan Smith.

“He came through that door and you could see it in his eyes that he was ready,” Smith said.

Kelly and Stephanie began replacing two meals a day with shakes and incorporated a daily fitness routine.

Since then, Stephanie’s blood sugar levels have become normal and Smith said Kelly has lost an average of around 22 pounds per month.

“It’s not typical to lose that much that quick,” Smith said, adding the fact that Kelly had more weight to lose than most as another factor to the rapid loss.

However, Smith also attributes Kelly Antone’s success to his dedication, as well as to his support system.

“When you have somebody in the picture that you don’t want to let down, then you work harder to do that,” Smith said.

The couple wed in March, crossing off another goal that Kelly said motivated them to get healthy.

Their dynamic is a marriage of love and enthusiasm, with both partners encouraging the other to keep at it.

“There was one point where I wanted to quit because it was getting too rough for me, but she’s my backbone on this and she kept pushing me forward,” Kelly said.

A photo of Kelly Antone now hangs on the florescent-green “wall of fame” inside Copa Craze, a tribute to his success.

But Kelly said he is not done. By the end of October, he plans to lose another 100 pounds.

“This is only one step for me,” he said. “I’ve got a few more steps to go and I’m going to get there.”

Sponsored Content

By Andrew H. Jones

Oral hygiene is essential to a person’s overall health. “The simple acts of brushing and flossing are instilled in us so that we maintain our “pearly whites;” yet, oral health is much more than clean teeth; it involves the gums and their supporting tissues, the palate, the lining of the mouth and throat, the tongue, the lips, the salivary glands, the chewing muscles, the nerves, and the bones of the upper and lower jaws” (Benjamin, 2010). Good oral hygiene is important not only for social interactions with others, for a self-esteem aspect, but also imperative for heart health too. Let us explore how oral hygiene effects the body.

TIP of the Month

Oral Care
Oral health tips are easy to come by; but putting them into
practice is sometimes not. Don’t make oral health care a Morning
& Night only routine. Include it in your daily work schedule.

Diseased, crooked or missing teeth can interfere with speech; compromise the ability to chew food properly without difficulty and pain. Bacteria from improper oral care of the mouth will lead to infection in other parts of the body.

  • Heart disease – Bacteria in the bloodstream can travel to the heart and lead to a heart attack.
  • Endocarditis – Bacteria may find its way to the inner linings of the heart and valves, which in turn, create growth pockets of bacteria. These pockets cause inflammation and infection of the inner linings of the heart.
  • Stroke – It is a belief that oral bacteria may be a contributing factor to the arteries narrowing as well as blood clots easily forming because of the body’s negative response to the bacteria in the bloodstream.
  • Inflammation – Inflamed gums and bleeding may cause systemic inflammation.
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis – It is a known fact that periodontal disease will worsen the pain already suffered by those inflicted with this autoimmune disorder.
  • Lung Condition – Those already suffering from COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and pneumonia may have their condition worsened due to an increase of bacteria in their lungs from the lack of good oral hygiene” (Six health problems linked to bad oral hygiene, 2017).

For those who need a refresher, here is why oral health is so crucial: Every time you eat, food particles stick to your teeth. If you do not brush and floss daily, the particles attract bacteria and form a slimy coating on teeth called plaque. With less than a week of inattentiveness, plaque calcifies into hard tartar that does not come off without dental assistance, and begins to lodge into the gum line. Thus, the gums become inflamed (gingivitis) the first stage of periodontal (gum) disease; little pockets open up between the teeth and the gums. Over time, the pockets get bigger, driven by festering bacteria that eat away at the tooth and its supporting architecture, eventually consuming it.

Prevention is always the best form of health care.

