Prevention programs, screenings, and other health information

Nurturing Your Body and Spirit

Good health requires a combination of preventative and restorative care. Located at 11240 S. Western, ExcellCare Physical Therapy and Erin Kelly Massage Therapy work in tandem to offer holistic approaches to reducing pain and restoring physical health.

ExcellCare Physical Therapy was established in 1999 with a mission change the way physical therapy is provided in the USA. The facility uses a hands-on approach that focuses pain reduction. “[It is] an absolutely necessary first step in creating a positive patient response,” explained Sanjoy Roy, Director of Physical Therapy. Treatment focuses on a series of purposeful techniques using manual therapy, decompression of the spine, and other forms of holistic ways to treat and cure patients. ExcellCare also integrates acupuncture and next-generation laser therapy to treat pain.

“At ExcellCare, we strongly value the patient experience and believe that the plan of care begins from the moment a patient walks through our doors,” Roy said. Driven by the mission to provide a simple and individualized system of physical therapy care that produces positive results, the staff treats many conditions, including back pain, neck pain, stenosis, arthritis, hip pain and knee pain.

In May, Erin Kelly moved her practice to ExcellCare’s facility. “Erin Kelly’s Massage Therapy practice has been a refreshing addition to the ExcellCare Physical Therapy family.” Roy said. “Our patients have been referred to Erin often for her massage therapy expertise in addition to the physical therapy treatment ExcellCare provides. ExcellCare believes in a strong and meaningful relationship with Erin Kelly to provide optimum patient care.”

Now in her tenth year of practice, Kelly trained at the Chicago School of Massage Therapy, and is a certified and licensed massage therapist specializing in myofascial trigger point therapy to effectively reduce and relieve pain. Caused by injury, repetitive motion and other common factors, myofascial pain is chronic muscle pain that can present along with fatigue, stress, weakness, loss of motion and depression. “It’s not just a sore muscle,” Kelly said.

Kelly combines her education and experience with her natural and intuitive presence and ability to ‘listen’ through therapeutic touch to provide natural healing, helping her clients feel their best. Each patient undergoes a thorough evaluation used to create a personalized treatment plan. Patients are also provided with suggestions for self-care, resources and tips to prevent pain and injury.

Exemplifying her belief and health and spirit are connected, Kelly’s light open space is conducive to healing, and the high grade therapeutic essential oils she uses boost the efficacy of treatment and enhance relaxation. Kelly appreciates working collaboratively with physical therapists to provide an extra layer of pain relief and health benefits to clients.

Kelly, a Beverly/Morgan Park resident, has built her practice here. “I’m grateful to be in a community that’s so supportive,” she said.

ExcellCare Physical Therapy accepts most insurances, and can be reached at 773-779-1111 for appointments. Learn more about the scope of their services at www. Kelly does not do medical billing but accepts referrals. Find more information or make appointments at 773-569-1015 or

Sculpt and Shred Offers Nutrition and Fitness Programs

By Kristin Boza

Sculpt and Shred, 1741 W. 95th St., a fitness studio dedicated to ensuring healthier lives and helping people battle specific diseases and conditions, opened in May with a hard-hitting program to improve the overall health of participants.

“We train from the inside out,” said owner Andrew Sanders. “We cater to people who are dealing with diabetes and high blood pressure. We also cater to the elderly and anyone dealing with severe joint problems, sciatica or kidney disease. The foundation of Sculpt and Shred is to deal with those diseases.”

Sanders is a dietician, nutritionist and fitness expert. He works with his clients to create specialized meal plans that focus on their particular ailment. The fitness program is designed to build muscle and quickly lose inches. “You’ll never do the same exercise twice at Sculpt and Shred. When you work those muscle fibers differently, you’ll get different results,” he said. “We are creative and completely hands off the book — we put together workout plans from our skill sets and the gift we possess.”

Through the Sculpt and Shred weight loss programs, Sanders said that his clients can lose 15 or more pounds per month, depending on their individual goals. “We have been so successful at it. We guarantee those results and, if you don’t achieve it the first time, we will train you for free until you do achieve that success,” he said.

In October, Sculpt and Shred is offering an unlimited class package for $79/month. For information, visit their website at

Sanders’ background in fitness ranges from body building to power lifting to martial arts. He is certified with the National Academy of Sports Medicine and a certified EMT.

