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North Country BetterU
North Country BetterU
About North Country BetterU
North Country BetterU

Meet the North Country BetterU Participants: Bonnie Eppolito

First published: January 30, 2015 at 9:59 am
Last modified: January 30, 2015 at 10:03 am
Bonnie Eppolito

Hi! I'm Bonnie Eppolito. I'm the mom of John Wayne Eppolito, my only son. I am 48 years old and I am an identical twin! I am originally from the North Country and grew up on a dairy farm. I live in Clayton now and enjoy the river life!

My mom and dad both had heart attacks in their early 40s so I feel I am at risk especially since I'm overweight.  I'd like to lose the weight and feel better.

John's dad passed away from cancer when he was only 40. I don't want my son to lose his mom to a heart attack or stroke. I want to be around for him for a long time! 

I'm looking forward to the program!


Meet the North Country BetterU Participants: Arleen Burgess

First published: January 29, 2015 at 11:28 am
Last modified: January 29, 2015 at 11:37 am
Arleen Burgess

I hope to achieve many things in this program. One is to finally get into an exercise program. I do not exercise and am losing body mass according to my doctor. I do not want to get osteoporosis. I have lower back aches that I would love to get rid of and I believe that exercise will take care of that issue.

Secondly, I need to eat right. I love my carbohydrates. I had breast cancer 11 years ago along with a mastectomy. I do not want that to come back. In July, I had a noncancerous nodule removed from my lung. I am one of those people that is required to have a colonoscopy every five years, not ten.  Lucky me. My cholesterol level is a little higher than I'd like it to be. With exercise and proper eating, I'm hoping it will improve.

My mom died of a heart attack at the age of 70, I don't want that to happen to me. My older brother is seen by a cardiologist on a regular basis and wears a pacemaker.  I am the only one out of five siblings that do not have high blood pressure, and I would like to keep it that way as I age. I know as we get older, it is important to keep a watchful eye on our health. I want to be around for a long time for my husband, my two children and the rest of my family.


Meet the North Country BetterU Participants: Hilary Remington

First published: January 28, 2015 at 4:13 pm
Last modified: January 28, 2015 at 4:24 pm
Hilary Remington and her family

I was born and raised in Adams.  My husband and I meet in 2009 and were married in 2011. He is also from this area. We had a little girl in January of 2013. She is our only child right now, and we are taking classes to become foster parents. I am so excited to  have been chosen for this project. After my father died of a major heart attack on 1/1/14, I came to the realization that I needed to become more heart-healthy for myself and my family. 

I have heard the statistic "heart disease is the #1 killer of women" what seems like a million times. It never really means anything to you until you lose someone close to you to heart disease. So there is no better time than NOW to make  lifestyle changes. 


Meet the North Country BetterU Participants: Serena Manolovits

First published: January 27, 2015 at 2:48 pm
Last modified: January 27, 2015 at 2:50 pm
Serena Manolovits

My name is Serena Manolovits.  I am 44 years old and have a 13 year old daughter.  I was diagnosed with Lupus in 1986.  Since then I have been on numerous different medications, some causing other medical conditions.  

It is time in my life to take control.  I want to be around for my daughter and feel better about myself.  I applied for this challenge knowing it was time to get healthy.  

My goals are to become active and enjoy doing so, eat healthier and feel better about myself.  Hopefully along with that comes some weight loss.  

Another big positive of being a participant in this program is to show my daughter all the right ways to be healthy. I also look forward to spending time with the other nine women in the challenge and hope to form some lasting friendships.


Meet the North Country BetterU Participants: Erin Fazio

First published: January 26, 2015 at 11:12 am
Last modified: January 26, 2015 at 11:15 am
Erin Fazio


My name is Erin Fazio.  I have a family history of heart disease and diabetes.  Both of my grandfathers passed away from heart attacks and I have an uncle who suffered multiple strokes and a heart attack.  My father under went an emergency quadruple bypass when he was only 46.  I also have diabetes and a history of high blood pressure.


It was when my son was born two years ago with a congenital heart defect that I realized I needed to make a change.  I asked myself, “How am I supposed to teach my son to lead a healthy lifestyle if I’m not leading by example?”


My son is my #1 reason.  I not only want to lose weight and control my diabetes with diet and excercise, but I also want to gain from this experience the knowledge to maintain a healthy lifestyle beyond the 12 week program.



Meet the North Country BetterU Participants: Rose Busler

First published: January 25, 2015 at 2:10 pm
Last modified: January 25, 2015 at 2:28 pm
Rose Busler

I’ve been married to my high school sweetheart for 34 years. We have two children and are empty nesters. We enjoy traveling. Some of the things I hope to achieve through this program include becoming healthier by learning to shop, cook and exercise smart!

I have tried many diets and exercise plans to stay in shape and have been successful but since I’ve reached menopause I have found it more difficult even doing the same routines that I have been doing for years. They are not working. Education is what I need how to shop smart-healthy and cook smart-healthy. There are so many  articles stating that you should do this or that I want to learn which one is right for me and where I am in my life.

I have a special dress that I want to wear to a wedding this summer and that is my focus. I just love this dress and color and I did wear it about 8 years ago but it has been in the back of my closet and I just look at it and say someday I’m going to wear this dress again. Well, that day is coming. I have moved it to the door on my closet over my mirror. I have to move it every day to look at myself. Just a little something to remind me of one of my goals.

I also want to learn to cook and eat healthy. We are busy people and are always on the go. Our “quick” meals are not the smartest.  If I can change one habit that will impact the rest of my life I will be a success story!


Meet the North Country BetterU Participants

First published: January 24, 2015 at 7:36 pm
Last modified: January 24, 2015 at 7:40 pm

My name is Deb Simmons. I am 62 years old. I have been married 46 years. I have five grown children, twelve grandchildren and  two great-grandchildren. At age 53 I had a heart attack. At first I did everything I needed to do, like eating right and exercising. Then, as time went, by life gets in the way and you start eating out more, eating unhealthy foods, and make excuses not to exercise. Then you gain five pounds, then ten, and pretty soon you're obese.

On this program I plan to learn to cook and eat healthier. I also am going to exercise. I want to lose weight and get healthier so I can be around for a long time for my family. I also want to look and feel better for myself.


Meet the North Country BetterU Participants

First published: January 23, 2015 at 1:39 pm
Last modified: January 23, 2015 at 1:42 pm
Mary Jo Rocker

My name is Mary Jo Rocker. I am the 5th of eight children, an aunt, and an Air Force vet. I spent most of last year recovering from breast cancer treatments. I have a family history of this and of heart attacks, and I want to avoid the latter (since it’s too late for the former).

I’ve always been a fussy eater, and am also the lucky family member who got celiac disease (gotta love the genetic lottery). I got very tired during my treatments last year and used sugary food to boost my energy. I was a long standing sugar addict prior to this, but have since given up most refined sugar in the hope of easing some other side effects I was experiencing (which it has). I finally started to lose some weight, but have since plateaued.

When this opportunity came up, I applied and was accepted. I’d like to learn how to eat better, increase my stamina, and increase muscle tone (or start losing weight again). I'd like a change in lifestyle to make a better me.

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