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Archived Story

I want to be a healer to help other people

Published 6:18pm Friday, April 4, 2014

“I want to be a healer to help other people,” says Melissa Le Roy.
Le Roy, who owns and operates three businesses, and who works with patients at Foothills Wellness Center, practices what she teaches.  Having overcome a condition that could have ended her life, she now competes all-out in the Spartan Trifecta – three brutal races with challenging obstacle courses. Once 220 pounds in a size 12 dress, she is now much lighter, stronger, more fit and especially, vibrantly healthy.
Most people are fortunate to find one passion in themselves. The admittedly outgoing Le Roy combines several. She notes that her “overall passion is teaching, how to raise money, how to eat healthfully, how to lose weight.”
Before doing any of these, she was a patient. She was also at what she calls her “dream job,” as executive director of Foothills Equestrian Nature Center (FENCE) for ten years. But, she was not as fit or as healthy as she is now.
Le Roy credits Dr. Joseph Picone for much of that transition. Some years back, she went to Picone (who operates Foothills Wellness Center on Rt. 108 between Tryon and Columbus), for treatment of various aches and pains.
Picone “introduced me to the enzyme therapy that we do here.” At the time, said Le Roy, she weighed 220 pounds. Her duties at FENCE included physical exercise, and with her greater than average height, Le Roy looked fairly solid. But, she wasn’t a specimen of health and fitness.
She lost thirty pounds, but also learned what she now teaches in her classes on healthy cooking, nutrition and exercise, and at Foothills Wellness – “Diets don’t work. With enzyme therapy, it becomes a whole lifestyle change . . . You’re only as good as what you put in your body.”
Though Le Roy dropped thirty pounds, her “crazy schedule” made it difficult to stay the course. But, she was determined to do better. On January 1, 2011, she made a resolution to her husband that “I’d be in a little black dress, size four (at the time, she wore a 12).” By Halloween, the black dress size four was too big.” She wore and still wears a size two, but, 98 pounds later, she’s anything but skinny and frail.
Once diagnosed with a possibly-fatal condition, Le Roy eventually felt so good that she began competing in half-marathons and Spartan Races. Spartan Races come in three lengths– the Sprint of three-plus miles; the Super (six-plus miles) and the Beast of 13-plus miles – all with an assortment of obstacles. Competing in all three in one year is the Trifecta.
By the summer of 2013, Picone told her, “You’re one of my star patients. Would you consider working for me?” Now, Le Roy is Picone’s assistant and nutritional consultant at Foothills Wellness Center, teaching what has worked so well for her – nutrition, exercise and overall lifestyle change. In addition, Picone “got me off all prescription drugs. I was not expected to live to see mid-life, and here I am, forty. Thanks to Dr. Joe, I have my life, and the peace that comes with it.”
One of the ways Le Roy gives back is her healthy cooking classes, held the first Wednesday of each month at the Polk County Extension office demonstration kitchen on Gibson Street, Columbus. Noting that people seem to always crave the foods their bodies can’t digest, she emphasizes of her meals, “There are healthy options to sugar and carbohydrates. You can make foods you love that are healthy and taste good.”
By the end of this summer, Le Roy hopes to be certified as a holistic nutritional practitioner, through the University of Natural Health. Her teaching includes yoga, exercise and TRX training (using suspension bands developed by a Navy Seal).
Le Roy has also founded and now operates three companies– OnFire Nonprofit Consulting, OnFire Naturals and OnFire Healing. In OnFire Healing, “We go through the physical, mental, spiritual journey together.”
“Nonprofits help people every day,” LeRoy notes. They are the backbone to help society achieve greatness.” One nonprofit with which she is familiar is FENCE.  “I can’t say enough wonderful things about FENCE,” LeRoy noted. “Nonprofits do so much with so little. They sometimes miss the big picture.” Le Roy helps nonprofits cultivate donor relationships that remain sustainable. Le Roy serves on the board of directors for the North Carolina Center for Nonprofits, and is an instructor for Duke University’s Continuing Studies Nonprofit Management program
Finally, OnFire Naturals is a line of organic, native medicinals, some of which Le Roy grows at home. “Our skin is our largest organ,” she reminds everyone. “Whatever we put on our body gets inside. If it’s something you wouldn’t put in your mouth, why would you put it on your skin?” All of OnFire Naturals packaging is recyclable or compostable.
As if she was not involved enough, Le Roy recently became ordained, and plans to perform marriage ceremonies.
She feels she has overcome her previous condition to help others. “I’ve taken this opportunity to walk a healthy, honest, peaceful path.”

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