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TABLE OF CONTENTS

september PUBLISHER'S WORD................................................................................6 OUT & ABOUT Stone Quarry Hill Art Park........................................................ 12

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WISE FEATURED ENTREPRENEUR Adrienne Peltz.............................................................................. 15

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ON THE COVER Theresa Cangemi The Medicare Lady............................................................... 19 HEALTH Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome............................................. 24 The keys to healthy skin.......................................................

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FITNESS You're never too old to start something........................

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SPECIAL FEATURE Turning a loss into a legacy Adeline Fagan ......................................................................... 6 Meet the women of 60 Strong .............................................36

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INSPIRE Andrea Lazarek-Laquay ..................................................... 30 Heather Drake-Bianchi ........................................................ 32 UPCOMING EVENTS.............................................................................. 37

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MOVERS & SHAKERS.......................................................................... 38

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PUBLISHER'S WORD

Zestful aging:

THE POWER OF A LIFE REVIEW Nicole Christina

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hat if there was a way to look back over our lives in a way that helped us make changes for a happier future? Most of us think about our pasts everyday. Our thoughts tend to focus on the high points and the low points of our lives. We might think about times we embarrassed ourselves, or the time we first left home. Our memories are like fuzzy unconnected dots floating around our minds. We don’t usually wonder if they form a clear pattern or if we can learn from them. Instead of just pondering these murky memories, what if we could more clearly assess the positive and negative forces in our life so we could create a better future? There’s a system to do this, and it can be life-changing. It’s called “life review”. Instead of just mulling over your past life events, life review is a more systematic process. It’s a chance to evaluate what has given us meaning over the years, and what mistakes we have made. It’s like our own private report card, whereby we evaluate what we've done well and what we’d like to improve upon. The goal is to create a happier life. Mid life is a great time for this kind of assessment; we have the benefit of years lived, and many years ahead of us to enjoy these revelations. In my recent "Zestful Aging" podcast interview with renowned Stanford psychologist William Damon, he uses the life review to understand how his life was impacted by his father’s abandonment as a child. He had been told growing up that his father had died in WWII, and he didn’t question it. That is, until his daughter discovered that Damon’s father had made some significant contributions to the War, and had actually remarried and lived out a fascinating life overseas. A researcher by profession, Damon dove headlong into finding out everything he could about his father’s life. He was surprised how his research led him to rethinking his whole life; his perspective on what was negative and what was positive got flipped on its head. This personal life review led to him writing, “A round of golf with my father.” Part mystery, part memoir, his book takes us on a journey of reassessing one’s deepest held beliefs. A life review might include questions like this: What was I like as a child? What did my teachers and friends say about me? Damon discovered that although he was well liked and a hard worker, the word “stubborn” kept coming up. He decided to address that trait as a result of his review. Conversations with people from your past can be very helpful in getting a picture of what kind of person you were earlier on. Damon looked at his school records as well as his dad’s and saw they were quite different kinds of kids. He was engaged, studious, and stubborn. His dad, who came from a more privileged background, was irresponsible and frustrated his teachers with his unfulfilled potential. Those facts went a long way in understanding the trajectory of both of their lives. The life review has the advantage of giving us the opportunity to make changes that lead to a more satisfying life--before we are at the end. It’s a wonderful opportunity, especially at midlife and beyond. For more on the technique of life review, check out William Damon’s book, “A Round of Gold with My Father”. His episode will air in September 2021. Nicole Christina is a podcast host, "Zestful Aging" and author, "Not Just Chatting: How to Become a Master Podcast Interviewer." Her book is available on amazon.com.

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SyracuseWomanMag.com contact@syracusewomanmag.com

PUBLISHER

David Tyler dtyler@eaglenewsonline.com

DESIGN

Andrea Reeves

PHOTOGRAPHERS Alice G. Patterson Sophie Proe Elliott Cramer

CONTRIBUTORS

Nicole Christina Alyssa Dearborn Kate Hill Jason Klaiber

Norah Machia Lisa Sousou Marcela Tobar Emma Vallelunga

Cover photo by Alice G. Patterson

ADVERTISING SALES

Renée Moonan Linda Jabbour 315.657.7690 315.657.0849 Rmoonan@eaglenewsonline.com Ljabbour@eaglenewsonline.com

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Unlike any other publication in the Syracuse area, our feature articles address major topics that interest local women. Each issue includes articles on health, fashion, fitness, finance, home matters, dining, lifestyle and personal perspectives, as well as a spotlight on local Syracuse women. Ads are due on the 15th of the month prior to publication. The print magazines will be distributed locally in over 350 locations and will be in your inbox electronically by the middle of every month. The publication is available free of charge.

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The magazine is published 12 times a year by Community Media Group, LLC and Eagle Publications, 2501 James St., Suite 100, Syracuse, NY 13206 Copyright © 2021 Community Media Group, LLC. No part of this magazine may be reproduced or republished without the consent of the publishers. Syracuse Woman Magazine is not responsible for unsolicited submissions, manuscripts, photos or artwork. All such submissions become the property of Community Media Group, LLC and will not be returned.

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SPECIAL FEATURE

Turning a loss into a legacy COVID-19 VICTIM’S FAMILY CELEBRATES THEIR DAUGHTER’S LIFE BY ESTABLISHING SCHOLARSHIP FUND Norah Machia

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hen she was just 11 years old, Adeline Fagan decided she wanted to be a doctor when she grew up. It didn’t come as a surprise to her parents, Brant and Mary Jane Fagan of LaFayette. The bold decision was announced by Adeline just days after she started walking on her own again, following several months of being confined to a wheelchair. Adeline had been battling a serious neurological condition called “Complex Regional Pain Syndrome” that left her with debilitating leg pain, her father said.

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Adeline was treated by a highly-skilled orthopedic specialist who really took the time to listen to her concerns, Fagan said. Despite her young age, the physician was straightforward about the seriousness of her medical condition and the months of rigorous physical therapy that would be needed for Adeline to recover. At the same time, he was positive and encouraging. Adeline stuck to the grueling physical therapy routine with the help of her parents, and it paid off. After several months, Adeline was able to walk again.

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“That experience cemented her decision to become a physician,” said her father. “She was so impressed and motivated by the doctor who helped her recover, that she came away determined to enter the medical field.”

A bright student with a promising career

After graduating from Bishop Ludden High School, Adeline obtained her bachelor’s degree from St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. She decided to take a gap year before attending medical school to work as a certified nursing assistant (CNA)

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and gain more hands-on experience caring for patients. She enrolled at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at SUNY University at Buffalo, where she made it a priority to meet and also memorize the names of all 144 students in her class, according to her parents. Continued on page 10 Dr. Adeline Fagan with her parents, sisters and brother-in-law.

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Turning a loss into a legacy from page 9

Adeline Fagan celebrates her 25th birthday with her parents, Brant and Mary Jane Fagan of Lafayette.

Dr. Adeline Fagan with a young patient at a clinic in Haiti, where she often traveled to volunteer.

Adeline eventually decided to pursue a specialty in obstetrics and gynecology. “She loved babies, but also took women’s issues very seriously, and that field was a good combination of both,” Fagan said. After graduation, she started her residency program at a hospital in Houston. She was in her second year when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

higher level of care, where she was put on a ventilator and later on extra-corporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), a specialized life support. “She was too weak for FaceTime calls, but we believed the sound of our voices would comfort her, even if she could not respond,” her father said. “The nurses put the phone on Adeline’s pillow and kept the line open so we could take turns talking to her.” Adeline’s sisters, Emily, Maureen and Natalie, took to their social media accounts to raise awareness that anyone – even younger people in their 20s and 30s – could get sick with COVID-19. They also raised funds online to help pay for medical care, travel expenses and the expected cost of future rehabilitation. Adeline fought against COVID-19 for two months. But on Sept. 19, 2020, the bright 28-year-old physician passed away after suffering a sudden massive brain bleed.