  • Establish daily brushing and flossing routines
  • Dental check-ups every six months
  • Avoid tobacco, high-sugar content foods and beverages

“Oral health can be a gateway to your overall well-being. Oral hygiene, a balanced diet, and regular dental visits can help reduce the risk of developing oral health issues and disease (Dr. Maryam Mahmood, DMD, Sun Life Family Health Center, 2017). Sun Life Family Dentistry offers comprehensive services to prevent, diagnose and treat those who may be suffering from oral health discomfort to achieve dental health that we all desire. Our highly trained and skilled providers are advanced with cutting-edge technology in dentistry to provide the most current treatment options for our patients. Standing true to the Sun Life Family Health Center Vision: Excellence in: Health – Wellness – Education


Dr. Maryam Mahmood, DMD – Sun Life Family Health Center, 2017

MD, MBA Benjamin, R. M. (Mar-Apr 2010). Oral Health: The Silent Epidemic. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2821841/ 

Six health problems linked to bad oral hygiene. (2017). Retrieved from https://www.dentalhealth.org/blog/blogdetails/96




Aaron Gilbert. Photo by William Lange

By Aaron Gilbert

What is warming up?

Warming up prepares the body for more intense movement and activity. It literally “warms up” the body by increasing core temperature.

A proper warm-up consists of movements that:

  • Move joints through their full ranges of motion
  • Enhance mobility
  • Release connective tissue bonds
  • Distribute fluid in the joint space
  • Boost speed/force of muscle contractions
  • Promote oxygen uptake

Why warming up is important

While age-related body changes and water loss can contribute to inflexibility, most of it comes down to “use it or lose it.” A proper warm-up helps counteract negative effects of aging while enhancing performance. Not warming up can lead to poor mobility/flexibility, injuries and stiffness.

Warm-up Types

Movements used during a warm-up might include:

  • Movements intended to get the core temperature up and the whole body moving (e.g. brisk walking or light jogging while swinging the arms)
  • Dynamic movements such as stretching while moving (e.g. walking lunges for hip flexibility, or tipping your head side to side for neck mobility)
  • Foam rolling should be included before the dynamic movements as part of a warm-up since it helps with mobility and breaks down scar tissue/adhesions. This relaxes the fascia and makes muscle more pliable.

Flexibility, mobility and injury

Some consider the warm-up a time to build flexibility and mobility. Flexibility is the capacity of a joint to move freely through a full range of motion. Mobility is our ability to produce a desired movement. Both are based on the elasticity of muscle, ligaments and connective tissues, but while poor mobility is correlated with injury, poor flexibility is not necessarily.

We want some areas to be more mobile but other areas to be more stable and strong. For most folks, this means it’s important to mobilize:

  • Front of shoulders
  • Ankles
  • Front of hips and IT band
  • Hamstrings
  • Thoracic spine

Tightness in these areas can contribute to tears and impingements.

Nearly 70 percent of the population will suffer from a shoulder disorder at some point in their lifetime — largely due to the inherent instability of the joint combined with the modern “rounded back” posture that pulls the shoulders forward and hunches the upper back.

While minimal flexibility is related to injury, performing static stretching (exclusively) during a warm-up doesn’t seem to decrease injuries. And too much stretching and flexibility may even increase the rate of injury. Many people, in fact, suffer injuries caused by excessive movement and flexibility in the:

  • Shoulder joint
  • Knees (especially women)
  • Cervical and lumbar spines

Summary and recommendations

Consider your warm-up period an essential part of the workout – not optional free time. It’ll make you stronger and improve your body control, balance, movement mechanics and agility.

Most benefits of a warm-up come from actually warming up the body, which can be accomplished by 4 to 15 minutes of dynamic movements. Find a warm-up that makes your body feel the best, and one that you can stick with.

This column appears in the June issue of InMaricopa.

Locally, Derrick Warford is known as the defensive coordinator for Maricopa High School's football team. But he wants to spread physical and emotional wellness among all youth. Photo by William Lange

Born with a heart defect that caused him two heart attacks before his 36th birthday, Derrick Warford wants to spread wellness among the youth – physically, mentally and behaviorally.

What: AZEA Wellness Tour
When: June 24, 9 a.m-6 p.m.
Where: Ram Stadium, Maricopa High School, 45012 W. Honeycutt Ave.
How much: Event is free; 7-on-7 Passing Tournament $175 per team
Info: Facebook.com/AZEACLUB

A social services technician and one-time professional football player, Warford is an assistant football coach at Maricopa High School and heads AZ Elite Athletics Wellness Services (AZEA) to provide training and resources for school-age athletes.

