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?
I’m proud to announce that in 2015, the Maine Press Association honored Catching Health with a 3rd place in Feature Blogging. In 2014, Catching Health won a Web Health Award and in 2013, a Gold eHealthcare Leadership Award. It was honored with a Gold Lamplighter award from the New England Society for Healthcare Communications in May 2013. 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, who is married to Keegan, and Katharine.
In my spare time, I am a student at the University of Southern Maine, pursuing a fine arts degree. You can read about my experiences as a non-traditional student and in my newest blog mylatestart. The blog also features profiles of Maine artists.
Catching Health is everywhere
In addition to being part of the Bangor Daily News team of bloggers, I also self-host Catching Health at CatchingHealth.com.
You’ll find me every other Tuesday morning at 6:25 on the WCSH6 Morning Report talking about health and wellness with Sharon Rose Vaznis. WCSH and WLBZ also feature Catching Health blog posts on their websites.
Turner Publishing runs stories from Catching Health in its community publications and its Boomer Magazine.
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
Connect with me on Google+.
STAY IN TOUCH
Browse the Catching Health calendar for health events across the entire state of Maine or post your own event.