Adeline’s medical challenge Sick patients began flooding the emergency room at the Houston hospital, desperately seeking treatment against the deadly and highly contagious virus. Adeline was practicing in the maternity unit, trying to stay focused on caring for pregnant patients and helping deliver babies. At the start of the COVID-19 crisis, Adeline was asked to complete a rotation in the hospital’s emergency room. But Adeline voiced concern because she had asthma, a serious underlying medical condition. At first, she was allowed to continue practicing in the maternity unit, her father said. But after several weeks, Adeline was told she had to complete the rotation in the hospital’s ER to fulfill her residency requirements, Fagan said. On July 8, 2020, after working a 12-hour shift in the ER, Adeline returned to her apartment and was soon experiencing “a terrible headache and extreme fatigue,” he said. She returned to the hospital and tested positive for COVID-19. Adeline went back to her apartment to isolate, but her condition quickly deteriorated. Her sister and roommate, Maureen, rushed Adeline back to the hospital when she started struggling to breathe. Now the physician herself was admitted as a COVID-19 patient.

The battle against COVID-19 Adeline was treated with several different respiratory therapies and a multitude of drugs, but her health continued to decline. The decision was made to transfer her to another facility for a

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Struggling to move forward after a tragic loss Her family was devastated. They had believed Adeline would be returning home to Central New York for long-term rehabilitation. As time passed, her parents decided that Adeline’s dream of saving lives should continue through the actions of others. Specifically, medical students enrolled at Adeline’s alma mater, the University at Buffalo. The Fagan family donated approximately $80,000 to the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences to establish a scholarship endowment fund in Adeline’s name. The donation came from the remaining funds set aside for rehabilitation expenses. Adeline’s former classmates, medical school alumni, staff and faculty, along with physicians affiliated with the medical school through outpatient clinics and community hospitals, also contributed to the endowment fund. It has now reached a total of $128,000, said Kathy M. Swenson, senior director of advancement at the Jacobs School of Medicine

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and Biomedical Sciences. The first scholarship in Adeline’s name is expected to be awarded next spring. Adeline’s tragic death affected many people who knew her personally or had learned about her story through news reports, Swenson said. “She was a bright shining star in the medical field,” she said. “Her life and her story have touched so many people.” The Fagan family “suffered such a tragic loss, but they have chosen to support other young people who have the same dreams as their daughter,” Swenson said. “They are really helping to foster the next generation of physicians.”

The family plans to award the scholarship to a student who “reflects Adeline’s passion for learning and her strong desire to help people,” her father said. “We expect they will embody the same characteristics as Adeline – a friend to everyone, a passion for helping the underserved, and an interest in world health issues.” The Fagans are continuing to support the scholarship endowment. They have a fundraiser scheduled for the LaFayette Apple Festival being held Oct. 9 and 10 in Apple Valley Park. The family is hoping to sell nearly 500 loaves of homemade apple spice and pumpkin bread to benefit the scholarship fund. SWM

Continuing Adeline’s legacy

A crowdfunding page has been set up for online gifts to the Adeline M. Fagan, MD ’19 Endowed Scholarship: https://crowdfunding.buffalo.edu/project/22796.

Adeline was passionate about providing medical care to those who could not afford it and had worked at clinics for the underserved in Buffalo and Houston. Her strong desire to help people in desperate need eventually took her to Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Adeline volunteered at a clinic through the medical school’s global outreach program, and she had returned to Haiti more often than any other student in her class, her parents said.

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Donations may also be made by calling toll free 1-855-448-3282. For those who prefer mailing a donation, the address is University at: Buffalo Foundation Inc., c/o Adeline M. Fagan, MD ’19 Endowed Scholarship, P.O. Box 730, Buffalo, NY 14226-0730. Norah Machia is the author of "Celebrating Their Lives: Turning the Loss of a Loved One into a Legacy for Helping Others" (Highpoint Life Publishing 2021). Her book profiles families who sought meaningful ways to honor the lives of those who had passed away, often unexpectedly, by showing tremendous acts of kindness and compassion for others. Adeline’s story is included in the book.

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OUT & ABOUT

STONE QUARRY HILL ART PARK Exploring the relationship between art and nature Kate Hill

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he Stone Quarry Hill Art Park (SQHAP) provides visitors with a space to explore and appreciate the natural world and interact with art and artists amidst 104 acres of conserved land and groomed trails. Inspired by the relationship between art and nature, SQHAP also offers a unique environment for emerging and established artists to create and exhibit their work in outdoor and gallery settings. “The Art Park is a diverse pallet of forest, meadow, agricultural fields, ponds, and hedgerows, protected by a conservation easement with Cazenovia Preservation Foundation and New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation,” said SQHAP CEO Emily Zaengle. “Artists shape and reshape this landscape, [so] unlike many sculpture parks or museums, every time you visit there is something new or different to experience. As we all seek adventure in our lives, the Art Park offers an unstructured experience. Visitors are invited to explore, find their own paths through the landscape, and reconnect to their creative and playful being.” Founded in in 1991 by ceramicist, sculptor, author, and preservation activist Dorothy Riester (1916-2017) and her husband, Robert, SQHAP is a non-profit organization that seeks to educate and engage the public and the landscape through exhibitions, workshops, tours, and community outreach programs in the arts. “When Dorothy and Robert Riester created Stone Quarry Hill Art Park, their goal was to provide public access to the land,

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including making the land available for artistic creation and engagement,” said Zaengle. “Thirty years later, [the park], funded primarily through the contributions of donors, private foundations, and site rental fees, continues to be open to the public every day of the year at no cost to the visitor.” SQHAP is governed by a board of directors and staffed by Zaengle, Artistic Director Sayward Schoonmaker, Hilltop House and Studio Director Sarah Tietje-Mietz, and Landscape Manager Eric Jerabek. Similar to other contemporary art institutions, SQHAP funds artistic experimentation, iterative creation, research and the production of site-specific works through its Artist in Residence Program. According to Zaengle, the organization supports visiting artists with stipends, lodging, and studio space, and it connects the public with the artistic process through “artist-led happenings” and outreach programs. Throughout the years, over 200 visiting artists — from Central New York and around the world — have worked at the park. SQHAP is currently working with six visiting artists: Dr. Juhanna Rogers, Annie Mitchell, Jessica Hyatt, Firat Erdim, Paula Matthusen, and Zoe Boucher. Examples of their work are available on the SQHAP Instagram and website. The park will host guided tours of Rogers’ work on September 11, 12, 18 and 19.

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“These are incredibly talented and prestigious artists that people should know and follow, and we are so honored to have them [here] this summer,” said Zaengle. “We also create opportunities for past artists to return to the Art Park to reimagine their existing works on site.” Recently, John Fitzsimmons returned to the park to transform the exterior of “Quiet Eyes” from glass and acrylic paint to a mirrored surface. The new work, retitled “The Island,” can be viewed in the Secret Garden. SQHAP displays many of Riester’s sculptures, mixed in with rotating sculptures from its artists-in-residence and collections from around the world. Continued on page 14

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SPECIAL FEATURE

Stone Quarry Art Park from page 13 “Current sculptures at the park are considered temporary works and can rotate or change based on visiting artists’ engagement,” said Zaengle. “This allows artists to retain ownership of their works, collaborate, or add to existing work, and demonstrate environmental relationship to materials. A few sculptures on site are more permanent; they are on loan from Colgate University.” According to Zaengle, SQHAP also loans its works to other organizations. Recently, the park worked on a short-term loan with the City of Syracuse, transporting Miriam Nelson’s “Whale’s Tale” from its home at Stone Quarry Hill to the city’s downtown. Sculptures are also on loan to the National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum, the Village of Cazenovia, Cazenovia Preservation Foundation, and Xavier Woods. SQHAP also stewards Hilltop House and Studio, a unique site designed and built by the Riesters from the late 1950s to the early 1970s with help from local contractors. In 2014, the building — along with the original 23-acre property — was placed on the National Register of Historic Places for its significance as a highly intact example of a mid-twentieth century modern house and artist studio. The site is also part of the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Historic Artists' Homes and Studios program, a coalition of over 40 museums that were the homes and working studios of American artists.