“I’ve always been training athletes,” he said.

Wellness is usually top of mind for him personally. He has known since he was a child his condition would get chancy as he got older. He never let the issue keep him away from athletics or his mission to prepare kids for life.

This month, AZEA is hosting a “Wellness Tour” at Maricopa High School’s Ram Stadium. Warford said the expo is focused on mindfulness and wellness. Whether teen players come to him to find a way to use athletics to gain an education or a career or just physical discipline, he wants them to learn young the consequences of decisions they make.

The June 24 event is planned to have four major components. A “Wellness Fest” and community market will have community businesses, vendors, organizations and clubs along with artists and musicians providing resources. A “Youth Engagement Zone” is an active area with games, bounce houses, arts and crafts, raffles and special guests. The free Athletic Skills Camp is for boys and girls age 8-12 who want a try at circuit training, speed drills and a combine course.

Derrick Warford’s AZ Elite Athletics Wellness Services will host a wellness tour and 7-on-7 football passing tournament in Maricopa on June 24.

A main draw is a “Prove It” 7-on-7 football passing tournament and team combine, featuring varsity and junior varsity players from Maricopa and surrounding communities. Team entry is $175.

Warford said proceeds will benefit Be Awesome Youth Coalition, The Streets Don’t Love You Back, Maricopa Rams and Hope for Kids.

He likes to instill “the power of athletic thoughts” through constant repetition and self-awareness. When a student quits or rages or makes another bad decision, he walks them through the process of evaluating their own reaction.

“I say, ‘Ask yourself what was your trigger. What was that moment?’” he said.

A native of Macon, Georgia, Warford played football at Alabama State University. Undrafted after graduation, he signed as a free agent with the Tennessee Titans in 2006. A preseason knee injury hastened his departure from the pro ranks.

He moved to Arizona in 2008. Soured a bit on football, he worked with at-risk youth in his social services capacity. He started AZEA in 2009, building more relationships with youths and Valley coaches. Warford got married and moved to Maricopa the same year, 2014. When he heard MHS was looking for volunteers in its basketball program, he reached out, flirting with the idea of coaching the freshmen.

That position was already filled, however.

“But they knew about my football background, and [Athletic Director Mark] Cisterna caught me on a good day and asked me about the football team,” Warford said.

“He kind of fell into our laps,” said Rams head coach Chris McDonald, who brought him in as a defensive line coach.”

Warford said it didn’t take long for the football “bug” to take hold again. “The freshmen bought into me because of the NFL thing,” he said.

At the end of the year, McDonald sat him down and offered him the job of defensive coordinator.

“He’s very demanding but respectful,” McDonald said. “He’s really good with the kids.”

Warford and his wife Raven both deal with medical challenges, he with his heart and she with epilepsy. Never again wanting to have to drive himself to the hospital in the middle of a heart attack, he worked to lose weight and control his blood pressure. The goal-setting he preaches to the kids is still getting a workout in his own life.

This story appears in the June issue of InMaricopa.

An opioid study released by the Arizona Department of Health Services has prompted Gov. Doug Ducey to declare an emergency Monday.

The study, which looked at data involving opioid-related deaths in the state from 2007 to 2016, showed an increase of 74 percent since 2012. The state documented 790 opioid deaths last year. Of those, 308 involved heroin and 482 were from prescription medication.

The emergency declaration of an opioid epidemic sets up an “enhanced surveillance advisory” and requires a rapid response from the health department.

The declaration gives Arizona the ability to coordinate public health efforts between state, local and private-sector partners and allows the state to utilize all public health resources. That includes distributing naloxone throughout the community to help prevent drug overdose deaths. The declaration and enhanced surveillance advisory will provide for enhanced reporting of overdose deaths from doctors and hospitals.

“As the number of opioid overdoses and deaths increase at an alarming rate, we must take action. It’s time to call this what it is — an emergency,” Ducey said.

