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Connecticut’s ‘Biggest Loser’ Elizabeth Szewczyk will speak at free public health conference at Springfield College

December 9, 2010

SPRINGFIELD, Mass., Dec. 8, 2010 -- Elizabeth Szewczyk, Connecticut’s 2010 “Biggest Loser,” who lost more than 75 pounds since February 2010, will be the keynote speaker at a public conference, “Uniting Together for Healthy Communities,” on Dec. 10, 2010, from 8:15 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Springfield College Brennan Center, 45 Island Pond Rd.

The event will be presented by The Arc of Massachusetts, sponsored by Baystate Health and the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts, and hosted by Springfield College. It is designed for professionals in health, education and human service; and adults with disabilities and their families and other supporters. The planner and organizer is long-time family advocate Mary Martin.

Breakout sessions will address the changes to expect as one ages, strategies for helpful conversations about sexuality, incorporating physical activity into daily life, managing a healthy diet, how to make doctor visits most effective, and the nutritional value of quinoa.

Leo Sarkissian, executive director of The Arc of Massachusetts, will introduce Szewczyk, who gained considerable weight during her son’s battle with cancer. She is the recipient of the Connecticut Celebration of Excellence Award in Writing and Literature and the author of the books, “My Bags Were Always Packed: A Mother’s Journey Through Her Son’s Cancer Treatment and Remission,” and “This Becoming.” She is writing a book about her weight loss experience.

Szewczyk teaches composition and literature at Asnuntuck Community College in Enfield, Conn, and recently ran her first 5K in the Hartford Marathon.

Coordinating Springfield College’s hosting of the conference has been Bernard J. Graney, professor of rehabilitation and disability studies in the Springfield College School of Health Sciences and Rehabilitation Studies. The school offers educational programs and support for health care professionals in western Massachusetts including undergraduate and graduate programs in emergency medical services management, occupational therapy, physical therapy, physician assistant studies, and rehabilitation and disability studies.

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