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“It epitomizes a life lived in art, and demonstrates Dorothy’s practice of relating art and nature in all of her work, including in her home and studio,” said Zaengle. “ . . . The Hilltop House, like the landscape of the Art Park, is open to visiting artists to explore and engage. Students from Syracuse University’s Museum Studies program are currently cataloging and digitizing Dorothy’s works, photographs, sketches, and writings, so artists and the public will have access to these items.” SQHAP currently provides public access to the home and the Riester Archives through guided tours, exhibitions, and programs. The tours, which emphasize the permeability between indoor and outdoor environs, are held on Fridays at 1 p.m. and Saturdays at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., June through September 2021. Advanced purchase of tickets is required ($10 members/ $15 non-members). SQHAP grounds are open daily from dawn to dusk with a suggested donation of $5 per person. SWM To learn more about Hilltop House, visit sqhap.org/hilltophouse or follow “Hilltop House and Studio” on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. For more information on SQHAP, visit sqhap.org. Stone Quarry Hill Art Park is located at 3883 Stone Quarry Road, Cazenovia. Submitted photos Located in the Town of Cazenovia, Stone Quarry Hill Art Park (SQHAP) is an outdoor sculpture park that provides visitors with an opportunity to explore and appreciate the natural world and interact with art and artists amidst 104 acres of conserved land and groomed trails. The park also offers a unique environment for emerging and established artists to create and exhibit their work in natural and gallery settings.

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COVER STORY

THERESA CANGEMI

The Medicare Lady Emma Vallelunga

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heresa Cangemi holds many titles: consultant, advisor, entrepreneur, keynote speaker and educator. But for those looking to make sense of the forms, choices and processes of applying for federal health insurance, she’s known as "The Medicare Lady." Cangemi, a licensed Medicare specialist and independent agent in the Syracuse area, runs Medicare Made Simple, a business she created to help the Medicare-eligible population understand their health insurance options. Cangemi graduated from LeMoyne College with a degree in business administration and marketing and worked in the auto and property insurance industry with OneBeacon Insurance for 10 years before deciding to branch out on her own in 2008.

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COVER STORY

The Medicare Lady from page 19 “As I got into it, I realized there’s a bigger picture here,” Cangemi said. “Not only did it give me the opportunity to express myself as an independent thinker and an entrepreneur, but there’s a greater good in helping people. I love what I do but also the opportunity to really navigate this system with people who are becoming eligible. Cangemi said most people don’t understand how to get started with their Medicare and the facets that come with it. As a consultant, she takes the time to explain to each client what their insurance plan options are, how to qualify for Medicare, when to retire, how and when to apply for Medicare benefits, how their health care history can benefit their insurance and how proper Medicare education can help clients pick a plan that works best for them. During her 13 years in business, Cangemi’s clientele has been almost exclusively referral based. The nickname ‘The Medicare Lady’ was coined by some of her first clients who received referrals from friends or family members to “call The Medicare Lady” when they were ready to retire and start thinking about Medicare. The mantra stuck, and she has used it to advertise herself and her services on her website ever since. “A couple people started saying that to me, and I thought that that was really cute,” she said. During her career, Cangemi estimated she has helped more than 2,000 clients enroll in a Medicare plan and fielded more than 2,700 inquiries. She consults at least 15 clients every week and sees an average of 280 clients enroll in Medicare every year. Gary Cannerelli counts himself as one of those satisfied clients. He worked for the engineering firm O’Brien and Gere in Syracuse for 45 years before retiring in 2015. He said he didn’t know much about Medicare until he met Cangemi, who helped him navigate his choice. He appreciated the fact that Cangemi gave him all the information for his options and didn’t push him toward one plan or the other. “As I approached my retirement, I knew I needed some help,” Cannerelli said. “I really let her handle it. I told her what my needs are and my basic general health. She gives you all the ammunition to help you decide. She’s very patient, organized, professional and efficient.”

Cannerelli said Cangemi is also extremely available when clients call to inquire or ask for help. When he realized his health insurance company made a last-minute change to his plan in December and didn’t know what to do, she was there for him. “Even in her busiest time, she got back to me,” he said. “We worked through it to meet my needs, and it saved me some money to get me the best program.” “I don’t pick somebody’s plan,” Cangemi said. “I tell my clients nobody should be picking your plan at all because you know what your health care needs or what your prescription drug requirements are. They could call an 800-number, they could get something in the mail and call that to get more information, but if they do that, they’re only getting that insurance company’s plan.” To ensure clients make the best choice, she encourages them to shop the marketplace so they know what a range of plans offer. That can be confusing and overwhelming, but as a certified senior advisor, Cangemi understands the aging process of seniors and how to show empathy toward their needs. Her certification in longterm care also makes her qualified to educate clients on long-term care options beyond nursing-home care, and financial solutions to consider as they plan for their future. In fact, educating the Medicare-eligible population is a major part of the service Cangemi offers. She has conducted private seminars for the human resources departments of companies and their employees, taught information sessions at OCM BOCES, given keynote speeches for events like the Central New York chapter Alzheimer Association Dementia Care Conference in Syracuse and sent out monthly newsletters with helpful articles about Medicare, health care and even cooking recipes just for fun. Lyle Hassel met Cangemi when the company he worked for in 2010, Crucible Industries in Syracuse, held a health fair where Cangemi was presenting. Hassel said her personable yet professional manner impressed him as she interacted with people in front of the room. When he began looking into retirement six years later, he kept in touch with her, officially scheduled a consultation and eventually convinced his wife Julie Hassel to enlist Cangemi to help her pick a Medicare plan when she was ready. The couple now consults with Cangemi together, and Hassel said she has helped them navigate their insurance plans seamlessly.

“When I’m sitting in front of somebody, at their coffee table or kitchen table, it reminds me of my grandparents. I loved my grandparents’ stories, and when I work with my clients, it reminds me of being back with them, learning about their lives and putting the puzzle together.”—Theresa Cangemi

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COVER STORY

The Medicare Lady from page 21 “She always stresses, after we’ve had a conversation with her, don’t hesitate to call her,” Julie Hassel said. “If we have a question, give her a call. She’s always there for us.” Cangemi explained that seminars differ from consultations. Seminars offer basic information to a large audience. But without the one-on-one benefit of consultations, it can be difficult to know what people are thinking, to grasp if they understand the material and to gauge how fast or slow to progress through the presentation. While seminars offer an overview, Cangemi said those who need more guidance can reach out to her for private consultations, where she provides insights about their insurance options while getting to know them and understanding their individual needs. “People don’t really want to talk about their personal story in a group setting when I’m giving a seminar, so they might want to confide in you in a personal setting,” she said. “That’s when we dig into exactly what they’re looking for. It’s almost like they trust me like a doctor, and I enjoy that piece of it.” During the COVID-19 pandemic, Cangemi said most aspects of her business model remained unchanged. She had always worked from home, set up her own systems and functioned independently. Transitioning her clients to virtual consultations became a new challenge. This sometimes required her to offer a bit of technology assistance for clients who weren’t tech-savvy or lacked a computer at home and therefore lacked access to their email or needed Zoom tutorials. Sometimes she’d ask a client to enlist a friend or family member to help them set up a virtual meeting. But Cangemi said most clients embraced going virtual, and she was more than happy to help them through it. “People are opening up and more willing to do the virtual meetings where they would absolutely refuse to do it before, and actually, they prefer it because they can stay in their slippers, or they don’t have to get up, get dressed and drive over to sit and meet with me,” Cangemi said. But with or without the challenges of a pandemic, Cangemi said she loves everything about what she does from the satisfaction of teaching people about Medicare to the opportunities to get to know people. Talking to the Medicare-eligible population reminds her of the conversations she had with her grandparents when she was growing up — their lives, how they first met, how they got married, how they lived on the north side of the city, the parties they threw, the kids they raised, the struggles they faced during the Depression — and getting to know her clients in a similar way made her care for them even more. “When I’m sitting in front of somebody, at their coffee table or kitchen table, it reminds me of my grandparents,” Cangemi said. “I loved my grandparents’ stories, and when I work with my clients, it reminds me of being back with them, learning about their lives and putting the puzzle together.” SWM

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“A couple people started saying that to me ["The Medicare Lady",] and I thought that that was really cute,” she said.