The report showed 4-9 deaths in the Maricopa area in 2016. The highest concentrations of opioid-related fatalities were in North Mountain in metro Phoenix and the central and south areas of metro Tucson.

The report also includes some data from 2017, showing the number of overdose patients that first responders had to treat with naloxone. That hit a high of 517 in March. Of the 514 treated in May, 27 percent needed multiple doses.

The cost of treating opioid-related emergencies rose 125 percent between 2009 and 2015, according to the study. Those dying from opioid use between 2007 and 2016 tended to be white and under the age of 54.

The study showed heroin-related deaths to have the sharpest rise among opioid users. Nearly 86 percent of opioid deaths involved other non-opioid drugs.

“The only way we will be able to make an impact in the opioid epidemic is to come together as a community, and this declaration helps us move forward quickly,” said Dr. Cara Christ, director of Health Services. “We will look into improving prescription practices, addressing poly drug use, and analyzing raw data on overdose deaths that occur to see where the problem areas are and learn how we can make changes to save lives.”

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By Andrew H. Jones

Educational Activities
Visit your local library for fun educational activities that will stimulate your child’s development.

Children are constantly learning and parents are a defining factor for the child’s developmental milestones. According to the Encyclopedia on Early Childhood Development, “The emotional, social and physical development of young children has a direct effect on their overall development and on the adult they will become, thus understanding the need to invest in very young children is so important, so as to maximize their future well-being”. A positive, happy home, full of love and emotion is the best environment for a child

to thrive. Parents can help to achieve a stable learning environment by developing a routine for the child to include healthy eating habits, play time learning, personal hygiene care, and simple tasks relative to the child’s age and competency level. Below is a list of benefits that effect early childhood development and have a lifelong impact:

  • Good nutrition, health, and exercise are critical
  • Children are born ready to learn
  • The best learning happens in nurturing relationships
  • The brain develops through use
  • Children’s wellbeing is critical to brain development and learning
  • Children learn through being engaged and doing
  • Children learn from watching and copying
  • Children learn language by listening to it and using it

Children are stimulated with various opportunities that can be incorporated in everyday activities. The parent should make the daily routine a positive learning experience to explore new (and exciting) ways for the child to expand their developmental goals. Allow and empower the child to do for themselves what he or she is capable of doing. For example: Teaching children, as opposed to taking over and doing even the smallest task for the child, is a huge example of how developmental milestones can be met. Reading to your child will also build communication, language and literacy skills for the child. Describing shapes, textures, colors, for the child will allow him or her to begin to know the world around them, increase their general knowledge and stimulate their thinking abilities.

While these activities address some of the overall development for the child, there are factors that will greatly determine your child’s ability to learn. Genetics can determine the child’s prognosis of learning and retaining information. If there is a learning difference in the bloodline, chances are the child will inherit the difference as well. Therefore, the parent will then need to take measures to understand how the child learns conducive to his or her ability.

Want to see where your child stands on their developmental landmark? Please follow up with your Sun Life Family Health Center pediatrician to discuss your concerns with the provider.


Sun Life Family Health Center in Maricopa presents: Meet the Expert

Sun Life Family Health Center is partnering with the Maricopa Public Library to promote early learning literacy and educational programs within the community. Please join Dr. Stella Raposas, MD, FAAP and Dana Rodriguez, PHD, APNP-BC the 1st Wednesday and 3rd Thursday of every month from 9:15am – 10:15am at the Maricopa Public Library. This event will provide story time for the children and an opportunity for parents and adult family members to meet with local health care providers. Our goal is to help and provide

information to parents about non-medical wellness, development, and health behaviors. This is a great opportunity to meet our pediatric providers and ask non-medical questions relating to day-to-day physical and emotional health of your children.


Encyclopedia on Early Childhood Development. (March 2011). Importance of early childhood development. Retrieved from http://www.child-encyclopedia.com/importance-early-childhood-development.

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Submitted photo

By Andrew H. Jones

Is it a cold or allergies? This is a question that plagues many people this time of year. On one hand, you’ve been sneezing and sniffling, swallowing over-the-counter meds every few hours. On the other hand, it’s been going on for two and a half weeks now and it seems there is no end in sight. Let’s take a closer look at some of the similarities and differences to better understand what may be ailing you.

