October 2013 Issue

Page 1

october 2013

sw inspire




pink finds


beneath the scars’

stupid dumb breast cancer w w w. s y r ac u s e wo m a n m ag . c o m

syracuseWomanMag.com ::october 2013


Congratulations to our physicians and staff who have earned recognition for excellence in providing quality and cost-efficient care.

Spine Surgery

Knee and Hip Replacement

Cardiac Care

www.sjhsyr.org • Follow us on Facebook and Twitter: stjosephshealth Blue Distinction® Centers (BDC) met overall quality measures for patient safety and outcomes, developed with input from the medical community. Blue Distinction® Centers+ (BDC+) also met cost measures that address consumers’ need for affordable healthcare. Individual outcomes may vary. National criteria is displayed on www.bcbs.com. A Local Blue Plan may require additional criteria for facilities located in its own service area. For details on Local Blue Plan Criteria, a provider’s in-network status, or your own policy’s coverage, contact your Local Blue Plan. Each hospital’s Cost Index is calculated with data from its Local Blue Plan. Hospitals in CA, ID, NY, PA, and WA may lie in two Local Blue Plans’ areas, resulting in two Cost Index figures; and their own Local Blue Plans decide whether one or both Cost Index figures must meet BDC+ national criteria. Neither Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association nor any Blue Plans are responsible for damages or non-covered charges resulting from Blue Distinction or other provider finder information or care received from Blue Distinction or other providers. St. Joseph’s is sponsored by the Sisters of St. Francis. Franciscan Companies is a member of the St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center system.








































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of our inspiring women, Patti Thompson, a Reynolds Elementary educator. This story in particular exemplifies what it means to support one another when a cancer diagnosis is presented to you.

“Awareness is not just slapping on a pink ribbon…” — Ann Marie Giannino-Otis This month, as we do every year, we are dedicating our October edition to breast cancer awareness. However, this year, we are hoping to increase each reader’s understanding of what “awareness” truly means. As you already read, the quote I shared this month was from our cover woman, Ann Marie Giannino-Otis. I chose her words because she said it best. We are not doing our part as a community by simply slapping on a pink ribbon and calling it good. When you turn to page 30, you will read Ann Marie’s story — a very open and honest story about her battle with breast cancer. Ann Marie is the creator of Stupid Dumb Breast Cancer, an organization that has not only taken Central New York by storm, but it’s gone global within a little more than a year. She hosts a fundraiser each month to raise money for breast cancer research and awareness efforts. This month she is hosting a Dance Party for kids on Oct. 18 at Trappers II in Minoa. You will find more details on this fundraiser on her Facebook page. Funds raised will benefit Cancer Connects, Hope for Heather Ovarian Cancer Awareness of CNY and Stupid Dumb Breast Cancer. The goal is to encourage families to “get their groove on while helping those battling all types of cancer.” Keeping with our celebration of incredible women fighting breast cancer, we have three diverse stories in our “Syracuse Women Inspire” section. When you turn to page 45, you will meet three women who are proud to be breast cancer warriors. Also, you will meet 8-year-old Hally Krolik who is battling her diagnosis of a Wilms Tumor. Hally has found a bond with one

And of course, we are still beaming with pride and joy for our hometown’s Miss America, Nina Davuluri! We know all of you either watched Nina win the title on Sept. 15 in Atlantic City, or you at least have caught up with accomplishments since then. Nina is the first Miss America of Indian descent and she is already beginning to connect millions of people around the world thanks to her platform: “Celebrating Diversity Through Cultural Competency”. Our staff has the pleasure of personally knowing Nina, a resident of Fayetteville, and we cannot express our feeling of pride for her to represent us as Miss Syracuse, Miss New York and now, Miss America. Turn to page 52 to read my column and feature on what this win means to me as a first generation American woman and what it means to the future of our nation. Lastly, we wanted to extend a very special thank you to Frieda Weeks and the entire Hope for Heather Ovarian Cancer Awareness crew for all they do in the CNY community. They made the awareness month of September and Wear Teal Day a complete success! I am elated to be the media spokeswoman for Hope for Heather. Let’s keep calm and teal on! As always, we’re here to celebrate your ideas and your achievements, but most of all we’re here to talk about what matters most to you. Keep in touch with us online at facebook.com/SyracuseWomanMagazine and on Twitter at @SyrWomanMag. You also can follow me on Twitter for behindthe-scenes coverage of SWM (and lots of tweets about running, food and fashion!) at @FarahJadran. Sincerely,