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HEALTH

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eptember is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome Awareness Month. While this disorder of ovulation is extremely common, affecting 5 to 10 percent of women of childbearing age, many women have not heard of it. While multiple ovarian cysts (polycystic ovaries) can be part of the syndrome, they are actually not its cause, and are not even always present. Despite its name, the central issue in polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS, is disordered hormone levels, which tend to be associated with a cluster of particular symptoms: irregular (or absent) menstrual periods, abnormal body hair growth and infertility.

How is polycystic ovarian syndrome diagnosed?

Diagnosing PCOS generally requires two of three criteria: decreased frequency (or absence) of ovulation, evidence of elevated male hormone levels, and/or polycystic ovaries. Other medical conditions involving hormonal disorders need to be excluded in order to confirm a diagnosis of PCOS. Normal ovulation occurs like clockwork: an ovary releases an egg about once per month, at a predictable time, and a menstrual period typically occurs about two weeks thereafter if the egg does not become fertilized. Regular, monthly periods indicate normal, regular ovulation. Ovulating infrequently, or not at all, can cause irregular or absent periods, or frequent, heavy and/or prolonged vaginal bleeding. While disordered ovulation can have other causes, this can be a sign of PCOS. Elevated male hormone (androgen) levels commonly cause increased male-pattern facial and/or body hair. PCOS criteria can be met by these physical findings alone, by labwork showing abnormal levels, or both. Polycystic ovaries are diagnosed by pelvic ultrasound, showing multiple small follicles (which look like tiny cysts) in the ovaries. These follicles are not a risk or problem in themselves but are a sign of the hormonal dysregulation that is PCOS. While it initially obtained its name from this classic appearance of the ovary, PCOS can be diagnosed in women who do not have these cysts. (Ovarian cysts are also very common and usually benign - having just two or three ovarian cysts does not mean that you have PCOS!) Adolescents can develop PCOS, but the diagnosis may not be as straightforward. Recent updated guidance recommends excluding polycystic ovaries from the criteria for adolescents, and stresses that irregular periods are normal within the first year after a girl’s first period.

Why is PCOS a problem?

Infrequent, or absent, ovulation can lead to frustratingly unpredictable bleeding patterns. Frequent or heavy vaginal bleeding can lead to anemia. Also, absent periods in a woman who is not yet SEPTEM BER 2021

menopausal can, over time, be a risk factor for endometrial cancer (cancer of the lining of the uterus). Disordered ovulation also can cause infertility. If a woman is ovulating less frequently, there are fewer chances to become pregnant, and fertile time periods are unpredictable. And if a woman is not ovulating at all, she cannot become pregnant naturally. Elevated androgen levels can also cause acne and unwanted facial and body hair, which can be minimal or can be very significant, and can be distressing to some women. PCOS is also frequently associated with other medical problems, particularly obesity, diabetes, and abnormal lipid/cholesterol levels; these can, in turn, be risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

How is PCOS treated?

For women with polycystic ovary syndrome who are overweight, losing weight is one of the most effective ways to restore normal, regular ovulation and menstrual periods. Restoration of regular cycles may restore normal fertility, as well. In overweight or obese women who are seeking pregnancy, this is a primary recommended treatment, as it also decreases the pregnancy risks associated with obesity. For the woman who is not seeking pregnancy, some hormonal contraceptives can regulate menstrual periods and lower androgen levels, which can decrease acne and stop unwanted hair growth. Women who cannot, or do not want to, take hormonal contraceptives can instead take a hormone called progestin at least every three months to trigger a menstrual period. This reduces the risk of endometrial cancer in women who have infrequent or absent periods. There are also medications which can slow unwanted body and facial hair growth (spironolactone) or help reduce existing hair (topical eflornithine). In some women, metformin may also be beneficial. This is a medication used to treat diabetes, but it can also help improve ovulation and thereby help regulate menstrual periods and may aid with weight loss. It can also have modest benefit in infertility. In women with PCOS who actively desire pregnancy, fertility medications which trigger ovulation are more effective than metformin. If you suspect you may have polycystic ovarian syndrome, talk to your primary care provider, gynecological provider, or endocrinologist. Diagnosis is important in order to watch for, and help avoid, associated conditions like diabetes, cardiovascular disease and endometrial cancer. More information can be found with the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) at www.acog.org , the PCOS Awareness Association at www.pcosaa.org/, and PCOS Challenge at www.pcoschallenge.com/. SWM Lisa Sousou is a physician’s assistant at the Centers for Reproductive Health at Oswego County Opportunities, Inc. H E ALTHY AGI N G EDITION


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HEALTH

The keys to healthy skin Marcela Tobar

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s a human race we have created some pretty incredible technology and made seemingly impossible discoveries. Out of all those amazing achievements, no one has discovered a true fountain of youth. Luckily, having a professional like myself suggest the right treatment can be the next best thing. I get asked all the time what the most important things are we can be doing for our skin as we get older. The most important things are to protect, nourish, and increase cell turnover when possible. Maybe we will never look 21 again, but we can achieve a more radiant appearance. The best part is, caring for the health of our skin doesn’t always mean the most invasive treatment. First, we must protect what we have. I can’t stress enough how important sunscreen is to the health of our skin. Sun damage can age so rapidly. An uneven, patchy skin tone is not only undesirable but can also have numerous health risks such as skin cancer. Sunscreen has come a long way from the tacky, stark white cream that some of us have come to dread. Think about all the places that wrinkle the most as we age. Those areas such as the face, arms, hands, and neck, are the areas that are typically most exposed to the sun. There are amazing tinted sunscreens that can even the appearance of our skin while adding protection.

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In addition to wearing sunscreen, a yearly full body skin check can address anything that might be concerning. Skin concerns that age us can stem beyond the face such as unsightly veins, moles, dry patches, and scaring. All are completely treatable, and possibly avoidable in the future with the correct course of treatment. Equally important is how we nourish our skin. I would like to shout from every rooftop, that a healthy glow does not equate to oiliness! This is something that I hear every day from patients that are afraid of moisturizers, and oil-based products. It is a common misconception. Moisturizing is something everyone should be doing. Youthful looking skin typically has a sheen that does not look like sweat or oil. It looks like you are well nourished inside and out. Dry skin can shrivel plump skin cells, which can lead to fine lines and wrinkles. Moisturizing seals water in your skin, which helps decrease the appearance of wrinkles by plumping your skin. If you have naturally oily skin, yes, I am speaking to you too. Think of it like this, oil and water do not mix, however oil attracts oil. We need to use moisturizer strategically. For instance, during a consultation, I would analyze your skin and come up with a treatment plan including how and when to use products. It is helpful to remember skincare is not one size fits all. We have all been there, our good friend calling us on the phone and raving about a new product they bought. Admittedly, someone telling you a product was transformative for their skin is contagious. However, when you buy the obnoxiously expensive moisturizer it

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may not live up to the hype. That is simply because it is not the one for you. Having a professional involved will take out the guessing involved in this decision-making process. I suggest medical grade skincare. Medical grade skin care has molecules small enough to penetrate the barrier of your skin. Moreover, they have clinical studies behind them and photographic evidence proving that they work. My advice would be to seek out a clinician who can assess your needs and provide you with the best possible options. In my office in Syracuse, we offer several medical grade skincare brands and act as a guide for our clients. Another benefit of this specific skincare is that a lot of it increases cell turnover. Last but not least, is the increase of cell turnover through regular exfoliation. Cell turnover is the process of young cells pushing dead SYR ACUSE WOMAN MAGA ZI N E

cells out of the way. As we age, the rate at which our cells turnover becomes much slower. A slower cell turnover rate leads to buildup of dead skin. A buildup of dead skin leads to wrinkles, breakouts, and pores appearing larger. We can exfoliate in many different ways. Using a medical grade retinol in our routine is a great start. As a skincare professional I preform many different exfoliating facials as well. These facials and peels go beyond what you can do at home and remove so much more of those dead cells that collect on our skin’s surface. Remember, you will only get out of your skin the time that you put into taking care of it. SWM Marcela Tobar is a New York State board certified esthetician. She can be found on Instagram at @skinandwellnessbymarcela.