Catching ZZZZZs: LCMH Sleep Apnea Hurts Hearts Campaign

Loud snoring, morning headaches, restless sleep, forgetfulness and mood changes are just a few signs of sleep apnea. Sleep apnea involves the repeated collapse of the upper airway during sleep. It puts an enormous strain on the heart by repeatedly causing oxygen levels to drop and blood pressure to surge as you sleep.

If left untreated, severe obstructive sleep apnea more than doubles your risk of dying from heart disease, warns the National Healthy Sleep Awareness Project. Project partners – including the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Sleep Research Society – launched the “Sleep Apnea Hurts Hearts” campaign to raise public awareness and urge individuals with symptoms of sleep apnea to talk to a doctor about their risk.

Little Company of Mary Hospital (LCMH) is a premier provider of sleep medicine consultations and sleep studies. Under the direction of Medical Director Richard Kern, M.D., Pulmonologist at LCMH and board-certified in Sleep Medicine and a Fellow of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, the Sleep Center at LCMH has more than 25 years of experience in evaluating patients with sleep disorders, conducting sleep studies and determining effective treatment.

“Our goal is to help people who suffer from sleep apnea, insomnia, and other sleep disorders

obtain healthy refreshing sleep,” said Dr. Kern. “Sleep disorders are extremely common in our society and, unfortunately, most people with symptoms are undiagnosed and untreated.”

Severe obstructive sleep apnea hurts HEARTS by increasing the risk of:

H – Heart failure

E – Elevated blood pressure

A – Atrial fibrillation

R – Resistant hypertension

T – Type 2 diabetes

S – Stroke

Some of the most common risk factors for sleep apnea are obesity, narrow airway, large neck, tongue or tonsils, and recessed jaw. Fortunately, treatments for obstructive sleep apnea are available. Following diagnosis by a board-certified sleep medicine physician, the most commonly prescribed treatment for sleep apnea is continuous positive airway pressure therapy – or CPAP. This treatment uses mild levels of air pressure, provided through a mask, to keep the throat open while you sleep.

“The Sleep Disorders Center at LCMH is your gateway to a team of sleep professionals and sleep expertise for adults and children ages five and older,” said Dr. Kern. The Center has been accredited by the AASM since 2009. Accreditation assures the highest level of care by specially trained physicians and sleep technicians who follow established protocols for evaluation and treatment.

Sleep studies are traditionally performed overnight in the Sleep Disorders Center located in the hospital. Testing is performed in the comfort of a bedroom environment, using the latest state of-the-art technology to monitor breathing patterns, heart rate, brain waves, and oxygen levels. A sleep technician is always available to answer your questions and assist you during the night. After the study is completed, you may shower and return home or go to work. For some patients, based on insurance requirements and your sleep specialist’s recommendations, a home sleep study may be performed. If indicated, a sleep technician will provide personal instruction on how to set up and use the sleep monitor which is returned to the Center the following day.

Get the help you need at Little Company of Mary’s Sleep Disorders Center. To take the online sleep study quiz, visit To make an appointment for a consultation, please contact the Sleep Disorders Center at 708.423.REST (7378).

Mom Needs to Downsize. Now What?

By Colleen Hassell, Community Outreach Coordinator, HealthAdvocates HomeCare

Mom has been living in the house for more than two decades, and now she needs to move and/or downsize. What do you do? The best way to approach the conversation about moving is carefully. There might be health reasons or a death of a spouse that makes a move more urgent. Many elderly people don’t want to burden their children or other family members. Helping your loved one move can be one of the hardest decisions you make as an adult child.

The first step is to decide where your loved one will move to. There are many options available today. You, along with family members, should evaluate what kind of care is needed.

Is your loved one able to move around with little to no help? If so, Independent Living is an option. These facilities offer little to no assistance. Residents can come and go as they wish and many of these facilities allow residents to have a caregiver visit on a short term basis when more assistance is needed.

Has your loved one stopped driving and does he or she need assistance with day to day activities? If so, Assisted Living facilities have staff that will be there to help your loved one around the clock.

Once a decision has been made on where your loved one is going to move to, the dreaded packing begins! According to a study conducted by the Gerontology Center at the University of Kansas, “about 30% of people over age 70 had done nothing to give away belongings over the past 12 months.” Many older people have an extraordinarily difficult time giving up items that are closely linked to their identities. Often, family members see their loved ones’ homes filled with “stuff,” while the loved one associates their belongings with memories and happier times.

Adult children can help their parents downsize by showing them how their possessions can help other people. Asking your loved ones to sit down and go through their home with you to decide what they want to keep and what can be donated and/or thrown away can be very helpful.

