Nursing student submits video entry to Oprah Winfrey’s television network in hopes of helping children’s health

2010-06-16T00:30:00Z Nursing student submits video entry to Oprah Winfrey’s television network in hopes of helping children’s healthDIANE COCHRAN Of The Gazette Staff The Billings Gazette
June 16, 2010 12:30 am  • 

Joey Traywick is serious when he says he does not want to be famous. But if fame offered him a way to halt childhood obesity, Traywick would gladly take it and all of its pitfalls.

“We’re giving up as a nation,” he said. “We’re giving up on kids.”

Traywick is trying to turn his passion to improve children’s health into a television show on Oprah Winfrey’s cable channel.

He is one of more than 3,000 people who have submitted video entries to Winfrey’s “Your Own Show” contest.

“It’s not about me,” Traywick said. “I will be on TV if it means I can get some attention on this pediatric obesity issue.”

Traywick, 38, is a licensed-practical nurse who is studying for his registered-nurse degree and works in human resources at Billings Clinic.

He left Hollywood more than a decade ago after playing roles on several sitcoms and television commercials and in the “X-Files” movie.

“It sounds like a cliché, but I was morally bankrupt,” he said.

He went into health care thinking he could help people, and, as a former overweight child, he became particularly interested in childhood obesity.

Some 20 percent of U.S. children are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The childhood obesity rate has tripled since 1980.

“Nothing is working” to reverse the trend, Traywick said. “Is it my fault because I don’t really want to be bothered? Because I want to work my 9 to 5 job? I love my life right now. I love going home and playing with my puppy and my three kids.”

“But what could I do if I gave it every ounce of my energy?”

That’s what he thinks hosting a show on Winfrey’s channel would entail, and he has the skills to do it.

“Joey is multitalented,” said Anne Gauer, a video producer at Spotlight Productions in Billings. “He can sing. He can dance. He can motivate people. He’s good in front of a crowd.”

“The best thing about Joey is he really has heart,” Gauer said. “He really believes in what he’s doing. I really believe he’s the kind of person who can change the world. It might be one person at a time, but he cares.”

Traywick stands out because his concern for others is genuine, said Scott Lillie, of Creative Leadership Group in Billings. And he is hilarious.

“He is the consummate improvisationalist,” Lillie said. “He reacts so well on the fly. His ability to not be scripted in anything in life is really what makes him special.”

Traywick believes he was meant to use his abilities to help others, not himself.

“Those talents weren’t for me to have a house on the hill,” he said. “God gave them to me to inspire people to feel better. That’s why I can sing and be funny and goof off.”

Winfrey, who announced last year that she would quit “The Oprah Winfrey Show” after 25 years, will launch her television network in January.

The winner of the “Your Own Show” contest will host one of dozens of programs expected to air on the 24-hour channel.

Contact Diane Cochran at dcochran@billingsgazette.com or 657-1287.

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