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FITNESS

You’re never too old to start something AT 76, JOAN DYLE FINDS THE FUN IN FITNESS Alyssa Dearborn

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t is always interesting to see how life chooses to come full circle, such as how Joan Dyle - a seasoned fitness instructor - found herself working with Jessica DesRosiers, the associate director of health strategies for the YMCA of Central New York as well as a former high school gym class student of Dyle’s. “I was a phys. ed. teacher in a high school and I was looking for something different to do. I saw Jackie Swanson and the Michael Douglas Show - this was a thousand years ago - and I thought, aerobic dance, that’s something I could teach,” Dyle said when asked how she became involved with the YMCA. “So I taught myself aerobic dance and one of the girls, she was a history teacher, heard from one of the kids that they liked this aerobic dance thing.” she continued, “She worked out at the downtown Y, so she told the fitness director who was there at the time about it. So we met together and I showed her what I was doing and then a program came up through the YMCA out of Baltimore that was

called ‘Aerobics in Motion.’ They asked me if I wanted to go down and be certified, to do that and work at the Y.” Forty years later, Joan Dyle has taught everything from kickboxing to step. But she now generally teaches the YMCA’s yoga class and substitutes for other instructors. Despite having years of experience in fitness education, she is still looking to learn more. “You’re never too old to start something,” she said, “You’re never too old to learn at the beginning. This is different, but I started taking dance classes when I was 50. The instructor was a former student and I was older than any of the mothers of the kids. Because I was at a stage in my teaching career where things were getting old, I wanted to put myself back into the feeling of a beginner learner. So taking dance, it got myself back into a beginning exercise type program. You’re never too old to do something, but you have to be willing to put yourself out there and give it a try.”

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It is important for people of all ages to remember that living a healthy lifestyle requires just a little bit of willingness to put oneself out there. According to Jessica DesRosiers, initiative and persistence can go a long way in the pursuit of lifelong health. “I think a lot of it goes hand in hand with what Joan’s been talking about is, you know, if you don’t use it, you lose it.” DesRosiers said. “I always tell people diabetes is not a death sentence.” she said when asked about preventing common ailments. “There’s ways to work with that and work around it and prevent it. The YMCA has tons of different programming to keep you moving, but also to address chronic disease. That way you can, again, live a healthier life. You don’t have to say that it’s a death sentence.” According to DesRosiers, one of the easiest ways to find the motivation to exercise is to use it as a means of socializing. The support that comes from joining a fitness class, exercising at a gym, or just participating in activities with a friend can enrich a fitness experience. Connecting is so vital to wellness, Jessica DesRosiers said that the YMCA encouraged its members to participate in their fitness classes online when the gyms were closed during the pandemic. “Find a friend you can do something with. The Y has a lot of group things and I think the power of a group is really what brings a lot of people success. People look forward to coming at 10:30 to a class because they’re going to see people that they recognize and it makes them feel good about themselves.” “We’re not an intimidating type of facility.” DesRosiers continued, “We are more than a gym. We have people who just come in for coffee SYR ACUSE WOMAN MAGA ZI N E

in the lobby to socialize because just being social is wellness. So it looks different for everyone and I think we have a little bit of something to offer the entire age range of people. Living a healthy lifestyle is not only important to Dyle because she teaches physical education, but also because it allows her to continue making an impact. “I wanted to be a good image for my kids that I was teaching. And it just gets into your blood so you feel bad when you don’t do it. You feel much better when you keep going than when you stop. The old adage that I always live by is that you can store fat, but you can’t store fitness.” When asked if there was one thing that she wanted others to know about personal health and wellbeing, she said, “Try to get out of the house for more than just shopping and stuff. Find somebody to meet and get to the Y or just go out for a walk. It’s just very healthy to get away from your house for a while, especially during these times. They also need to know that they don’t need to work out every day for an hour. They can work out for five minutes once or twice a day and add time. It doesn’t have to be an hour life sentence all the time because I think that it kind of discourages people. So find the time that works for you. Find the amount of time that works for you and start someplace. It doesn’t matter where, just start someplace and keep it going. It’s important to find something you like, too, because everybody thinks that ‘okay, in order to be fit, I have to run on a treadmill.’ If you hate it, don’t do it. Find something you enjoy.” SWM SYR ACUSE WOMAN MAG.COM


INSPIRE

ANDREA LAZAREK-LAQUAY HELPING CNY’S MOST VULNERABLE STAY AHEAD OF THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC Alyssa Dearborn

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he hard work and dedication of healthcare workers to their work usually does not go unnoticed, but it was especially in the front of everyone’s minds during the COVID-19 pandemic. News stories and other forms of media praised doctors, nurses, and other hospital staff for their tireless efforts all while highlighting how those experts’ work was keeping people safe. When most people outside of the medical field think about professionals who have made an impact, they think about the doctors and nurses in full protective gear working the frontlines at the hospitals. But some healthcare professionals like, Andrea Lazarek-LaQuay, the chief clinical officer at Nascentia Health, were facing other frontlines that were not in a hospital. “So in this role, chief clinical officer, I oversee the clinical operations for several lines of business at Nascentia Health.” LaQuay said when asked about her position, “But I think the best parts of my job are all of the different projects and new things. Our CEO is very much a visionary and I certainly appreciate having that opportunity to try different things and to look into new programs and to really stay ahead of the curve as far as healthcare. So many things are changing that you have to be able to kind of anticipate, because if it’s already happened already, then it’s too late.” One of these different projects outside of the usual operations at Nascentia Health came in the form of providing COVID-19 testing to the most vulnerable populations. When asked about the beginnings of this project, LaQuay explained, “In the beginning, when all of this was happening, we found ourselves in obviously uncertain times. So, we have a workforce that’s out in the community, is nervous about what’s happening. We have patients that are in the community, they were cancelling their visits and really it was an opportunity for us to take the staff who now are no longer seeing patients or have fewer patients to see. Our staff felt an obligation to our community and to do what we could do to help.” “And in the beginning,” she added, “it really was testing. Going in and trying to find where the issues were and primarily protect that senior population. So it was really important to get into a lot of senior living and senior housing to be able to get in there and get the appropriate people isolated because that was a huge problem in the beginning. Individuals were able to spread the disease before they were symptomatic and that made it difficult.” In order to have the most impact, LaQuay and her team wanted to work with others - such as the Onondaga County Health Department - to make these test more available for seniors. Even though local governments did not need Nascentia Health’s help at the start, the county’s partnership with the testing program became a valuable resource for the community. “Onondaga County has been a fantastic partner. I honestly have to say the collaboration with Onondaga County, Syracuse Community Health Center, Upstate Health, and additional counties, I have to say I love working with them. And the best thing was to have a team who was just like, ‘okay, what do we have to do?’ And we made it happen.” Having those partnerships not only helped LaQuay and her team better serve the community, it also made facing challenges more manageable. When asked about the some of the challenges faced during the pandemic, LaQuay explained that some of the hurdles were ones that most would not have thought of. SYR ACUSE WOMAN MAGA ZI N E

