According to the National Health Council, chronic diseases affect approximately 133 million Americans, representing more than 40 percent of the total population.
When diagnosed, many are left feeling discouraged. However, the HeartSprings Center in Fargo, North Dakota is helping these individuals find meaning and passion in their lives once again.
HeartSprings Center is a nonprofit organization that offers integrated, complementary therapies for people living with chronic life-altering conditions or traumatic brain injuries. The center offers healing classes such as yoga, music and meditation, and classes take place in the Fargo Messiah Lutheran Church.
The center describes its methods as integrative in the sense that it focuses on the “whole person,” meaning the physical body, the soul body and the spiritual body. Typical individuals who visit the center are suffering from diseases and disorders, including Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, brain injury, sleeplessness, anxiety and depression.
Nearly every individual that attends one of the classes has something positive to say about their experience.
Betty Ingebretson describes the center as a form of self-expression that allows her to let go of reality and let her creativity flow. “It doesn’t matter if you have a tremor; it just adds to the landscape,” she teases. Ingebretson has been living with Parkinson’s disease for the past eight years.
There are additional programs for individuals with Parkinson’s as well, including the “movement group,” which serves as an informal support group.
Additionally, Rachel Phelps describes the art sessions as non-judgmental and has looked forward to sessions each week. The sessions allow her to relax and socialize with individuals who also love art. Phelps has been battling myoclonus, a condition which includes misfiring of brain signals that cause random jerks or spasms that are similar to seizures.
HeartSprings has a wide range of available staff that is utilized to fit group and individual needs. The staff consists of an occupational therapist, a physical therapist, nurse, yoga therapists and an integrated nutrition coach.
For those wishing to gain volunteer hours, HeartSprings is always seeking eager individuals wishing to leave an impact on those who need it most. Positions include volunteer coordinator, administrative assistance, marketing, fundraising assistance, baking for support groups and library assistance.
Staff members describe their experience as heartfelt and encouraging. Art instructor Lexie Rundquist has a history of working with individuals with traumatic brain injuries and instantly fell in love with everything HeartSprings has to offer. She says she particularly loves meeting artists who are willing to work at their own pace and provide constructive criticism to one another.
“I get so much joy out of it and I hope they do too,” Rundquist adds about the experience.
For further information, including a full list of volunteer opportunities, class schedules and offerings, and testimonials go to www.heartspringscenter.com