Farah ON OUR COVER... Ann Marie Giannino-Otis, breast cancer warrior and the founder of Stupid Dumb Breast Cancer, was photographed by Cindy Bell, of Focus Studio, located at 920 N. Salina St. in Syracuse; www.cindybellphotography.com. Cover shoot location: Ray Rinaldi’s boxing gym located on the Northside of Syracuse at 507 Pond St., www. rayskidz.com. Makeup and styling provided by Antonietta Moritz; find her work at Trucco by Antonietta Moritz on Facebook.

OUR TEAM Publishers

Kelly Breuer Barbara McSpadden


Barbara McSpadden


Farah F. Jadran

Creative DIRECTOR Kelly Breuer

graphic design Ashlee Beug Megan LeMay

Photography Cindy Bell Rick Needle Rick Policastro Jussara Potter Ron Trinca Jared Vidler

Contributing Writers Jasmon Brown Alison Grimes Farah F. Jadran Alyssa LaFaro Joni Lincoln Jackie Vidler

advertising Sales Renee Moonan Linda Jabbour

Please contact Renee Moonan (315) 657-7690

AUnlike d vanye rother t i spublication e w i tinhthe Syracuse u s . . . 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. Contact our home office 315.434.8889 2501 James Street, Suite 100 Syracuse, NY 13206 info@syracusewomanmag.com Download our media kit at www.syracusewomanmag.com The magazine is published 12 times a year by InnovateHER Media Group, llc. and Eagle Publications, 2501 James Street, Suite 100, Syracuse, NY 13206. Copyright © 2013 InnovateHER 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 InnovateHER Media Group, llc. and will not be returned.



OUT & ABOUT CELEBRATION OF HOPE DINNER – November 1 HOPE For Bereaved Inc. is planning its annual Celebration of HOPE Dinner to be held on Nov, 1, at the Oncenter. This year’s dinner celebrates the 35 years that HOPE has been in existence. The event will be held in the Nicholas J. Pirro OnCenter Ballroom. Dr. and Mrs. Joseph Barry and Mr. and Mrs. Lou Scheiderich are honorary co-chairs. This event is HOPE’s major fundraiser. HOPE is dedicated to helping grieving children, teens and adults by providing core services (support groups, monthly newsletter and counseling) at no charge. Founded in 1978, HOPE is an independent non-profit community organization. The purpose is to offer support, understanding, coping strategies, friendship and hope to the bereaved, as well as education, consultation and resources for their families, friends, employers, school/ daycare staff, co-workers and invested professionals. The help given by HOPE can add greatly to the physical and mental well-being of the bereaved and therefore to their place of employment and to the community.

Captain Phillips- Oct. 11

HOPE is still accepting donations of items for the silent auction. Items can be dropped off at HOPE Center, 4500 Onondaga Blvd., Syracuse, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday through.

The true story of Captain Richard Phillips and the 2009 hijacking by Somali pirates of the US-flagged MV Maersk Alabama, the first American cargo ship to be hijacked in two hundred years.

For more information about HOPE or to purchase tickets to the dinner, visit www.hopeforbereaved.com or call 315.475.9675. .

Machete Kills – Oct. 11 Machete is recruited by the US Government for a mission to battle his way through Mexico to take down a madman cartel leader and an eccentric billionaire arms dealer who has hatched a plan to spread war across the planet with a weapon in space. Machete takes on an army in an effort to dismantle a plan for global anarchy.

Escape Plan – Oct. 18 Ray Breslin (Stallone), the world’s foremost authority on structural security, agrees to take on one last job: breaking out of an ultra-secret, high-tech facility called “The Tomb.” But when he is wrongly imprisoned, he must recruit fellow inmate Emil Rottmayer (Schwarzenegger) to help devise a daring, nearly impossible plan to escape from the most protected and fortified prison ever built.