“I think some of the biggest challenges were honestly the weather. Healthcare workers are familiar with PPE and we’re very fortunate to not face some of the major challenges that perhaps some of the other hospitals had as far as having the appropriate supplies. Again, all of us had a lot of experience in healthcare. We’re very familiar with the infection control practices and so forth.” Most of the challenges faced were solved by being properly prepared, wearing the right clothing, and having an extra handwarmer in each pocket. But solutions to more serious issues required proper medical training and remaining calm. “I forgot where exactly we were,” LaQuay elaborated, “but it was so hot that we actually had one of the individuals that were being tested go into cardiac arrest.” “At one point in the city,” she said describing a separate incident, “there was some shots fired a couple of blocks away from where we were testing. And just for the staff to act so quickly and get everybody to shelter in place until that was cleared, they were just an amazing team.” Despite the challenges presented by the nature of their work, the professionals at Nascentia found that they were making a difference in the fight against COVID. Much of controlling the outbreak had to do with making sure people were tested and those who tested positive received the treatment they needed. “I strongly believe that in partnership with the counties that we worked with, it was very important. In the beginning, it was finding it. Where is it? Who has it? And then protecting people, particularly those who are in senior living situations,” she said. “It was definitely a proactive measure. And the sooner people could be identified andtreated, the better. At one point, we were working to provide antibodies to individuals who were very sick with COVID but not in the hospital yet. This way we were able to provide that infusion to prevent hospitalization. So overall, I think the efforts of getting in there, finding it, getting people isolated, really helped our community.” With a new wave of the pandemic at hand, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done to prevent further infection. When asked about how Nascentia is handling the Delta variant, LaQuay described the work ahead as a period of waiting and watching. “I think that right now,” she said, “we’re trying to keep our finger on the pulse of what’s happening. We’re already in conversations with others like Upstate as well as the county on kind of having a ready and waiting process. Like when we need to pull the team together and try to start problem solving. Throughout the whole pandemic we were looking forward to being able to provide vaccinations. We were able to do that for homebound patients: almost 2,000 patients vaccinated.” Even when there is not a global pandemic to battle, LaQuay believes that a career in community healthcare is a rewarding field. “What I hope when people hear about what we’ve done here at Nascentia Health, that they think of nursing in a different way. The reality is that nurses can do many things and home and community-based healthcare is a very fulfilling place to be. I think that’s one of the biggest things that I would like to share, that home and community-based care is extremely rewarding and I love what I do.” SWM SYR ACUSE WOMAN MAG.COM


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INSPIRE

HEATHER DRAKE-BIANCHI THANKS TO CINEMEDICS CNY FOUNDER, THE SHOW GOES ON Jason Klaiber

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ight around the time that spring turned to summer in 2020 — just after the unions of the entertainment industry put the brakes on moviemaking amidst rising COVID cases — it was the team behind CineMedics CNY that swooped in with an updated health and safety protocol, one that could be used by those on film sets anywhere and everywhere. “That was kind of where everything started,” said Heather Drake-Bianchi, the Syracuse native who founded the mobile medical service. Now, a little over a year later, the company is firmly in the routine of performing polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing for many of the most elaborate and buzzed-about movie productions in the country. Drake-Bianchi said a key part of her company’s response is the transportation of laboratory equipment directly to sound stages, backlots and other spots where films are being shot. This prevents the admittance of cast and crew members to hospitals or clinics where there would be a greater chance of contact with sick patients. The service also makes efficiency a priority without the sacrifice of quality, as Drake-Bianchi said she and her team have been able to test upwards of 300 people in a single hour with accurate results. In her eyes, the success of CineMedics CNY over the last year can be largely attributed to the varied, complementary backgrounds of its personnel — an outcome deliberately pursued during the recruitment stage. Welcomed into the fold are not only first responders and lab techs equipped with knowledge of bench research and medicine but also special operations military veterans, “logistical gurus” and people well-versed in cinema and the filmmaking landscape. “Every single person on this team is hand-selected for the skill set that they bring,” Drake-Bianchi said. “I might own the business, but I am nothing without this team and all of their gifts and abilities. If one of them leaves, this integral puzzle piece that makes up the whole is gone, and we feel that gap.” On top of the on-site nasopharyngeal testing they provide, CineMedics CNY has sometimes been tasked with imposing compliance with mask mandates and social distancing recommendations on different sets. Since such guidelines can inhibit both character portrayals in a fictional, COVID-less storyline and the direction of scenes that call for sizable crowds, the company has mostly relied on the use of a bubble with regimented zones. The ‘A’ zone is a constrained space that relaxes masking rules for the acting talent, though they’re expected to undergo testing five times a week. The remaining ‘B,’ ‘C’ and ‘D’ zones comprise support staff and construction workers in the process of assembling additional film scenery. There had usually been medics present on film sets pre-COVID, but back in those times, they would mainly be on standby to treat injuries sustained by stunt doubles, which is still a common responsibility, or else they would remain available to provide over-the-counter medication. SYR ACUSE WOMAN MAGA ZI N E

As always, austere conditions are dealt with calmly and accordingly, such as when the CineMedics CNY team had to maintain steady power in negative-degree weather last winter while on the set of Don’t Look Up, an upcoming dark comedy starring a bevy of big names, including Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence. In its first year of operation, CineMedics CNY has gone from being entirely self-funded to having branches established in New York City, Boston, Atlanta and Los Angeles. “None of us ever thought that it was going to take off to this extent,” Drake-Bianchi said. “We just knew that we were going to make the most efficient, high-end, risk-mitigating logistical laboratory that we could possibly think of.” She added that money was never the primary focus for this undertaking, claiming that she and her colleagues would not have entered the field of paramedic work had that been the case. Instead, the objective is to give back and stay linked to the local community. In line with that, CineMedics CNY created a scholarship program at Onondaga Community College that will go into effect this fall for students hoping to become paramedics. Chosen by people from the community college and Upstate University Hospital, the scholarship recipients would be able to follow a full-ride route as long as they maintain at least a 3.2 grade point average from one semester to the next. As the female founder of a business that has witnessed, in her words, “astronomical growth,” Drake-Bianchi said her advice to young women—and men too—is to remain transparent and full of integrity throughout their careers, even after some wobbly steps and certain failures. “Having integrity speaks louder than anything else,” she said. In her years, Heather Drake-Bianchi has worked around the world in the realm of critical care medicine. She has served as a paramedic for such organizations as Ocean Classroom Foundation and Remote Medical International, and she has assisted in search and rescue efforts in the wake of natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina. Going forward, she hopes for CineMedics CNY to incorporate individualized genetic sequencing, a process to be carried out in brick-and-mortar reference labs that would indicate which symptoms and variants are being encountered by patients and thus which medical treatment pathways should be followed on a person-to-person basis. SWM • Heather Drake-Bianchi founded CineMedics CNY amidst the entertainment industry’s search for a new health and safety protocol. • CineMedics CNY collaborated from the get-go with Syracuse production company American High, and now the medical service provider is contracting with HBO, National Geographic and Netflix. • Drake-Bianchi completed her undergrad at the Rochester Institute of Technology, where she studied biomedical science. She later earned a master’s degree in anatomy and physiology from New York Chiropractic College and another in molecular DNA analysis from Syracuse University, where she met the lead scientist for CineMedics CNY, Molly May. • This summer, CineMedics CNY has also been dabbling in television work, lending assistance on the set of an untitled limited series based on Jeff Pearlman’s book Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley, and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s.

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SPECIAL FEATURE

Meet the Women of 60 Strong

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ome Central New Yorkers you may know will soon be ‘pin-ups’ in the new Syracuse 60 Strong calendar. Late last month, winners of the Syracuse 60 Strong contest were announced. Winners, who must be between the ages of 60 and 69, were chosen by a panel of local celebrities for their commitment to their community, their perseverance in the face of difficulty and their resilience in overcoming adversity. The calendar contest was sponsored by Family Care Medical Group, in conjunction with the launch of Salt City Senior Care Advantage IPA, a program designed to provide seamless and greater coordination of care for their senior patients. The 2022 Syracuse 60 Strong calendar highlights Syracuse area events, entertainment, and activities, and serves as a roadmap to good health. Many of the winners devoted their lives to charities or made lifestyle changes because of a chronic illness or disease. All proceeds from calendar sales benefit Alzheimer’s Association, Central New York Chapter.

