I’m Diane Atwood. I began writing the Catching Health blog in 2011 as a means to an end. I was just starting a new business as a freelance health and wellness writer and decided a blog would be a great way to market my services.
The strategy worked, but something unexpected also happened. I spent more and more time working on the blog simply because I enjoyed it so much. Soon people began contacting me with story ideas or to say thank you for writing about a particular topic. Catching Health took on a life of its own and I decided to let it grow.
For many years I was the health reporter on WCSH6 in Portland, Maine. Toward the end of my career, I received this letter from a viewer:
Dear Mrs. Atwood,
This letter is long overdue, but somehow appropriate to be written on my tenth anniversary. It is a thank you note to you.
Ten years ago you did a news special encouraging women to check their breasts for lumps. I decided to check. To my horror, I found something. I was only 31 years old. It turned out to be cancer.
I have been cancer free ever since.
I owe you my life, Mrs. Atwood. The doctors and hospital did a wonderful job, too. But if it wasn’t for your news show, I never would have checked for lumps.
That letter sums up why I do what I do. I love interviewing people, researching all things related to health and wellness and sharing information that might make a difference in someone’s life.
Before I became a reporter I spent ten years as a radiation therapist treating cancer patients at Maine Medical Center. It was a profound experience that gave me an appreciation for things I might have otherwise overlooked. The work also revealed the geek in me — as an assistant to the radiation physicist, I learned to calculate doses of radiation and calibrate the treatment machines. And, I discovered that I understand and enjoyed the language of medicine, which is a huge help when that’s what you write about.
I left the hospital to attend St. Joseph’s College in Standish. After I got my BA, I lived and worked for a few months in France and then backpacked throughout Italy, Greece and Israel. That experience taught me I could do anything I put my mind to.
When I returned to Maine, I just happened to be in the right place at the right time and landed a reporting job at WMTW-TV.
A year later another opportunity presented itself, when WCSH-TV had an opening for a reporter. I thought it would be great fun, so auditioned and got the job. It was beyond great fun, as well as fulfilling.
After more than 20 years as a health reporter another intriguing opportunity presented itself, and I became the marketing/public relations manager for Mercy Hospital in Portland. I thought Mercy had wonderful stories to share with the community and I wanted to help tell them, which I had the privilege of doing for nine years.
And now, here I am, old enough to retire but not the least bit interested. Instead, I’m writing a health and wellness blog that is growing by leaps and bounds and I couldn’t be happier!
By the way, the name Catching Health is my daughter Katharine’s brainchild. We always talk about catching a disease or an illness. Why not talk about catching health and wellness instead?
Catching Health with Diane Atwood is carried by Bangor Daily News, one of Maine’s leading newspapers, and I am also a contributing blogger for WCSH6. In addition, I write a monthly health and wellness column for Maine Women Magazine and host a show on WPXT-TV called Maine Health Connections.
I’m also proud to announce that in May 2013 Catching Health with Diane Atwood was honored with a Gold Lamplighter award from the New England Society for Healthcare Communications. In 2011 it received a Golden Arrow award from the Maine Public Relations Council.
I live in Maine with my husband Barry and our four cats. We have two daughters, Stephanie and Katharine.
In my spare time I am an oil painter and recently became a BFA student at the University of Southern Maine. You can read about my experiences as a non-traditional student in my newest blog mylatestart.
I hope you enjoy reading Catching Health. If you have any questions or comments, please send me an email.
Diane Atwood|Health and Wellness Writer and Blogger
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