The best time to talk to an elderly loved one about moving is now. Talking about the future and what their wishes are saves family members from having to decide what to do during a stressful, chaotic time. Visit houses and facilities with your family member. Ask your loved one what type of housing they prefer.

Founded in 2014, HealthAdvocates HomeCare is a non-medical home care company that provides CNAs and caregivers to families needing care for their loved ones. Info: or 708-459-6077.


LCMH Experts Help Cancer Patient Defy the Odds

Donnell Hall, a 52-year-old area resident, had no family history of disease when he received a very rare cancer diagnosis in early 2016.  The otherwise healthy former college basketball player and print shop owner is the “glue” of his family. Their world was shaken when diagnosis was delivered.

In late 2015, Hall had been experiencing difficulty swallowing and catching his breath. He made an appointment with his primary care provider who performed a series of initial tests, then referred Hall to an academic medical center in Chicago where his greatest fear was confirmed. Malignant Metastatic Paraganglioma: Three words that neither Donnell nor his healthcare team had heard before.

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), malignant paraganglioma is extremely rare — in 2002, the estimated incidence in the United States was 93 cases per 400 million people. Diagnosis is a challenge, so in up to about 10 percent of cases — including Hall’s — metastases are already present at diagnosis. If left untreated, the prognosis is poor.

After a two-week hospital stay, providers at the medical center informed Hall that he may not have much time left, and began to discuss hospice and palliative care options.

“This was the most difficult conversation I ever had in my life,” said Hall. “I didn’t know what to do, but I knew I was not ready. As far as I was concerned, my fight had just begun and I was determined to fight for my life.”

It was at this time that Hall’s primary care provider referred him to M. Bassel Atassi, M.D., hematologist/oncologist and internal medicine physician at Little Company of Mary Hoapital (LCMH), who was willing and ready to lead Hall in his fight.

“Dr. Atassi wouldn’t take ‘no’ for an answer,” said Hall. “He is my guardian angel and the reason I am here today.”

Because this rare form of cancer was new to Dr. Atassi, Hall’s treatments were determined one appointment at a time. It was found that the cancer originated in Donnell’s chest. Over the course of a year, Donnell underwent local radiation to the main cancer mass, targeted radiation liver-directed Radioembolization treatments, and chemotherapy treatments. In April, CT and PET scans showed that the metastasis is shrinking with no new growths.

In addition to Dr. Atassi, members of Hall’s healthcare team at LCMH include Julia Choo, M.D., radiation oncologist; Don Martinez, M.D., interventional radiologist; and Hamid Nazeer, D.O., interventional radiologist.

“I truly accredit our entire team for Donnell’s success story,” said Dr. Atassi. “None of us ever had encountered a patient with this type of cancer, but we all came together as collaborating physicians to create a customized treatment plan and ultimately save Donnell’s life.”

Today, Hall is grateful just to be alive. During treatment, he made the decision to close his print shop which has helped him to slow down and enjoy life. In spring, Hall and his family celebrated his overcoming cancer by going on a cruise.

“Before this diagnosis, I was one busy man… constantly on-the-go and rushing through life. Now, I just live life as I can. I take time to hear the birds,” said Hall. “The personalized care that I have received at the Cancer Center at LCMH has been indescribable and every person I have encountered has made me feel special and important. Little Company of Mary is like family to me. I am most grateful to my entire healthcare team, but especially to Dr. Atassi. He saved my life.”

To learn more about cancer care at Little Company of Mary Hospital, visit To make an appointment at the Cancer Center, call 708-229-6020.



Business Spotlight: Health Advocates, Home Caregiving Services

By Kristin Boza

As an elderly family member ages, mental and physical changes can come on rapidly. Many senior citizens and their families want to do everything possible to avoid an assisted living or nursing home scenario –not only are those facilities expensive, but it takes some sense of self away from the senior citizen. With the aid of Health Advocates, families can hire experienced caregivers to provide housekeeping, meal preparation, rides to a doctor’s appointment, bathing and medication reminders so that the elderly person can still live and thrive in their own home. Health Advocates is active in caring for Beverly/Morgan Park residents, and many of the caregivers employed by them reside in the neighborhood as well.

“We help people keep their elderly family member at home, and our services take the stress off of the family,” said Colleen Hassell, community outreach coordinator for Health Advocates. “My boss [Health Advocates President/CEO Raj Ismail] says we’re out there to help people to save lives and save relationships.”