Mary Lou Balcom Four years ago,

Mary Lou was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a lumpectomy. But even through her treatment, she never stopped living her life to the fullest. An avid gardener, Mary Lou inspires others through her positive attitude. She often says, “the seeds we sow today are tomorrow’s successes,” to encourage everyone around her to get active and enjoy their daily dose of nature. Today, Mary Lou is thankful for her continued negative scans. She maintains a healthy diet and enjoys walking and hiking with her husband, as well as taking yoga classes. Mary Lou is a Master Gardener through the Cornell Cooperative Master Gardening Program—through which she educates others and gives back to the community. Since finishing the program, she has volunteered at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo once a week for the last five years. In addition to her work at the zoo, Mary Lou teaches children about gardening and healthy eating through local school and after-school programs. When not at the zoo or at one of her school programs, Mary Lou can be found at her local greenhouse, starting plants for Blocks in Bloom, an organization that selects different blocks in Syracuse to create a pollination corridor. Mary Lou donates her time to this organization, providing native plants for front yard gardens. The program ends in a planting day for the whole block in which the residents help the gardeners plant. For Mary Lou, gardening has always brought her joy, and sharing that with others in the community is the greatest gift of all.

Vicki Brackens Vicki Brackens is

an entrepreneur, a champion for Syracuse youth, and a lover of gospel music. Vicki has been working in financial education and financial services for over 25 years. As the president of her own company, her goal is to provide others with the tools they need to succeed. This shines through in the ways she gives back to the community, having supported just about every event and fundraiser that takes place in Syracuse - including the Rosamond Gifford Zoo, the Everson Museum, and the CNY Jazz Foundation’s annual Black History Month Jazz Cabaret. Above all, Vicki is passionate about helping young people, something she does through sponsoring events, offering internships and mentoring. She hopes that by offering support, she can be a validation point to keep their dreams alive. Perhaps this stems from Vicki’s own struggles with confidence growing up. Vicki said that she had to overcome a great obstacle in her life: fear. But with support from some of the adults in her life, she worked to overcome that fear and believe in her own abilities. Today, Vicki says that “failure” is just a word that means “do it again!” Vicki prioritizes her mental health through meditation. She values her time with family members and friends. Every morning, she starts her day with mindfulness. She reads the bible or listens to gospel music — something through which she finds so much joy. Vicki is inspirational in the way she gives to young people and is a shining example of what it means to lead with grace and generosity.

Donna Dunn Donna Dunn lost

her daughter, Mary, in 2007 when she was hit by a car. Today, Donna finds comfort in the fact that her daughter’s organs saved the lives of four people. After Mary’s passing, Donna began to give back through volunteering at the Finger Lakes Donor Recovery Network (FLDRN). She helps with everything, from hosting Donate Life tables at local events to speaking at schools, places of worship and college campuses. Through FLDRN Donor Family Council Group, she strategizes how to better approach donor families as well as plans Donor Family Celebrations. She lives her life by the FLDRN motto: “live life to the fullest and pass life on.”

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On the day after Donna’s 60th birthday, she was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. Thus, began Donna’s fitness journey to improve her health losing 30 pounds. She walks three to four miles going through the cemetery to visit her daughter each day. She often walks in 5ks for local charities, continuing this through the pandemic with virtual walks. She participates in the Transplant Games of America every other year. To raise money for the team, Donna once picked up and recycled over 10,000 cans from the side of the road over a 6-month period. A memorable moment for Donna was meeting Dominick, a local businessman, father of five and the man who received her daughter’s liver. He started a scholarship at Mary’s high school, given annually to a student pursuing early childhood education (one of Mary’s passions). Because of Donna’s activism, hundreds of her friends and family members have signed up to the donor registry.

Pat Floyd Echols Pat has always

had a heart for family, friends, and community. She was a special education teacher for years and pioneered a program for children with autism. She moved on to administration and served as a principal in several schools, including one in an economic diverse region and another school that supported the emotionally disturbed. When she was 15 years old, her brother was killed in a car accident. She doesn’t go a day without thinking of the life he could have led. She also lost her father from cancer when she was 33 years old and her mother to emphysema in 2014. Today she is retired, but spends her spare time giving back. She crotchets baby gifts for her friends’ grandchildren, makes t-shirt quilts for her sons, volunteers at a Girl Scout camp, and has sewed over 200 face masks to distribute to children in need. She also enjoys going on hikes and walks in Camp Evergreen with her husband and friends at the YMCA. During her time as a principal, she co-founded a program named Sister to Sister. She saw that some girls needed a safe place to express emotions and feelings with others. She had a rule that whatever was said in the club, stayed in the club. At the end of the year, she took the girls to a special outing and luncheon. The club dubbed the experience “The Yellow Limousine.” She has run this program in every school she’s worked at, including the school with emotionally disturbed children. Pat walks up to 18 miles a week and finds joy in taking the YMCA class, “Women on Weights,” where she learned how to strengthen her core. She now spends retirement supervising student teachers at Syracuse University. She also mentors two young people who were former students. She buys groceries, pays their phone bills and gives them a reason to push forward, keep up with their homework and contribute to society.

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Mary Jensen Mary has been a

loyal member of her local YMCA since it opened 15 years ago. In addition to taking all the classes it has to offer, she serves on the board. Mary was the first in her family to graduate from a four-year college and she went on to get her master’s degree in social work, through which she has devoted herself to helping her community. In the early 2000s, Mary joined a task force that was studying the issue of prostitution in the city of Syracuse. The group soon learned that prostitution was not only a community crisis, but also a family crisis that is closely tied with substance abuse. This inspired her to become the co-founder of Mothers and Children in Crisis (MCC). The group is working to open a residential treatment center in Onondaga County that allows women to bring their children to live with them in the treatment facility. Over the years, MCC has developed a close relationship with the Problem-Solving Courts, and Mary and a nurse have met with more than 250 women involved with the courts and connected them with medical providers. To provide support to the families involved with the ProblemSolving Courts, MCC has hosted a back-to-school event in August for the past six years to collect new clothes, shoes, underwear, socks, backpacks, and school supplies for children with parents in one of these courts. “People say to pull yourself up by your bootstraps, but they don’t have boots,” Mary said. When she is not working out or working with Mothers and Children in Crisis, she and her husband find joy in traveling to Denmark to see her husband’s family. Mary lost both of her parents to cancer; her mother died the day before she graduated from college and her father died 7 years later, on the same day. She has raised two wonderful children; her daughter is an aerospace engineer, and her son is currently studying computer engineering. “You’re not responsible for the entire world, just the part on which you stand,” she says, and she continues to make a difference in her corner of the world and inspires others to do the same.

Liz Malcolm Scheibel Once a European

fashion model, Elizabeth Malcolm had a life-changing experience in her thirties that would set the stage for a lifetime of service to others.

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SPECIAL FEATURE

60 Strong Calendar from page 37 After being diagnosed with colon cancer, she enrolled in school and became a nurse. Elizabeth joined the army when she was 49 after 9/11 to give back to her country. She trained diligently for a year to pass basic training and enroll in the Army, and then served as a nurse practitioner healing wounded soldiers coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan. Liz was also deployed to Haiti for a year after a devastating 2010 earthquake helping to rebuild schools and medical facilities. After 10 years in the service, she was medically discharged when while on active duty she was hit during the Boston Marathon terrorist attack. Liz starts every day with prayer and meditation to center herself. She participates in the Y’s walking club year-round and swimming classes for her arthritis. For Elizabeth, health is about consistency; she follows a routine making time on her calendar every day to focus on her health. In her free time, she enjoys scrapbooking, gardening, attending art classes at the Y, going for walks and bike rides with her husband and traveling to see her grandchildren. As an active volunteer at her local YMCA, Elizabeth helps run several different campaign programs and organizes local food drives for people in the area. Outside of the Y, Elizabeth gives back by walking annually at the ARC of Onondaga Walk as well as the AIDs Community Resources walk and helping to run the Susan G. Koman Cancer Foundation booth at the NY State Fair.