The Counselor – Oct. 25 Set in the Southwest, a respected lawyer thinks he can dip a toe into the drug business without getting sucked down. It is a bad decision and he tries his best to survive it and get out of a desperate situation.

A RUN FOR THEIR LIFE – October 13 All ages and abilities are welcome to participate in this event. The Carol M. Baldwin Breast Cancer Research Fund’s A Run for THEIR Life intends to encourage a competitive spirit. The 15K run, 5K run and walk will commence at 9 a.m. in sequential order. This event will be held on Oct. 13, 2013, and same-day registration will run from 7 to 8:15 a.m. at the Carmelo K. Anthony Basketball Center on the Syracuse University Campus. The event includes a 5k walk and run through Thornden Park and a 15K run which will proceed through Thornden Park and down through the Connective Corridor to the Armory Square Area and Back to Manley Field house. There will be a social area for organizational and team tents succeeding the race. There will be team awards for fundraising and for the most team members. Individual prizes will be given to the top three finishers in both the men’s and women’s races, and for the most funds raised. Age group prizes also will be awarded. The purpose is to find a cure in our lifetime. For information on race packet pick-up, volunteer opportunities and to register, visit www. cmbarunfortheirlife.com.

MODA SYRACUSE FASHION WEEKEND – October 11 Syracuse Fashion Weekend is a collaboration of fashion professionals bringing our very own talents to Central New York to benefit the Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital and the upstate community. The fashion event will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 11, at the Oncenter. An after-party will be hosted at Benjamin’s on Franklin. High fashion designed by professional designers, as well as a variety of fashion accessories will be exhibited on professional runway models in a one day grand style. The collective fashion show will include upcoming fashion designers, students designers from Syracuse, New York and international haute couture fashion designers, supporting our worthwhile cause. MODA is a “luxurious fashion magazine” that produces strong editorial coverage of Fashion Week around the globe, including New York, Paris, Rome, London, and Milan. Published quarterly, the magazine presents the latest fashions and flashes light on the top stories from the view backstage and front row. Syracuse Woman Magazine is a proud sponsor of this event. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.syracusefashionweekend.com.

chatter ::platter

Wine Country in East Syracuse 8

october 2013 :: syracuseWomanMag.com

BY FARAH F. JADRAN I PHOTOS BY RICK NEEDLE It may be surprising for many who picture the Finger Lakes or France when they hear the words “Wine Country.” But the greater Syracuse area is developing into a miniature wine country of its own, and the grapevines are growing closer to the city’s core than you may think. “I think I am going to start growing grapes…and make wine,” said Tom Greenwood, when he and Robyn Bombard were visiting the University of California at Davis’ Mind Institute in 2010. Their travels were near much of California’s wine country, so they took advantage of the opportunity to explore the wineries and speak with several winemakers. This past summer, Greenwood, a commercial real estate businessman, decided to expand his land ownership and create a winery in East Syracuse, about a mile east of Carrier Circle. A small farm was adjacent to the building that housed Tom’s real estate business, and after the owner passed away, Tom purchased the land in order to help the winery come alive. Despite the industrial neighbors, the soil on the farmland was ideal for the future of the Greenwood Winery in East Syracuse. “CNY soil is so fertile,” Robyn said. “We talked about this to other people. You can not only grow apples and pumpkins, but grapes.” Because of the soil’s versatility, Robyn saw a lot of promise for the Greenwood Winery. Now, the growth of plentiful grapes is “not just in the Finger Lakes,” according to Robyn, marketing director and events manager for the Greenwood Winery. Plus, the “buy local” vibe is strong in Central New York. With that in mind, Robyn said the winery is fully committed to providing local product. “We always had an interest in wine and good food, good wholesome healthy food,” she said. “We really thought people would like that, too.” In New York state, there are 1,438 vineyards, 320 wineries. Annually they produce 180 million bottles of wine and generate $230 million in state and local taxes, according to newyorkwines.org. The Greenwood Winery is the third winery to be established in Onondaga County. (The other two are Lakeland and Anyela’s.) There are 21 wineries in the Central New York region. “There are endless options here,” said Robyn of the local food and wine products. “Just about 90 percent of what we sell is made by Central New York. People can grab produce, chocolate, bread and buy wine gifts.” Four-and-a-half miles down the road is the Greenwood farmland where the tomatoes, onions and pickled peppers are grown and it’s where the chickens produce eggs. These items also are sold at the winery. When you enter the Greenwood winery, you’re entering an experience. The wine tasting will lead your taste buds on a tour of wines that are already earning accolades. In the Finger Lakes Awards, Greenwood’s Baco Noir, the winery’s driest red to date, won a gold medal. Earning an award for its in-house popularity is a blush wine by the name of Friends. “It’s very fruit-forward with a clean finish,” Robyn said. And the wine, Enthusiasm, is made from 100 percent chancellor grapes. “It’s a delicious, smoky dry red similar to a Malbec.” The atmosphere is warm and cozy without feeling stuffy. You’re greeted by glazed pine slabs and real Kentucky barrels for your tasting station. The patio is a welcoming scene and there are plans to expand the winery (and farm and vineyard) into a total of 67 acres. The plans include a bistro, a distillery and a space equipped for both indoor and outdoor weddings. With a team of 12, the Greenwood winery is looking forward to pouring you your first glass of Enthusiasm and your first sample of locally-produced cheese and cured sausage. There are many elements of surprise, which could only be expected when you visit the wine country located just east of the Salt City. For more information about the Greenwood Winery, visit www.greenwoodwinery.com or stop by 6475 Collamer Road in East Syracuse.


