26th Annual Winthrop Community Health Forum

The 26th Winthrop Community Health Forum, presented by Commonwealth Clinical Services, Inc., Winthrop Chamber of Commerce, Winthrop Board of Health, Winthrop Foundation, and the Doctor Pramodchandra and Devila Shah Family Foundation, was held on October 18 at Winthrop High School.

East Boston Community Health Center provided free flu shots to attendees who learned about local resources such as dentistry, physical therapy, elder services, eye care, and fitness.

“Sometimes our lives take different paths, and we have no idea where we’re going,” said registered nurse, Sandra Hurley, a stage 4 cancer survivor. “There is always hope. Don’t ever give up. With every ending there is a new beginning and blessings. We need to be grateful.”

Hurley is the founder of Commonwealth Clinical Services, Inc., a local visiting nurse association.

Keynote speaker, Chris Wayland, President and General Manager of WBTS-TV, NECN, Telemundo, and NBC Sports Boston, explained how he overcame mental health challenges when life did not go as planned. While attending college, Wayland learned a technique that has guided him in setting goals and managing anxiety: journaling.

“It gave me a coping mechanism to deal with my emotional and mental health. I started writing to myself about everything,” said Wayland. “It helps me set priorities about what kind of leader I want to be, and how to be the best dad. I write about my aspirations and dreams.”

Wayland grew up in Winthrop as a hockey athlete and competitive sailor.  Now he is the father of four daughters, has been married for 24 years, and strives to encourage employees to work at the highest level that they are capable of.

“I found that the things I wrote about have mostly come true. If you can picture in your mind the life that you want to live, and write it in great detail, you are going to live that life,” affirmed Wayland.

Keynote speaker, Latoyia Edwards, two-time Emmy award-winning anchor on NBC10 and NECN, shared her struggles, as well as the positives and sense of community while being raised by young, hard working parents in a Dorchester housing project. Growing up, Edwards would compile a list of her dreams.

“Your environment doesn’t dictate who you are or what you are going to be,” remembered Edwards about a lesson that she learned from her parents.

Edwards described her anxieties while her grandmother struggled with dementia, and the sadness after her passing, as well as the sudden losses of her aunt and mother.

“We all have struggles. When you lose the most important person, your axis is thrown. I had to figure out how to steady myself,” said Edwards. “Even though my mom is gone, she raised me to be strong. I stand here now with joy in my heart. It’s a decision. I treasure the people around me. There is no reason to be negative. There is always a reason to smile.”

During her career, Edwards has worked as a health reporter, and a weekend, evening, and morning news anchor. Edwards is a journalist who has moderated political debates, anchored live news events, secured exclusive one-on-one interviews, and served as the master of ceremonies for countless charities. She is a youth group volunteer, wife, and mother of a son and daughter, and encourages everyone to be authentic to themselves.

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