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If you plan to age, prepare yourself — it's later than you think. The challenge of aging well should be taken seriously, but not grimly! Whatever your age, it's never too soon, or too late, to learn and apply the fine art of aging well, really well. Discover what aspects of aging can't be changed and improve the rest that can. Mold your own realities with REAL wellness, Ardell-style.

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by Donald B. Ardell, Ph. D.
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Wellness in the Headlines
(Don's Report to the World)

A Helping Hand from the Widow of Halbert L. Dunn, M.D.

Wednesday October 29, 2014


Dr. Halbert L. Dunn

In 1975, when I was writing my first book, I decided to make a journey to the Washington, D.C. area from my home in the S.F. Bay Area to learn more about the creator of the phrase “high level wellness,” that being Halbert L. Dunn, M.D. 

I also wanted to know how Phelpsie Dunn, the widow of Halbert who died just months earlier, would feel about my idea to honor her late husband by using the phrase “high level wellness” in the title of my own book, soon to be published by Rodale Press. (High Level Wellness: An Alternative to Doctors, Drugs and Disease

She not only approved but was delighted and grateful that someone wanted to honor her Dr. Dunn in this fashion. We talked at some length by phone and an invitation was extended to visit Bethesda where the Dunns lived for many years. I brought along a friend who shared my enthusiasm for the wellness concept, a graduate student in health education at the University of Maryland named Carol M. Kingsley.

I attribHigh Level Wellnessute the support and generosity of Mrs. Dunn when we visited in part to the bonding of the two women. We stayed for hours, not only examining Dr. Dunn's papers but hearing details about the great man and the nature of their lives together. We got to see Dr. Dunn's stationary bike (located in their bedroom), the flower garden he maintained and so on. I left with boxes of journal articles and other memorabilia. re thrilled with this opportunity—for us, it equivalent to dinner at the White House. 

I remained in touch with Mrs. Dunn for some time thereafter. Months after the visit, Mrs. Dunn agreed to travel to D.C. in order to serve as the honorary starter of the first (and regrettably only) Halbert L. Dunn Memorial Run, a 5K that went around the White House and the Ellipse and was sponsored by the American Health Planning Association.

So, though I never had the honor to meet Dr. Dunn, I did enjoy an unforgettable and treasured experience with a very close family member. Mrs. Dunn was an important influence and the visit to the home way back in 1975 was an unforgettable and crucial watershed event that set me on a fruitful wellness path. 

Good cheer. 

Signed Don Ardell

(Ed. Note: Views expressed in this and other columns are those of the author and not necessarily those of the SeekWellness Editorial Board.)

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