Nicky Campbell ready to surf at Stuart Beach.
The spunky woman eagerly paddling her surfboard in the ocean off Stuart Beach was once in a downward spiral.
“I thought life was just as bad as it could possibly be,” Nicky Campbell says about the period of her husband’s illness and his death after 54 years of marriage. “Treasure Health Grief Support’s counseling services lifted me from the depths of despair, and I’m now enjoying some of the happiest days of my life.”
More than 5,000 people a year take advantage of counseling services. Like Nicky, they find a place to reclaim their lives and, as she says, to develop a routine of happiness.
For Nicky, working with counselor Karen Hirsch, LCSW, meant seeing the possibilities life has to offer, reaching out to others and finding something she loved to do.
“Find something you can do every day to make you happy,” she remembers Karen telling her. “Do it in the morning. Get up and go out of the house.”
Nicky started going to the beach each morning, walking from Stuart Beach to the House of Refuge. She made friends with the lifeguards and the surfers along the beach.
“I made myself smile and say hello to everyone I met,” she says. “I started meeting young and happy people. The lifeguards were so friendly and taught me to bodysurf. Now I paddle with them five or six mornings a week!”
Over time she lost weight from her beach jaunts and got fitter than she had ever been in her life. At 76 years of age, she made the finals in the bodysurfing “Old Man of the Sea” contest.
At the Environmental Stewardship Awards in February, she was honored as the 2018 Outstanding Volunteer by Keep Martin Beautiful, nominated by the Martin County lifeguards for her consistent efforts to pick up litter on the beach and make our community a better place.
“Karen urged me to show gratitude for my life,” Nicky says. “She kept pointing me toward a future that I could direct.” After learning new skills from her lifeguard and surfer buddies, she can handle almost any day in the ocean and, thanks to counseling services at Treasure Health, “any day on land or sea.”
Grief support services are available to all who grieve in Martin and St. Lucie counties, thanks to generous grants and community contributions to the Treasure Coast Hospice Foundation. Please contact Treasure Health Grief Support at 772.403.4530 to learn more about our programs and how our counselors can assist you and your family find hope and healing.