Women warm up to baskets, prizes and “change of life” advice at fundraiser

Staff Reports Posted 7 May 2015 at 12:00 am

325 attend annual event ‘For Women Only’

Photos by Marsha Rivers – A big crowd turned out on Wednesday night for the annual “For Women Only” fundraising event at White Birch Country Club.

LYNDONVILLE A warm spring evening, made even warmer by robust attendance, set the tone for this year’s Community Partners “For Women Only” fundraising event at White Birch Country Club.

The theme “When You’re Hot, You’re Hot!” taught attendees how to manage menopause, including the bodily temperature fluctuations known as “hot flashes,” along with other symptoms of hormone changes women experience in middle age.

The event annually raises money for the prevention and support branch of Orleans Community Health. Cindy Perry, director of health education, wellness and outreach for Community Partners, said they had “maxed out” at about 325 attendees. Among those present and honored with a gift were about 20 cancer survivors.

Cindy Perry, left, is director of health education, wellness and outreach for Community Partners. She is pictured with Taalibah Amatul-Haqq of Wildflower Natural Foods in Medina.

One survivor, Kathy Vicknair, shared the story of her diagnosis and treatment, and said how glad she was that she received the news in a place where she felt comfortable and valued, “not just a number.”

“I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else,” Vicknair said of Medina Memorial Hospital, giving special recognition to the Mammography Department. “So many people depend on our hospital – I know I do. Let’s all continue to support it.”

Another cancer survivor was keynote speaker Taalibah Amatul-Haqq, president and manager of Wildflower Natural Foods, of Medina. As a longtime advocate of alternative medicine and the importance of good nutrition, Amatul-Haqq said her breast cancer diagnosis came as a shock, and it shook her sense of identity as a wellness proponent. Throughout her treatments and afterward, she struggled with physical exhaustion and depression. It took the testimonial of a former customer to restore her sense of confidence in her wellness work.

Joan Mrzywka and Linda Karp are pictured with some of the raffle tickets for many of the baskets up for auction.

Amatul-Haqq told the women that menopause is “a beginning as well as an end.” She told them about other cultures where menopausal women are held in higher esteem than young women because of the wisdom the change represents.

She explained various physiological aspects of menopause and recommended wholesome nutrition – including supplements such as vitamin D3, curcumin, and transdermal progesterone cream – plus regular exercise, as antidotes to troublesome symptoms.

“Food is your medicine, or food is your poison – you have to choose,” Amatul-Haqq said.

Amatul-Haqq also noted the importance of emotional levity for menopause survival and peppered her talk with funny sayings and anecdotes.

“If you don’t have a sense of humor going through menopause, you’re in trouble,” Amatul-Haqq said.

Cindy Perry said she felt the mission of the evening had been accomplished: “Hopefully everyone learned a little bit and had some fun while raising money for the services not covered by our grant.”