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New WCNY series explores stories of personal triumph over major health challenges beginning May 8

WCNY, Central New York’s public broadcasting company, is taking a new approach to educating the community about health issues by telling the moving stories of people who have overcome significant health challenges. For the series, WCNY is partnering with four impassioned doctors to present a multi-faceted view of the experience of a health crisis—how it affects individual patients and their families and what happens during treatment, recovery and adapting to a new-normal of healthy living.

“This program tells remarkable stories of recovery and resilience,” said Robert J. Daino, WCNY president and CEO. “The doctors look at each individual not only from a physical point of view, but also from a mental health and emotional well-being perspective. Without sugar-coating the devastation that comes from major illness or injury, the series shows how people can emerge from these challenges with fulfilling lives and a positive outlook.”

The new 13-part, WCNY-produced series premieres at 8:30 p.m. Thursdays beginning May 8, across WCNY’s 19-county viewing area. Hosted by Susan Kennedy, the series partners with four “Cycle of Health” doctors:

• Rich O’Neill, Ph.D., a psychologist and behavioral scientist at Upstate Medical University
• Dr. George Stanley, an obstetrician and gynecologist at Syracuse Community Health Center
• Dr. John Parker, an orthopedic surgeon at Syracuse Orthopedic Specialists
• Dr. Maritza Alvarado, medical director of the Syracuse City School District

Episode one features a triathlete pedaling her way through multiple sclerosis, an award-winning caregiver combatting stress with sensitivity as she helps her aging mother, and the story of premature babies 20 years later. A range of other topics include childhood diabetes, lunchroom makeovers, and the donation of organs after a tragedy.

“Cycle of Health” re-airs at 1 p.m. Sundays on WCNY and at 6 p.m. on WCNY’s Create channel. Each episode is also available online at

Underwriting for “Cycle of Health” is provided by BHL and BCG, Eye Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons of Central New York and Central New York Eye and Tissue Bank, and Excellus BlueCross BlueShield.

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