MacDougall also recipient of Canadian Diabetes Association inspiration award
BASS RIVER - Rilla MacDougall is a serious loser and is extremely proud of it.
In fact, it is her support and caring that helped others in the community embrace their inner loser, setting provincial records.
"Our chapter had the highest weight loss in Nova Scotia with a weight loss of 16.98 pounds per member," MacDougall said.
For almost 10 years the Bass River woman, 53, has been a member of Take Off Pounds Sensibly (TOPS), a non-profit group dedicated to helping people on a weight loss journey to do it in a healthy, sensible way.
"My neighbour invited me to a meeting to meet friends when I moved back to Bass River and I had weight to lose at the time," she said. "And as a diabetic it is very unhealthy to be over weight."
MacDougall took on a more predominant role in the program in 2008 as TOPS area captain, heading chapters in Colchester, Cumberland and Pictou counties. Along with her work with the local chapter she is a dedicated volunteer with the Canadian Diabetes Association, offering help to others coping with Type-1 diabetes.
She said both programs go hand in hand.
"It makes a major difference in managing my diabetes and doing volunteer work for the diabetes association," she said. "You don't have to join TOPS to lose weight. A lot of people struggle with maintaining their weight and the week to week meetings really help."
In-mid July MacDougall was awarded a President's Award, including a certificate and gold ring, during a presentation in Calgary by TOPS Inc. president Barb Cady.
Each year only 10 captains from around the world are selected for the honour. The local group placed sixth in the world for membership growth along with other criteria.
"It has just raised the bar because I know there is so much more to be done in helping people," said the local team leader.
Shortly after returning home from receiving that honour, MacDougall discovered she had been selected by the Canadian Diabetes Association's regional awards committee to receive a 2013 Inspiration Award.
"This award is being presented to you to show our recognition of the challenges to one's health of living with Type 1 diabetes for more than 50 years," said Brian Wentzell, awards committee chairman in a letter announcing the award. "Yet, you remain an ever-inspirational model of energy and dedication to diabetes in Nova Scotia."
She was acknowledged for her commitment to the organization by creating opportunities for diabetes education, making presentations, coordinating fundraising events and acting as a spokesperson for media.
"You really ‘do it all' and you are a terrific role model for other volunteers in the province," the letter said.
MacDougall will be officially presented with her award later this fall.