At the Spirit of Women “All Decked Out” event, taking place on Thursday, Nov. 15 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel – Chesterfield, St. Luke’s Hospital will honor four local women with the 2018 Healthy Woman Award. Now in its 13th year, the award recognizes and celebrates women who not only take steps to improve their own health, but also inspire better health and improve the quality of life within their communities. Meet this year’s remarkable recipients:
Laura Dienstbach Harris
Laura Dienstbach Harris began playing soccer at the young age of five. She continued playing throughout high school and college, both at Maryville University and the University of Missouri – Columbia, and persevered through two ACL surgeries.
Since 1999, she has been on the field coaching, cheering young kids through adversity, consoling them after injuries and encouraging them to be themselves and to challenge their abilities. It’s not uncommon for her to stay on the field with kids until their parents are able to pick them up after a game or a practice.
Even though Dienstbach Harris works full-time, she is dedicated to raising her children and volunteering her time as a coach. And she never fails to miss the indoor soccer league games that she plays with her son. At the age of 45, she eats healthy and remains active every day because she believes that a healthy lifestyle fuels your life, energizes you and builds self-esteem. She enjoys helping people and is already encouraging her children to give back to the community.
Laura Vandiver’s healthy journey began in college when her roommate inspired her to take up running. Over time, running became her outlet, and she started participating in 5Ks, 10Ks and half-marathons, and eventually triathlons and Ironman races. In addition to creating her own ultra-marathon, which raised more than $3,000 for Girls on the Run (GOTR) in 2017, she also shares her love of running with young girls as a GOTR head coach.
As a public relations professional, Vandiver has created public health messaging about a range of topics, including the flu, childhood vaccinations and the Zika virus. She has also taught HIV and Hepatitis C awareness and prevention classes, and worked as a strategic communications advisor for the St. Louis Initiative to Reduce Violence.
A Certified Health Education Specialist, medical anthropologist and integrative health coach, Vandiver actively helps others achieve their health and wellness goals. She believes that incremental changes can lead to bigger, lifelong improvements in nutrition, fitness and overall well-being.
One month before her 59th birthday, Tricia Whelan cycled the state of Wisconsin for a week and rode 400 miles with her regular cycling group. A member of the Chesterfield Parks, Recreation & Arts board, she frequently takes advantage of the community’s walking and biking trails. This past September, she participated in and raised money for Pedal the Cause, an organization supporting cancer research.
Whelan’s position as a commercial loan officer at Lindell Bank keeps her plenty busy. She understands the importance of maintaining a high level of energy and tries to incorporate healthy behaviors and activities into every area of her life. When faced with unhealthy foods at networking events, she encourages the organizations to provide healthier options so that eating well is less challenging for attendees.
Whelan has a magnetic personality and is always inviting others to join in her athletic activities. Her excitement for life, along with her genuine happiness and creativity, inspires others to become involved in the community and to spend their free time being active.
As a licensed professional counselor at St. Louis Community College - Meramec for the past 15 years, Donna Zumwinkel remains dedicated to improving her students’ mental health and works to dismantle the stigma of seeking mental health services.
Having grown up on a farm, Zumwinkel enjoys being outdoors. She regularly walks around campus and incorporates yoga into her daily routine. She discusses the importance of sleep, a clean diet, exercise and social connections for good mental health with students.
She believes health and wellness can positively impact many of life’s ills. In her students, she recognizes the cultural and lifestyle shifts that have impacted time management and social interactions. While smartphone apps make workouts easier to access and track, technology also promotes a more sedentary lifestyle.
Zumwinkel doesn’t always immediately see how her work has changed students’ lives, however, hearing about their achievements brings her great joy. She believes that focusing on one positive change at a time can lead to greater success and improved overall mental health.
The St. Luke’s Hospital Healthy Woman Award is sponsored by Ladue News. For more information on the award and to see past honorees, visit stlukes-stl.com/healthy-woman.