Mark Hilliker: Stopped Smoking and Started Running
For Mark Hilliker, a father of four who works in Hurley Medical Center's Laundry Department, life revolves around running, getting in shape, eating healthy and feeling better.
Quit smoking over a year and a half ago with Hurley's help
Smoking made Mark constantly out of breath, and not feeling like doing anything. With the help of Hurley's Smoking Cessation Hotline, Mark quit smoking over a year and a half ago and has said that since then, his health has changed dramatically.
He took off running and his daughters followed
Once he quit smoking, Mark decided to run the Crim, Flint's well-known road race. This was something he’d been wanting to do and he finally accomplished it in 2011. His oldest daughter, who was 13 at the time, saw him preparing for the Crim and decided she wanted to run it too. She joined him on practice runs and also on race day, running the entire 10 mile course with him. Not to be outdone, Mark's 12-year-old daughter ran the 1-mile Crim.
"It was great being able to get my children involved and do something active with them," Mark said. "My oldest daughter is now running cross country at her school and training for obstacle course events, and the younger one is running track. They even got their cousin interested in running."
Hurley Health & Fitness Center played a big part in his life change
Initially, Mark joined Hurley Health & Fitness Center (HHFC) because of a no-initiation-fee special offer for Hurley employees. But what made the biggest difference in his journey to fitness was the constant encourgement from Dawn Hiller, Executive Directive at HHFC.
According to Mark, "She would walk the halls of Hurley greeting people and spreading the word about Commit to Fit, a county-wide fitness challenge. And she would always tell me about the different activities available at HHFC, putting them in the Hurley employee newsletter, constantly sending update emails to employees and encouraging them to get involved. I would talk to her when I’d go for weigh-ins and learn about workout classes, events and specials HHFC was offering during lunchtime or after work. She was always encouraging and really reached out to us Hurley employees trying to work out, get in shape and have better health for ourselves and our families. "
Leading by example for his children and other Hurley employees
Through Mark's commitment to fitness, running is something his daughters have gotten involved in and something that he enjoys doing with them. "It's been a huge benefit," Mark said. "Besides getting in shape and being able to do more, it's given me a way to get involved with my children and help them with their health."
In addition, other Hurley employees are asking him how he quit smoking and got in shape. They even want to run with him at lunchtime.
The Farmers Market 's best customer
HHFC's Dawn Hiller got the local Farmers Market to come to Hurley, and Mark said he is now one of its best customers. "I buy a lot of local fruits and vegetables from them. My kids are now eating healthier with me—a lot more fruits and vegetables and less junk. All of us are much healthier now."