Her professional accomplishments are impressive: registered nurse, fitness coach, trainer. Her medical triumphs are considerable: Hodgkin’s lymphoma survivor, three brain surgeries. It’s her determination to inspire others that’s truly remarkable.
Helene Neville just completed a record-breaking 2,520-mile run in 93 days, a journey that began May 1 and ended August 1. She ran in the grueling summer heat, through Calif., Ariz., N. M. and Texas, finishing in Fla. She broke one record and set another one. It was the stops along the way, though, that were really significant.
As the self-proclaimed “Richard Simmons of nurses,” Nevelle visited nurses in more than 30 hospitals to discuss their need to take care of their own health. Nevelle, 50, is passionate about helping nurses get healthier. “The nature of the nursing profession often leads to a lifestyle that prevents nurses from focusing on exercise and a wholesome diet,” she said. “With the proper guidance and attitude, nurses can learn to live healthier lives so they may better serve their patients.”
Nevelle began her service as a nurse in 1983 in hospitals, nursing homes and other broad environments, including the Iowa Department of Public Health, U.S. Department of Defense, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Centers for Disease Control. Along with her commitment to her work and patients, she balanced being a mother of two children.
She was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a form of blood cancer, in 1993 and says she conquered the disease in 2001. She overcame three brain surgeries between 1991 and 1997. Her doctors told her she would never recover but her persistent attitude drove her to accomplish one more of her life’s goals, and she began training to run a 26.2-mile marathon. She ran that one, and 25 more since.
Why did she run this summer? The Phoenix area woman says her run “was not to realize my own dreams, but to help others realize theirs. I hope to continue to inspire not only nurses but anyone that hears my message to try a new, healthier lifestyle, or to try something else in their life that they never thought they could achieve.”