Cancer treatment affects many parts of our bodies. And when it comes to breast cancer there are two parts of our bodies, which are affected, that tend to make us feel womanly — our breasts and our hair.


Although I cannot begin to describe the battle women face, I have witnessed the strength a woman battling breast cancer must exude to endure each day. With breast cancer awareness steadily growing, there are new innovations for women to utilize when it comes to hair loss and mastectomies. We are in a time where creativity is igniting new solutions for women to not feel as if she has lost her feminine attributes. I have a few tips and resources for beautiful head scarves and clothing. Hair loss is a very common side effect of cancer treatment and while some women embrace their baldness there are women who are not comfortable without their luscious locks. Head coverings like scarves are a great way to cover your head and still feel beautiful. What’s great about head scarves is that they are a big trend now and mostly all stores carry them. You can shop online at places like www.scarves.net to find cute and stylish scarves. Not sure how to create amazing ties with your scarf? Just visit YouTube and search for words like “how to tie a head scarf ” and numerous tutorials will show up in the results. Turbans are a just as stylish as scarves but they are easier to manage as they already come styled. Check out www.turbandiva.com for head-turning turbans.






A mastectomy is the removal of the whole breast and that can be devastating for some women. The decision to remove a part of your body is never taken or handled lightly. As women are considering mastectomies more, there are new advancements with bras, tops and even swimsuits that include breast forms or provide a place to put breast forms. A few reliable places to shop are www.thepinkbra.com, www. mastectomyshop.com and www.nicolajane.com. These are just a few of the many companies that have very cute, stylish and comfortable bras, tops and swimsuits. You still get a big selection of prints, colors and styles including sports bras for our fitness fashionistas. These companies also carry a variety of breast forms that you can purchase separately. Another great incentive is that most bras and breast forms may be covered by your insurance. Coping with the side effects or cancer treatment can take its toll on your body image. There is a great amount of resources and support for you to utilize that will help you through your journey. Trying new head scarves and turbans can be an instant pick-me-up and it is very fun to do. Buying new bras and other clothing can be fun as well. You’re acquiring a new wardrobe and who doesn’t love that? Breast cancer is very serious and it is very important to remember that you are a strong, beautiful and fabulous woman. Your journey is not over, it has just begun. Jasmon hosts body image coaching, image consultations and various workshops. For more information on Jasmon or Size Fabulous, visit www. sizefabulous.com or follow her on Twitter at @SizeFabulous. We already do!

