By Larry Kidder | Kathleen Anderson (second from left), a nutrition master's student at Loma Linda University School of Allied Health Professions, introduces herself during a food preparation demonstration for Drayson Center senior members. The class of four, led by JeJe Noval, PhD, RDN (left), assistant professor of nutrition and dietetics, has been providing similar demonstrations as part of their course requirements for the summer. Next to Anderson are fellow classmates (third, from left) William Ramirez, Megan Rasmussen, and Shannon Hurley. Filming in the corner are members of the BBC documentary crew.
A film crew for the British Broadcasting Company (BBC) visited Loma Linda University Drayson Center on Tuesday through Thursday, September 25-27, to film seniors who live in the only Blue Zone located in North America. In addition to interviewing a number of Drayson Center senior members, the crew filmed a water aerobics class in the pool as well as a nutrition demonstration.
Leading the seven-member crew was Mariam Margoyles, a British actor, who is probably best known for her role as Professor Sprout in the Harry Potter movie series. Margoyles is seated in the front row to the far left in the photo above.
While the BBC team came to Loma Linda to discover the secrets of longevity, they were surprised by the close connections of spirituality and community with longevity. "The team members commented a number of times that, everywhere they went on the Loma Linda University campus, religion was interwoven with everyone and every activity," says Donald Sease, MBA, Drayson Center director. "They kept asking questions of our seniors about their religious beliefs and unique focus on health."
One senior member, in particular, spent a great deal of time with Margoyles. Marijke Sawyer, an active senior in Drayson Center's Senior Wellness Program, hosted Margoyles as a guest at her home for one night. "Miriam was fun to talk to," Sawyer recalls. "Throughout our time together, she was particularly interested in the spiritual aspects of longevity—the peacful confidence we have in God and our lack of fear over dying." Growing up in a Jewish home, Margoyles had a religious upbringing.
"God allowed us this opportunity to share with the BBC crew about our faith," Sawyer continues. "The crew came by my house last night [Thursday, September 27] to say goodbye before heading back to London."
The documentary, titled "Living in the Blue Zone," will likely air sometime in early 2019. Watch for information on the Drayson Center website and other sources on campus.