In her free time, Deb loves to camp with her daughter and husband. They enjoy biking as a family, and Deb is looking forward to this summer when Elizabeth’s training wheels will come off. She lives her life feeling truly blessed with the motto “whatever circumstances you’re in, be content.” SWM Photos by Elliott Cramer

Deborah ReinhardtYoumans Deborah “Deb”

Youmans was diagnosed with lung cancer at the age of 52. She describes her recovery period as one of the most difficult times of her life, during which she spent three months in bed after doctors removed a portion of her right lung. “By the time chemo rounds were completed, I was down to 85 pounds with not a hair on my head – no eyebrows, no eye lashes ... I looked like a walking skeleton,” Deb recalls. While her recovery was grueling, it was during that time that she and her husband received the greatest blessing of their lives; after waiting nearly ten years, they received a phone call from the adoption agency that a baby girl was due the next day. That baby girl, Elizabeth, would be their daughter. Deb says that a sense of “love and true grit” took over. It was a mother’s motivation that helped her get better. After recovering, Deb went through routine scans for four years. But on the very last scan, her doctor found an abnormality. Deb learned that she would have to start all over with surgery and chemotherapy. Her first response? “I can’t, I have a daughter.” But once again, Deb remained strong. She credits Elizabeth for lifting her spirits during her recovery. Within three weeks of her surgery, Deb was back at the YMCA, where she is a beloved group fitness teacher and role model in the Livestrong program. To this day, Deb continues teaching HIIT, yoga, and back-strengthening classes to her students.

SEPTEM BER 2021

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UPCOMING EVENTS Tuesday, September 8

Friday, Sept. 17

What: When: Where: Info:

What: When: Cost: Info:

How to Thrive from your Authentic Truth

WBOC event presented by Alexis Pierce. 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. SKY Armory, 351 S. Clinton Street, Syracuse NY 13202. To register, visit: https://wboconnection.org/event-4432073/Registration.

Thursdays, September 9th, 16th, 23rd, 30th

Legacy Writers

What: “Write Your Legacy” is a writer support group designed for adult writers. Do you have a story to tell? Family skeletons to reveal? Silly excursions to share? What do you want your heirs to know? Make sure memories become a legacy! When: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Where: Northern Onondaga Public Library, 8686 Knowledge Lane, Cicero. Cost: Free. Info: (315) 699-2032 or visit: https://www.nopl.org/meet-the-legacy-writers. Saturday, Sept. 11th

Walk for Hunger

What: Organized by the Rotary Club of Camillus, Solvay and Geddes. All funds raised will support the CNY Food Bank, local food pantries and the India Rotary Relief Fund. Walk is approximately 5 miles. Vendors, Food and Family Fun after the walk. When: 10 a.m. Where: Reed Webster Park, Warners Road, Camillus. Info: Call George at (315) 952-2256. Saturday, Sept. 11 – Sunday, Sept. 12

Golden Harvest Festival What: When: Where: Cost: Info:

An old-time county fair and traditional harvest festival wrapped up in one. Non-stop music, live entertainment, wildlife programs, canoeing and kayaking, hayrides, with a variety of food and more. Saturday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Beaver Lake Nature Center, 8477 East Mud Lake Road, Baldwinsville. Admission $5, $1 ages 6 to 17; Free ages 5 & under. (315) 638-2519.

SYR ACUSE WOMAN MAGA ZI N E

Everson Annual Picnic

Enjoy a fabulous evening of fine food, live entertainment and safe socializing on the Everson Plaza as we celebrate our community and honor the 2020 and 2021 Everson Award recipients. 6 p.m. Tickets are $250. (315) 474-6064 ext 307 or visit: everson.org/picnic2021.

Saturday, Sept. 25

Teal Ribbon Run for Ovarian Cancer

What: The 13th annual Heather’s Teal Ribbon Run and Walk benefits Hope for Heather, a local non-profit dedicated to ovarian cancer education, awareness, patient support and supporting research. When: 10 a.m. for the live run, or virtually anytime before Oct. 2 Where: Lewis Park, Minoa Info: tealribbonrun.org Saturday, September 25 - Sunday, September 26

A New Beginning

What: Ludwig von Beeethoven’s Symphony No. 5. Annelle Gregory, a sphinx solo Program Violinist, performs the fiery Violin Concerto by Cuban-French composer Jose White LaFitte, and Gioachino Rossini’s charming overture to Semiramide starts the season on the right note. When: Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m. Where: Symphoria, Inspiration Hall, 709 James St., Syracuse. Cost: Varies, please inquire. Info: (315) 299-5598 Sunday September 26

29th Annual Westcott Street Cultural Fair

What: One-day celebration of the diversity and uniqueness of the Westcott neighborhood, with performing arts, food, service organizations and activities for all ages. Parade at noon, performances begin at 12:30 p.m. Where: Westcott neighborhood: Concord St. and Dell St., Syracuse. Info: (315) 313-5447 or visit info@westcottstreetfair.org.

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MOVERS & SHAKERS

Investment executive joins Excellus BCBS Excellus BlueCross BlueShield recently named Robyn Smith as community investments and partnerships manager for the company's Central New York region. Her responsibilities in this role include overseeing strategic investments with the goal of improving access to care, advancing specific health outcomes and supporting similarly mission-driven organizations in the region. Prior to her new position, Smith was employed with the Central New York Community Foundation since 2013, where she ascended to the role of director of strategic initiatives and managed the organization’s grant process and selection, among several other duties. Smith is a member of the Leadership Greater Syracuse Class of 2016. She and her family currently reside in Chittenango.

Symphoria names new marketing coordinator Symphoria recently hired Donna Vickers as its full-time marketing coordinator. Vickers shared that she is “excited to have the opportunity to continue expanding audience awareness about what Symphoria brings to Central New York and the arts community.” Prior to moving to Syracuse in 2020, Vickers spent several years as a band director. She holds a master’s degree from Le Moyne College in arts administration, and a bachelor's degree in music education. Donna served as the graduate assistant for the arts administration program at Le Moyne, which helped prepare her for her role at Symphoria.

SEPTEM BER 2021

Joins Revercomb Dental Group Dr. Aleksandra Zak, a graduate of JamesvilleDeWitt High School, will be joining the Revercomb Dental Group in Manlius. Dr. Zak completed her undergraduate studies in biological sciences and SUNY Buffalo and her DMD at the University of New England School of Dental Medicine in 2018. She went on to complete a general residency program at Jocobi Medical Hospital in the Bronx in 2019, where she focused on surgical extractions, endodontics, implant placement and other advanced clinical procedures. Dr. Zak moved back to the Syracuse area to be close to family and friends, and has been practicing dentistry here since 2019. She especially enjoys visiting the Salt City Market.

Helio Health names new Chief Growth Officer Shawna Craigmile, LCSW, is now the chief growth officer of Helio Health, Inc. She will work with Helio Health’s executive leadership team to create and execute the organizations strategic plan across new business development, mergers and acquisitions, and existing business expansion. Craigmile is well known in the Upstate community for her leadership in New York State healthcare initiatives such as Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) program and Health Homes. She brings with her years of experience collaborating with organizations across the Upstate community, to include activities such as the steering committee for Onondaga County Community Health Assessment and Improvement Plan, Onondaga County Drug Task Force, Central New York Care Collaborative Board of Directors, and the Rural Health Network of Oswego County Advisory Committee. Her public speaking engagements include SUNY Upstate’s Transitions in Care Symposium and NYS Supportive Housing Conference. Shawna earned her bachelor’s degree in Psychology at SUNY Oswego and her master of social work degree at Syracuse University.

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SYR ACUSE WOMAN MAGA ZI N E

SYR ACUSE WOMAN MAG.COM


Profile for Eagle Newspapers

Syracuse Woman Magazine - September 2021  

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