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women ::wise

WISE HappEnIngS:

10 a.m. Sunday, October 20, 2013 in Clinton Square

Sign up at MakingStridesWalk.org/syracuse

finds ::fab 14

fab finds august 2013 :: syracuseWomanMag.com






Sport pink, support local efforts to battle breast cancer and have a place to keep your change. This 4x3 coin purse is ideal to hold small bills, change and your ID and credit cards.


If you visit the Roses For Breast Cancer site and find that many of the designs are catching your eye, then a combination gift set could be a great option. This one features a braided bracelet, a “Lydia” purse and a rose pen.


Surprise a survivor or someone who enjoys supporting breast cancer and spreading the awareness mission with a bouquet of rose pens. There are many arrangements and color combinations available.


Choose from a variety of colors and designs to fancy your “pink” mood. Pink Ribbon Rosettes make great gifts during Breast Cancer Awareness Month or any time of the year to raise awareness.


Wallets make great gifts and pink polka dot ones with skulls make for unique gifts. If you’re daring, this would go great in your purse or in your friend’s tote while you aim to raise breast cancer awareness.





Four words that can change a life forever: “You have breast cancer.” They are four words that changed Syracuse’s Danielle Delfanian’s life forever. Her step-mom was diagnosed with breast cancer in January of 1998. After many rounds of chemotherapy, radiation, and a stem cell transplant, she is in remission and is a proud 15-year survivor. Proceeds from Danielle’s creations benefit the Upstate Cancer Center and the American Cancer Society’s Making strides Against Breast Cancer program. The clever designs are all made from duct tape, which has Roses For Breast Cancer…stuck for a cure! To see these featured items (and more), visit her site at www.rosesforbc.org.

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Syracuse Crunch Battle


Pink awareness ribbons are everywhere you turn. This only becomes truer when we enter Breast Cancer Awareness Month. While the color is everywhere and the awareness is heightened in October, there may still be some surprises when it comes to the sources of these messages.

“Pink awareness ribbons are everywhere you turn.”

If you’ve never thought about raising breast cancer awareness while at a hockey game, think again! On Saturday, Oct. 26, your Syracuse Crunch will face off with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at the War Memorial Arena. However, the battle against Bridgeport won’t be the only fight in focus that night. For several years now, the Crunch organization has hosted a “Pink in the Rink” event where the fans will not only enjoy an exciting game on the ice but also, they’ll be able to celebrate loved ones who are surviving breast cancer and to memorialize those who have passed away from the disease. With an incredible team returning to the War Memorial after just falling short of a Calder Cup title in the previous season, fans will have even more to root for — finding a cure for breast cancer. “We are proud to partner with SUNY Upstate Medical University on what has become an important annual event for our organization,” said Jim Sarosy, COO of the Crunch. “It’s a very small way for our staff and athletes, many of who have lost loved ones to cancer, to keep the importance of fundraising top of mind.” What’s in store for Oct. 26 ticket-holders? “First time fans can expect the excitement of Crunch hockey coupled with numerous opportunities to contribute to breast cancer research funding,” said Maggie Walters, the Crunch’s director of communications and marketing. “We also will have local experts on hand to educate fans on breast cancer prevention, screenings and symptoms.” Whether you’re a man or a woman — fans are encouraged to wear pink to show their support that evening. Plus, the players will sport pink in different ways. “Survivors and those remembering loved ones will find a support group among fans that have all come together for a common cause,” Walters said. Syracuse Woman Magazine is in its third year of supporting the Crunch’s Pink in the Rink effort. Beginning on Oct. 14, community members are encouraged to post photos of loved ones who are survivors and those have passed away to the SWM Facebook page. These photos will be featured on the scoreboard during the Pink in the Rink game. Also, any fans that post photos for the scoreboard tribute will be entered to win two free tickets to the game on Oct. 26. Tickets are $17 and a portion of each ticket will benefit the Carol M. Baldwin Breast Cancer Research Fund Inc., which helps fund local research efforts at the Upstate Cancer Center. The concourse areas will include vendor tables, a prize wheel and limited edition pink pucks signed by the players. To order tickets, call the Crunch Office at 315.473.4444 and use the code word: “PINK RINK” when purchasing tickets. To post your pink inspired photos on the SWM Facebook page for the game night scoreboard tribute, visit www.facbeook.com/SyracuseWomanMagazine.


