Journey of 800 km began with training

At 65, Bob Patterson wanted to do something memorable — but first he had to get in shape.

At 65, Bob Patterson wanted to do something memorable — but first he had to get in shape.

Approaching retirement, he wanted to traverse the Saint James Way, an 800-km pilgrimage from the south of France to the north of Spain.

But he had to get in shape.

At a recent Red Deer Primary Care Network town hall meeting at the Black Knight Inn, he told the story of how he signed up for the primary care network’s health basics program hoping to lose weight and get in shape for the pilgrimage.

He started the eight-week program on Jan. 7, 2013. By the end, he had lost seven pounds. On May 24, 2013, he flew to Europe and by May 29 he started his walk in the Pyrenees mountains in southern France.

Thirty-four days later, he reached the Cathedral of Saint James in Santiago, Spain.

His success story is one of eight the primary care network is telling to promote the programs they offer in the community.

Dr. Peter Bouch, former Red Deer PCN board chair, said they have had good success stories over the years through their programs, but they haven’t done much in the way of advertising those programs.

Programs offered by the PCN include: health basics; strong and steady, a group exercise class; recreation therapy; sleep help; mental health counselling; happiness counselling; anxiety to calm assistance; relationships that work; family nursing, including navigation, high blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol, pregnancy and babies, and quitting smoking and other tobacco products; dietitian assistance; a pharmacist; memory testing; and spirometry breathing testing.

The PCN is also involved in the community through the street clinic, at 5017 49th St., which does not require an appointment; and the Police and Crisis Team, a two-person outreach team of a registered psychiatric nurse and an RCMP officer assisting situations involving mental health, addiction or psychosocial crisis.

For more information on these programs, visit

Also introduced at the town hall were the two new community board members: former city councillor Cindy Jefferies and Central Middle School principal Mark Jones.

“We are spending taxpayer dollars and I think it’s important for the taxpayer to have some sort of say,” said Bouch. “For us to find out what the general public and our patients think is important and where they would like to see us go in the future.”

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