Similarities of Allergies & Colds:
• Sneezing
• Runny nose
• Congestion and stuffy nose
• Coughing
• Sore throat

Differences of Allergies & Colds:
• Itchy eyes are a less common symptom of a cold
• Severe colds can cause fevers and body aches and are not usually signs of allergies
• Sore throat in allergies is most often caused by postnasal drip
• Allergies can cause rashes

“People with allergies are sometimes more prone to catching colds. Recovery from a cold is usually quick – in fact, the average duration of a cold is 7 to 10 days.

If symptoms last more than a week or two, the cold may have progressed into a secondary bacterial infection such as bronchitis or sinusitis. Allergies are more difficult to predict and can be a little tricky, they can be seasonal, or come and go daily and reoccur often” (Dr. Ted Crawford, DO, Medical Director, Sun Life Family Health Center, 2017).

As the season begins to warm, the plants begin to pollinate, spreading the ‘joy’ in the air to all of us who are susceptible to seasonal allergies. However, we are still in the middle of cold and flu season. So the sniffles may very well be one last ride on the Rhinovirus bandwagon..

Cut down on dust in your home
Concentrate on cleaning your bedroom where you sleep. Wash all of your bedding regularly. Wipe dust
off dressers, night-stands, appliances, ceiling fans, and wear a dust mask while doing so. Clean your
house regularly with a vacuum. #OneSmallChange

Allergies range from mild to seasonal allergies with more severe symptoms; which can cause life-threatening reactions. People can have an array of symptoms and allergic reactions to any number of things, including various airborne pollens, foods, medications, and allergy shots. Whether you have a mild or severe allergy, you should know the proper response to a reaction, address accordingly, and minimize your discomfort.

Keeping track of the local daily pollen percentages in your area can be very helpful and might make you Ah-Ah-Ah-choose to stay inside, wear a preventative mask, or limit your outdoor activities. Here is a helpful website that can help keep you informed of your local air pollen content. https://www.pollen.com

Scheduling an appointment with your Sun Life Family Health Center provider is the first step to treating your cold or allergies. He or she will be able to diagnose your symptoms and refer you to a local (specialist) allergist. The allergist can then test you to find out what triggered your allergic reaction and can prescribe medication or give you allergy shots to help manage your symptoms.

Dr. Ted Crawford, DO, Medical Director – Sun Life family
Health Center

Aaron Gilbert. Photo by William Lange

By Aaron Gilbert

Strength training, commonly referred to as resistance training, refers to a specialized method of exercise that involves the progressive use of assorted resistive loads and a variety of training methods intended to promote health, fitness and performance improvement.

Wow – can you say long winded much? Let’s put it another way: Strength training is using your muscles against resistance. Muscles adapt to any type of resistance.

The resistance can be a heavy object, one’s own body weight, elastic resistance from bands, or other types of machine resistance from pulleys or hydraulics. The heavy object could be a dumbbell, medicine ball, log, grocery bag, rock, car— anything that has mass.

Why is strength training so important?

For starters – let’s get the obvious out of the way. Strength training makes you stronger. It does this in several ways, including:

■ Building muscle tissue

■ Improving rate of force production — how quickly you can generate force to move against the resistance

■ Strengthening connective tissues such as tendons – it can also make your muscles bigger while creating a demand for blood delivery, engaging the cardiovascular system.

■ Improving muscular coordination — in other words, the ability to coordinate your moving parts

How else can strength training be useful?

Strength training:

■ Preserves and enhances muscle mass

■ Preserves and enhances metabolic rate

■ Improves bone density

■ Improves glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity

■ Lowers risk of injury

■ Improves ability to engage in daily activities

■ Improves balance

■ Improves self-esteem

■ Enhances strength and endurance

■ Enhances speed, power and agility

■ Improves overall body composition

■ Decreases bad cholesterol levels

■ Decreases blood pressure

■ Improves aerobic capacity

Inactivity or a sedentary lifestyle leads to loss of muscle mass and strength which can then influence the development of many chronic diseases. Maintaining muscle mass with strength training can prevent some of the most common and increasingly rampant health conditions, including obesity and diabetes.