october 2013 :: syracuseWomanMag.com

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Call 472-2464 today or go to crouse.org/bariatrics



leading woman

WBOC draws in Edwina Schleider “The energy is infectious,” said Edwina Schleider when describing WBOC meetings. “There’s a feeling of camaraderie. All the women are in it together, and even if they are in competitive professions, they want to help one another. They take pleasure in seeing their fellow female entrepreneurs succeed in a way I don’t think you see in other types of organizations.” Edwina chooses to live her life through the contagions that capture her attention. The same degree of addiction she finds in attending WBOC (Women Business Opportunities Connections) meetings echoes in her career as a lawyer. “When you can be in an environment where you can truly be yourself and show people that you like them, show people that you have integrity, show people that you care about them as people and in a professional capacity — good people just continue to come to you,” she told me. “They continue to be attracted to you. It’s infectious.” Even in her youth, Edwina wanted nothing more than to go into law. Both her paternal grandparents, as well as her father, practiced. “My grandmother was admitted to practice law in 1918,” she said. “When I graduated from law school, my father took his diploma and both his parents’ diplomas from law school, had them shrunk down and put into a collage for me, along with my own diploma. They are in matching frames along with a picture of my grandmother, who was pregnant with twins at the time, on the day she graduated. I look at that picture often. I don’t think I had any other choice than to be a lawyer.” After graduating from Syracuse University in 1979, Edwina looked to another powerful woman in law to guide her next steps — Mathilde C. Bersani, the first female city court judge for Onondaga County. “I worked for Judge Bersani for nine years as a law clerk, then [opened] my own practice in 1988 in Jamesville. Eventually, I moved downtown and became partner in another law firm for 10 years. I came to my current law firm — Pappas, Cox, Kimpel, Dodd and Levine, P.C. — where I am Of Counsel, in 2010.” Outside of law and WBOC, Edwina is an avid golfer and holds a position on the board of the Executive Women’s Golf Association (EWGA), which she joined as a member six years ago. “The EWGA provides an opportunity for women to be involved in golf, become familiar with the game if they have never played it before, and to use the golf environment as a networking experience,” she explained. Edwina believes that the law firm, WBOC and EWGA all share a common goal. “One of the most rewarding accomplishments I experience is when a person comes to me with a business concept, and we start from the ground level and grow it into something to be proud of. That’s also what women do at WBOC and EWGA — grow themselves and their businesses into something to be proud of. “The energy level at WBOC is something that will always draw me back,” she added. “It’s impressive and exhilarating, from the first meeting to the 100th. As long as you are open to meeting new people, you just start talking, you start finding out what other women do, and you start sharing experiences, and it’s fantastic.” The WBOC is a non-profit organization that has been empowering professional women in the Central New York area for more than 20 years. Its members are women business owners, women in business and women business start-ups. Syracuse Woman Magazine is a signature sponsor of the WBOC.


october 2013 :: syracuseWomanMag.com

Congratulations to all the Participants in

Shop, Spa & Style Fashion Show in Support of Ophelia’s Place from the Upstate Medical University Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and University OB/GYN Associates, Inc.

For comprehensive, quality care from physicians you can trust, turn to University OB/GYN Associates. We are the only group with the Academic Difference. All general and specialty women’s services are provided by our group • General Gynecology and Well Woman Services Including menopause and PMS • Family Planning • General Maternity Care • Urogynecology • High Risk Maternity Care • Gyn Oncology • Infertility Diagnosis and Treatment Including Advanced Reproductive Technologies • In-Vitro Fertilization Our physicians are faculty of the Upstate Medical University. For information and appointments, please call:

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cause ::for a good

Helping the hungry High school runners organize zombie 5K to benefit FoodBank

Hallowrun for Hunger


If you’ve ever wanted to be chased by zombies, now’s your chance. On Oct. 20, you can be part of the Hallowrun for Hunger at Oneida Shores, which kicks off at 11 a.m. at the McKinley Shelter. The 5K course will feature student zombies from Cicero-North Syracuse High School, who will chase runners as they make their way along the course. But it’s not the zombies’ hunger race organizers Liz Westfall and Megan Cuculich care about. Liz and Megan, both rising sophomores at C-NS, are much more concerned with the real hunger they see in the community every day. “We started doing this event with the kids for Feed My Starving Children on Halloween. We loaded up my huge truck with donations and brought it over, and they were all dressed up, and they were really inspired by how many people are hungry,” said Veronica Westfall, Liz’s mom. “In 2011, we found a website for Halloween for Hunger [which encourages kids to collect canned goods for the hungry instead of trick-or-treating on Halloween], and it got bigger from there.”

