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NM Campaign Centered on Those Living with Multiple Chronic Diseases

PHOTO: Wesley Pulkka, who suffers from diabetes, heart disease and cancer, is featured in a new campaign aimed at providing more services to the thousands of New Mexicans living with multiple chronic diseases. Photo courtesy of the New Mexico Chronic Disease Prevention Council.
PHOTO: Wesley Pulkka, who suffers from diabetes, heart disease and cancer, is featured in a new campaign aimed at providing more services to the thousands of New Mexicans living with multiple chronic diseases. Photo courtesy of the New Mexico Chronic Disease Prevention Council.
April 29, 2015

SANTA FE, N.M. - A new campaign draws attention to services available to help the one in four New Mexicans older than age 45 who live with multiple chronic diseases such as diabetes and arthritis.

The advocacy and support group New Mexico Chronic Disease Prevention Council is sponsoring the New Mexico Health Starts Here campaign.

"It was time to bring people together to be more efficient and effective," said Laurel McCloskey, the group's executive director, "and really look at how to promote multi-level prevention and management strategies at both the individual and community levels, to prevent chronic disease."

McCloskey said the focus is on uniting services such as smoking cessation and diabetes prevention to provide a one-stop shop for the thousands of people in the state suffering with multiple chronic diseases.

The campaign includes the recent launch of the website ChronicDiseaseNM.org," which features a video with Wesley Pulkka sharing his story. The 73-year-old has fought cancer and heart disease, is prediabetic, has struggled with weight control and was a smoker. Pulkka said managing and surviving multiple chronic diseases involves lifestyle changes and brutal honesty.

"And you've got diabetes, cancer, and heart disease - you're done with the cheating part, it's over," he said. "And if you want to live tomorrow, you better get your act together now."

Pulkka, who is a sculptor and writer, said he feels good and is planning his next decade of artistic endeavor.

Troy Wilde, Public News Service - NM