Who can strength train?

In the past, strength training was primarily used by athletes to enhance performance and/or increase muscle size. However, strength training is now recognized as critical to everyone’s health and fitness — regardless of gender, age, or ability. Leading health organizations, including the ACSM and NSCA recommend regular strength training as part of one’s fitness regimen.

With a properly constructed workout program that is tailored to individual goals and skills, anyone can strength train: men, women, children and adolescents, older people, and people with disabilities or movement limitations.

Where to go for guidance?

Look for a fitness professional in your areas, specifically a strength and conditioning specialist with credentials from the NSCA (National Strength and Conditioning Association). A certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS) has undergone the education and training necessary to ensure safe, efficient, and effective outcomes will take place.

Aaron Gilbert, CSCS, founder/owner of Longevity Athletics.

This column appears in the April issue of InMaricopa.

Justice Brown, 7, has eosinophilic esophagitis, which affects 1 in 1,500 children. Photo by Anita McLeod

By Chris Swords Betts

“Her body is attacking all food,” said Jacquette Brown, mother of Justice Brown, a Maricopa second-grader.

Justice was diagnosed with eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE), a chronic immune disease, at the age of 3.

Now 7, Justice will undergo an endoscopy and biopsy of her esophagus under general anesthesia every three to six months until her doctors can determine which foods, if any, she can eat.

This procedure is nothing new to Justice, who underwent her most recent endoscopy Dec. 12. Following the procedure, Justice’s doctor restricted her diet to only fresh fruits and some vegetables, and the hypoallergenic protein formula that gives her the nutrition lacking in her diet.

Brown said when she took Justice to the doctor for her chronic rashes, diarrhea, constipation, vomiting and flu-like symptoms, she was repeatedly dismissed as being a worried new mother.

“Finally, after years of getting the run around, I got fed up,” said Brown, who was living in Michigan with her family at the time. “We drove to Wisconsin and got the diagnosis.”

EoE causes a buildup of a type of white blood cell in the esophagus, due to reactions to food, other allergens or acid reflux. The buildup can lead to serious health problems, including difficulty swallowing, vomiting, food impaction and choking.

EoE was first identified about 20 years ago. According to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, an estimated 1 in 1,500 children had EoE in 2012.

“She reacts to just the smell of food,” Brown said. “Her throat starts closing.”

Because of this, Justice can’t eat her lunch in the school cafeteria.

“My friends like to eat with me in the nurse’s office,” Justice said.

There is no cure for EoE.

“They go into remission,” Brown said. “It’s a back-and-forth thing. Some days are good days.”

Justice’s doctor will continue to eliminate foods from her diet until the results of her procedure come back clear.

Brown said there are some people who can only have formula and have gastronomy feeding tubes (G-Tubes) in place.

“We’re hoping she doesn’t have to have it,” Brown said. “Lots of people say that’s the best solution.”

Brown said Justice sometimes expresses a desire for a G-Tube, because of her distaste for the formula.

“It’s just a nasty, sweet taste,” said Wesley Brown, Justice’s father. “It doesn’t taste good at all.”

Despite both Browns working and having medical insurance through Wesley’s work, they are struggling to manage the cost and time constraints of Justice’s condition. On top of medical bills, the formula alone adds up to more than $650 per month. The Browns are hoping Wesley’s new insurance will cover a portion of this.

“We have medical bills mounting up,” Brown said. “We need to be in a position to cover this stuff. It’s getting out of control.”

The family was planning to take Justice to a specialist in Cincinnati, until they found Dr. Mark E. McOmber at Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

“It’s just been amazing since the first day,” Brown said. “He genuinely cares about her.”



This story appears in the February issue of InMaricopa.

Justice Brown's family includes her parents Jacquette and Wesley and sister Jaysha. Photo by Anita McLeod
Justice Brown’s family includes her parents Jacquette and Wesley and sister Jaysha. Photo by Anita McLeod