When: 11 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 20. Registration begins at 10 a.m., followed by a free kids’ run.

Where: Oneida Shores Park, Brewerton Why: To benefit the Food Bank of Central New York Register: Sign up directly through active.com or click through the link on


Registration is $25; active.com takes a $2.25 fee, but the Liz and Megan’s efforts began in seventh grade, and every Halloween, their food drives rest goes directly to the have grown. So far, the girls have collected more than 1,500 pounds of food for the Food Bank of Food Bank of CNY, CNY. Last year alone, they collected more than 1,000 pounds. the main food This year, the two, both of whom are on C-NS’s cross country team, decided they wanted to marry their supplier to two loves: running and helping the hungry. 268 emergency “We always do pasta parties before a big race, and we bring pasta in for the Food Bank. We do a lot of runs food programs in that help charities,” Megan said. “It seemed like a natural thing to do.” 11 counties So the girls, with Veronica Westfall’s help and that of several fellow C-NS students, started working to get the in the state. 5K off the ground. They sought a venue, corporate sponsors and vendors, set up a website, mapped out a route, did photo shoots, put together promotional materials and more, putting in hundreds of hours to pull together the race.

In keeping with the Halloween tradition, they decided to add zombies to the course, a popular element at many recent races. The spooks will be played by C-NS students, and their makeup will be done by a student makeup team led by student makeup artist Josh DiFabio. Without the support from the students and staff at C-NS, Liz said the race would never have gotten off the ground. “Nearly everyone I talked to at the beginning said we would never be able to do this because it was just too big of a project for a bunch of kids,” Liz said. “Ellie Peavey at the C-NS Optimist Club was the first person who really encouraged me to just go for it.” Both Liz and Megan recognize how fortunate they are, not only to have the support of their peers and teachers, but to have enough food on the table when so many people have to go without. “It’s sad to know some people go to bed starving,” Megan said. “When we go into the Food Bank, we realize we’re really fortunate,” Liz said. “Sometimes it’s really hard to believe we’re so fortunate.” If you’d like to donate to the Food Bank but you’re not a runner, you can do so at the website, as well. For more information, visit hallowrun.com or email hallowrunforhunger@gmail.com.


october 2013 :: syracuseWomanMag.com

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Gynecologic Prevention


When it comes to your family’s health, you’re the one tracking all the appointments, filling prescriptions and encouraging friends to go to a specialist. But when it comes to your own health, you’re more likely to put an appointment off or disregard any nagging symptoms. While women are known for being the best caregivers, we need to be proactive in our own health and we need to start now. Dr. Mary J. Cunningham, a board certified gynecologic oncologist, says that it’s important for her to get the word out on what reoccurring symptoms in women mean to their health. She has been practicing at Crouse for more than 16 years, suggests that women be proactive about their health, especially their gynecologic health. One important thing you can do as your own health advocate is to be aware of your family history. Is there a history of ovarian, colon, uterine or breast cancer in your family? Your family history notes should include the type of cancer, the family member’s relationship to you and the age he or she was diagnosed. Dr. Cunningham suggests that women share this information with their doctors and find out if there is a possible need for additional genetic testing. “Most people will not have a strong enough history to warrant genetic testing,” however, Dr. Cunningham says the effort of prevention and early detection is worth the conversation. The genetic test consists of a blood test to determine genes passed from generation to generation in a family. Being aware of symptoms is the key to early detection while knowing your family history is the key to prevention. “I think it’s a good idea to write things down,” Dr. Cunningham said. Items on our “doctor’s list” should include any recurring breast or abdominal pain, abnormal bleeding or lumps in the breast tissue. In addition, any changes in family history should be reported too. When it comes to abnormal bleeding, Dr. Cunningham says that it should never be ignored. “Abnormal bleeding does not automatically mean that it’s cancer but it could be something that needs to be treated.” Any abnormal vaginal bleeding after menopause needs to be evalu-


