Nan currently works (20+ years) as Executive Director of three elder service programs in Vermont.
She was diagnosed in 1996 with RA. She feels that as odd as it sounds, suffering with a chronic disease like RA has “gifted” her with a much deeper appreciation for EVERYTHING from nature to her family to the simplest pleasures in life. She is a firm believer in seeking out what you need to manage and live joyfully with a chronic disease like RA.
Nan has had several corrective surgeries over the years but as of yet no joint replacements! She believes that is in part due to the fact she was an early and avid believer in seeking aggressive treatment early in the course of the disease before erosions begin. Back in 1995 that was just becoming the protocol of choice. Thanks to a wonderfully cooperative relationship with her medical team and her own determination to stay tuned to the latest treatment options Nan feels she has “beat the odds” in terms of surgical procedures and outcome.
Nan is a graduate of the Pennsylvania State University with a degree in Rehabilitation Education. Her professional experience includes several years as a cognitive therapist with physically and mentally challenged birth to three year old children as part of an interdisciplinary team through a United Cerebral Palsy Early Intervention Program. After taking off 13 years to raise three sons, she returned to teaching part time while working on her Masters Degree in Early Ed./Spanish. In addition, while attending school, she started working part time in the elder service field never realizing that would become my long term career choice.
As the Executive Director of three elder service programs including RSVP, Foster Grandparent Program and One-2-One she has the opportunity to work first hand with the dynamic and civically engaged older adults every day! She also serves on a number of community boards including TRIAD, Rutland Area Physical Activities Coalition, the Coalition for Adult Immunization, the local Community Health Team, a number of senior service coalitions and boards and just wrapped up a term as President of the Public Access station for central Vermont where she hosts a show called VIBES dedicated to volunteerism. She presents workshops on volunteer management at conferences locally, regionally and nationally, including several multi-state conferences and continue to offer them on a regular basis for interested non-profits.
Happily married for nearly 40 years to Jay Hart they have three amazing sons: Brian, the CEO of a non-profit that serves the homeless in Washington DC (Keys for the Homeless) and an past elected local official in his district; Ryan, a federal prosecutor for the Western Region of PA living in Pittsburgh, PA with his wife Lindsey; and Reilly, software developer/engineer in Washington DC.
Throughout this journey I have found great support and relief in continuing my own personal volunteer work beyond serving on boards. I volunteer with the Arthritis Foundation and also volunteer at the Court Diversion program which works with first time offenders to find an alternative to incarceration.
I love to read, I am an avid swimmer and walker and I also practice and teach Tai Chi. Most of all I love spending time with my family – my beloved and supportive husband, sons and daughter in law, my brother, my Dad, my friends and co-workers who are a priceless source of comfort, love and support.
Over 5 years ago I started an RA Support Group for our region which had not had one for over 20 years! We meet each month and the numbers continue to grow! We are on Facebook and the link is http://www.facebook.com/pages/Rheumatoid-Arthritis-Support-Group-Rutland-Region/202315596455903. Finally, I have blog I started in 2011 with the intention of sharing how to manage RA with a positive outlook! Check it out at http://livingwithra-nan.blogspot.com/.
Click here to read all of Nan’s articles on Rheumatoidarthritis.net.