Why did Sharese Welch begin her health journey? As a mother of three who’s been happily married for over 20 years, Sharese wants to be there for her family.
“I have family members who passed away at an early age because of diabetes and heart issues,” she said, “but I want to stay in front of my health so that doesn’t happen to me.”
While many 1199SEIU members responded to the Benefit Fund’s “Tell Us Your WHY” question, Sharese Welch was especially happy to participate in the contest—and win some swag!
When she was first diagnosed with diabetes in 2019, she wasn’t an 1199SEIU member. But her grandmother strongly encouraged her to become part of 1199SEIU. “I’m happy she did. She was right, my benefits have been amazing,” Sharese said. “Now I’m confident when I go to my doctor’s appointments that everything will be covered.” This confidence has helped Sharese take control of her diabetes and her health journey.
In 2021, Sharese began using a step tracker, which helped her lose the 15 pounds she gained during the earlier days of the pandemic. And she didn’t stop there. She’s still using the step tracker and has now lost 25 pounds. “It’s like a fine piece of jewelry that helps me meet my goal each day,” Sharese explained. Wearing it encourages her to walk as much as she can, so she makes better choices—like walking around the block to get her daily cup of coffee even when a more direct route is available. The results of this dedication have shown up in her blood work. Her A1C levels dropped from 7.2 to 6.5 in just three months—without medication.
Sharese also relies on the care she receives from her team of doctors at NewYork-Presbyterian’s Weill Cornell Medical Center. Regular checkups have been a part of Sharese’s life for nearly 20 years, but her 1199SEIU health benefits allow her to see her healthcare team when she needs to, without worrying about deductibles and co-pays. Her care team includes her primary care physician, cardiologist and endocrinologist. Sharese believes that having everything monitored in one place helps ensure nothing is missed. “I have a great team that helps me keep everything under control—they really treat me like family,” she explained. “Before, I felt like the costs were affecting my well-being. I wasn’t going to my doctors as often as I should because I couldn’t afford to. Now, if my A1C is up, I see my doctor and I don’t have to worry.”
As a Host in the Food Services Department at NYU Tisch Hospital, Sharese enjoys doing what she can to improve her patients’ days. A bonus is that the work she does helped her learn the importance of healthy eating. She’s picked up some tips that help her manage her diabetes, like limiting her intake of carbohydrates and sticking with heart-healthy foods.
And she’s considering joining WeightWatchers. “I think it’s awesome that we have that benefit now,” Sharese said. “I’m very excited about looking into it.” [The Benefit Fund team encourages her to do it!]
Getting her health under control has allowed Sharese to spend time doing something else she enjoys—reading. “I love the peace that books can bring,” she said. “I just got my new library card, and my children can’t believe I still go there. But I’m thrilled, like I was when I won the contest,” she said with a smile.