This summer we put a call out to the public, asking the question: “Who is Bermuda’s 2022 health hero?” With more than 1,700 votes, the answer is clear: Cardiac rehab exercise specialist Bee Thurlow is a force, helping high-risk individuals improve their health and live longer, happier lives.

Working at the Core Health Center for the past five years has been the perfect job for Bethany Thurlow (known to most as Bee) combining a passion for helping others with a career in health. It has been an opportunity she hasn’t let go to waste, becoming one of the central figures for the centre in its mission to reduce heart-related illness in Bermuda.

At CORE, Bee has several roles from cardiac technician and rehab specialist to gym manager and community outreach, with even more duties on top of that. Yet it all helps support cardiovascular health through encouraging lifestyle changes with educational and physical training programmes. Bee says, “My employer would say I am the face of CORE. I don’t take that responsibility lightly. I strive to be my best self physically and mentally to inspire others to have the courage to choose to be their best self. I like to think I bring joy and community to our members.”

Losing her grandfather at a young age from cardiac complications helped shape her journey into health along with an earlier interest in fitness. From there she wished to prevent other people from suffering the same fate. She and CORE have since helped over one thousand people suffering heart issues become able to live healthy lives. “Training an elderly cardiac client to climb Kilimanjaro and a client with a severe autoimmune disorder to run the London marathon were the defining moments where I realised the potential impact I could have.”

The CORE programme, which began in 2010, is individualistic with every patient being assessed and given training based on their own goals, with styles of training, level of support and their psychological standing assessed by Bee and other staff. Bee claims that the educational aspect alone excites many patients as it shows them that seemingly minor changes at home can make a big difference in their health. From there Bee can develop their fitness. “The gym experience is unthreatening, social and often highly educational. Everyone participating shares a common goal—to become healthier. It is a safe, supportive and therapeutic environment. I offer support (emotional, informational, motivational, physical and affirmational) to develop a plan specific to the individual’s needs.”

Bee hopes to further develop her career by upgrading her educational and medical qualifications to help CORE grow in the future. She has become the face of the centre and one of its central employees enabling the programme to develop healthy practices. According to Bee, patients aren’t simply clients, they’re family.

Stressing the importance of CORE’s role, Bee says, “Prevention works, sometimes people just need a little help to guide them.”