My Why

Updated:Jun 21,2016
Funniest fundraiser of the Heart Walk (Crowley's Executive Dunk Tank is also in the running but they forgot to send me photos). Premera hosts a When asked why she is a devotee of the American Heart Association, Lynn Rust Henderson has a hard time deciding.

Her dedication to raising funds for research and education is strong. A volunteer since her days in Detroit, she has championed the Heart Walk in Anchorage since arriving in 2011. Under her leadership, Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alaska is the No. 1 company supporting the Anchorage Heart Walk with both company team income and sponsorship. She was awarded top walker the first year she participated.

“I am very proud of the work AHA does promoting the signs of heart disease and coronary artery disease to women through the Go Red For Women campaign.” Her work with the AHA has grown to include membership on the Alaska Board of Directors and the local Go Red For Women Executive Leadership Team.

“I have close family members who have been afflicted by heart disease and I truly believe in AHA’s mission.” After a bypass at the age of 65, her Dad succumbed to heart disease. She also has a connection to the AHA mission every day through her work with the Worksite Wellness Academy. Established by Premera in 2013, the program offers members information from health experts and live seminars and tools to help them implement the AHA’s guidelines for nutrition and exercise, as well as innovative suggestions for incorporating healthy habits into everyday living. Member companies whose employees use the program earn discounts in their insurance coverage. “People spend so much time at work, it’s a no brainer,” she says.

But Lynn acknowledges that she didn’t always practice what she preached. Her move from Detroit to Anchorage was stressful. Her husband was not able to join her for the first year. She gained weight. She didn’t feel well. “It was a dark year,” she recalls. When she finally required medication to control her high blood pressure, she decided to take advantage of the programs that she promoted to her clients. She joined a gym, worked with a personal trainer and spent the next year gaining back her health. Now she exercises daily, eats better and focusses on prevention rather than repair.

Ultimately, her passion and dedication has come full circle and is much more personal. “My health is Why,” she says.