Hassell said it’s a sensitive issue for families to see their older family member age and become unable to do the things they once could. The elderly took care of the younger family members in years past, but it’s not always easy for the younger generation, often caring for their own young families and working full-time, to also care for an aging parent. The caregivers at Health Advocates are able to help the younger generation take the turn of caring for the older.

“Our caregivers are there to help do whatever they can to make the family and the patient comfortable to that no one feels that they must transfer their parents to a retirement home or nursing home,” Hassell said. “Some of our caregivers have even gone on vacations with our clients to provide additional assistance to the family when they’re traveling.”

Besides in-home care, Health Advocates goes into retirement facilities to provide additional assistance to the residents. “We also offer a Gentle Flow Fitness Program, which is a seated yoga program,” Hassell said. “We have a yoga instructor who is also a caregiver; she has everyone sit in their seats and she shows them different ways to stretch and get the blood circulating in their bodies. We offer this service free of charge to the facilities as our way of giving back.”

One thing Health Advocates’ caregivers cannot do is give medication. However, a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) caregiver can remind their clients that it’s time to take their prescribed medications. When a family is in need of a caregiver, Health Advocates will send a nurse to the home to assess the care that’s needed. The nurse will then work with a coordinator to determine which caregiver would be best-suited for that client’s needs.

“Many of our clients are on a lot of medication; it can get confusing to remember when to take which medicine. It’s nice to know that you can leave your house and have someone there to tell your loved one when to take it,” Hassell said.

Giving back to the community, Health Advocates has donated reusable water bottles for the Ridge Run goody bags for the last two years. Health Advocates also recruits its clients to help give back. “We have a Crafting Caring Hands group that is comprised of a group of seniors who use donated yarn to create hats, shawls and blankets that we donate to children’s hospitals and cancer treatment facilities. Last year, we donated over 2,000 handmade items,” Hassell said.

“You want to be there for your loved one, but you can’t all the time. It’s nice to know that there’s someone who cares as much as you do to take care of your parents’ needs,” Hassell said.

To find out more about Health Advocates, visit

Ward-Wide Programs Promote Healthy Summer Activities

Local organizations are coming together to make sure people in the 19th Ward have a healthy summer. Free activities range from programs and seminars to training and healthy cooking demonstrations.

Partnering to sponsor the programs are 19th Ward Ald. Matt O’Shea, State Sen. Bill Cunningham, State Rep. Fran Hurley, BAPA, Smith Village, Humana, Sports & Ortho Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine, MetroSouth Medical Center, TreadFit, Southtown Health Foods, JenCare Senior Medical Center, ATI Physical Therapy, Southside Knockout and Fit Code.

The Healthy Summer Campaign schedule includes: and Running Excels Running Club, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 6 p.m., and Saturdays, 7 a.m., Running Excels, 10328 S. Western; Preventing & Treating Diabetes, Sat., June 3, 2 p.m., MetroSouth Health Center, 11250 S. Western; Strength Training for Runners, Sun., June 4, Cosme Park, 9201 S. Longwood Dr. (bring yoga mat); Self-Defense Seminar, Thurs., June 8, 6 p.m., Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences, 3857 W. 111th St.; Strength Training for Runners, Sun., June 11, 9 a.m., Barnard Park, 10431 S. Longwood Dr.; Senior Citizen Chair Yoga, Thurs., June 15, 1 p.m., 19th Ward Office, 10402 S. Western; Tabata in the Park, Sun., June 18, McKiernan Park, 10714 S. Sawyer; Senior Citizen Health Fair, Mon., June 19, 10 a.m., Mount Greenwood Park, 3721 W. 111th St.; Women’s Self-Defense Class,  Mon., June 19, 6 p.m., St. Xavier University Shannon Center, 3700 W. 103rd St.; Managing Stress and Energy With Nutrition, Tues., June 20, 7 p.m., Southtown Health Foods, 2100 W. 95th St.; Strength Training for Runners,. Fri., June 23, 9 a.m., Beverly Park, 2460 W. 103rd St.; Metabolic Core Conditioning, Sun., June 25, 9 a.m., Prospect Park, 10940 S. Prospect Ave.; and Healthy Cooking with Chef Gautham Rao, Tues., June 27, 7 p.m., Smith Village, 2340 W. 113th Pl. Find schedule in the 19th Ward Quarterly

Free smoothies will be provided to participants at outdoor sessions courtesy of Southtown Health Foods and BAPA. Additional information available at

Ridge Run is CARA Circuit Race

BAPA’s Ridge Run has been selected as one of the Chicago Area Runners Association (CARA) 2017 Runners’ Choice Circuit races. The CARA Runners’ Choice Circuit is a series of running events intended to create a competitive structure for local runners.

“The Circuit brings the best of local running together, both races and runners alike,” said Greg Hipp, CARA’s Director of Road Race Services and Events. ”More than just a collection of races, the Circuit is a community of runners who love to challenge themselves through competition and personal improvement.”

Circuit races are chosen annually by CARA’s Race Committee through input of CARA’s membership, race participants, CARA staff and CARA’s Board of Directors. This circuit includes many of Chicagoland’s most well organized and well-appreciated races.

For the complete schedule and for more information on the CARA Runners’ Choice Circuit go to

Founded in 1978, CARA is a non-profit organization dedicated to running advocacy in Chicagoland. It is the largest running organization in the Midwest and the third largest in the nation. Info: or 312-666-9836.

Kennedy Park Advisory Council Raising Money for Pool Chairs

By Kristin Boza

With pool season only a few short months away, the Kennedy Park Advisory Council (KPAC) is looking toward summer and working hard to improve the Kennedy Park pool experience for everyone in the neighborhood. The KPAC, formed in Sept. 2016 and led by president Carly Carney, is engaged in a fundraising effort to purchase new deck and lounge chairs and a sun sail for shade to create a more relaxing environment for pool patrons.

“Since the new heating system was installed several years ago, Kennedy Park has really become this summer oasis for neighborhood families, seniors and adults,” Carney said. “Often, there aren’t enough chairs and the ones that have been supplied by the park district have deteriorated over the years. It always weighed on my heart to see a mom with a little one that didn’t have a place to sit, or a senior citizen in an unstable chair.”

The KPAC aims to raise enough money to purchase 20 deck chairs and 20 lounge chairs. To combat the issue of no shade on the pool deck, they hope to also purchase a sun sail to give swimmers the opportunity to rest in the shade when they’re not enjoying the water.

Carney praises the Chicago Park District for their efforts in listening to residents and making much-needed changes. They extended the pool hours for lap swimmers and family swim times, and they chose Kennedy Park to be part of an initiative to extend the pool season into September.

“If the Chicago Park District is willing to work with us, then it is the right thing to do to work within their constraints,” Carney said. “It feels like a joint partnership with Eric Fischer, head of aquatics, and Ed Affolter, regional manager.”

While budget limitations prohibit the park district from purchasing the chairs themselves, Carney and the rest of the KPAC are motivated to solve the problem. “By solving this problem, it actually enhances this neighborhood resource and will make it even more friendly and comfortable to those who use the pool,” she said.

95th Street Business Association president Erin Ross helped the KPAC set up the fundraiser so that those who donate are eligible for a tax deduction. To donate, visit Kennedy Park Pool and Advisory Council on Facebook for a link to their GoFundMe page.

“The fundraising initiative is really an extended effort of how small changes can be made if we support one another,” Carney said. “The more neighborhood families use the pool, the more of a gathering place it becomes for our community.”



Anita Snow is 2017 Ridge Run Race Director

Neighborhood resident and event management specialist Anita Snow has signed as Race Director for BAPA’s 40th Annual Ridge Run.

“I am truly honored and excited to be the Race Director this year,” Snow said. “The Ridge Run is one of the many ways we can showcase all the amazing people and homes we have in this neighborhood.”

Snow has 20 years of experience in planning and presenting special events with a focus on races. She has worked in many different capacities with the Bank of America Chicago Marathon for 20 years. Other race clients include Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle; Chicago Polar Dash Half Marathon, 10K and 5K; Chicago Monster Dash Half Marathon and 5K;
Get Lucky Chicago; Midway Fly Away 5K; Running for Hope; Nike, Teach for America 5K; and Ronald McDonald House Charities.

Snow has been a member of the Ridge Run Committee, providing important expertise to making the race run smoothly.

Snow and her husband Dwight have lived in the neighborhood for over 20 years. They have two children who attend St. Barnabas School. Snow is actively involved in St Barnabas, working on the Finance Board and serving as FSA Treasurer and girls volleyball coach.

The Ridge Run and Beverly/Morgan Park/Mount Greenwood Memorial Day Parade take place on Memorial Day, Mon., May 29. Ridge Run registration for the 10K, 5K and Youth Mile races is open at Neighbors interested in learning more about the race or Memorial Day Parade, or becoming an event  volunteer can email