september 2013 :: syracuseWomanMag.com

ated to rule out uterine cancer, according to Dr. Cunningham. Once a woman has not experienced menstrual bleeding for a full year, they are considered to be menopausal. “Even if the bleeding occurs once, it needs to be discussed with your doctor.” (Rectal or urinary bleeding may be indications of cancer, but of the bladder or rectum, and so those symptoms usually fall under the general category of cancer risk.) Many gynecologic cancer symptoms are vague, says Dr. Cunningham. The general symptoms of these types of cancer are unusual weight loss, loss of appetite, persistent abdominal pain, fatigue or abnormal bleeding. Because so many types of women’s cancers are intertwined, the awareness factor is easily elevated. A woman’s risk of developing breast and/ or ovarian cancer is greatly increased if she inherits a mutation in the BRCA1 gene or the BRCA2 gene. There is testing available for both of these gene mutations. According to the National Cancer institute, about 12 percent of women in the general population will develop breast cancer sometime during their lives. By contrast, according to the most recent estimates, 55 to 65 percent of women who inherit a harmful BRCA1 mutation and around 45 percent of women who inherit a harmful BRCA2 mutation will develop breast cancer by age 70. And about 1.4 percent of women in the general population will develop ovarian cancer sometime during their lives. Concurrently, 39 percent of women who inherit a harmful BRCA1 mutation and 11 to 17 percent of women who inherit a harmful BRCA2 mutation will develop ovarian cancer, also by age 70. No matter how busy your schedule becomes, or the number of family members you’re looking after, your personal health should be in the forefront. Make your “doctor’s list” and make an appointment with your OBGYN or primary care physician. Crouse’s Dr. Cunningham is photographed here with her patient, Rita Schmedicke.

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words ::in her own


To my knowledge, none of the women in my family has ever been diagnosed with breast cancer before my mother. Since then, I definitely take my monthly self-exams more seriously and maintain my OBGYN visits regularly. Also, I have taken my diet into consideration to ensure that I am doing everything I can in terms of cancer prevention. My mother, Sandra Clark, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005. She underwent a bilateral mastectomy, and one was prophylactic. She received chemotherapy treatments and was quite sick during that time. My husband, who is an emergency medical technician and fireman, often helps to monitor foods that may contain carcinogens. Because none of the other female family members have ever been diagnosed, my mother was very lax in personal health care. Now, we all think differently about our health and I encourage other women to take charge of their health, too. I strongly urge women to have their mammograms, do their monthly selfbreast exam and have regular visits with their doctor. A year after my mother’s chemotherapy, she decided to have reconstructive surgery. Now, she’s retired and in much better health. There is no doubt that her journey inspired me as a daughter, a woman and a photographer “Beauty Beneath the Scars” is a photography offering I created for women survivors and those currently battling cancer who want to share their story or their fight against cancer. My inspiration came from observing the strength, not only from my mother, but other women fighting this dreaded disease.


october 2013 :: syracuseWomanMag.com

Although they all were determined to “beat this” they also questioned silently, “Will I get through this?” My hope is to help other women see that the beauty was never taken from them. The name, “Beauty beneath the Scars,” came from a remark my mother made about her scars. Jokingly, she said, “My body looks like a railroad track.” It wasn’t until November 2012, when my mother-in-law was diagnosed, that I decided to finally put the photo project into play. I have wanted to do this for a long time. The offering was intended to raise awareness about not only the physical damage cancer causes but the emotional effect it has as well. Three women were selected in July to receive a free glamour session with hair and makeup provided by professionals to pamper and make them feel that there is beauty beneath the scars. We also were fortunate enough to use dresses from Spy Baby Bridal boutique for their photo session. By sharing their stories we hope to encourage others in their individual battles. Each survivor receives a specialty “pink” leather album specially designed for them. My goal is to remind survivors that they’re inspiring others and for them to feel as beautiful as they truly are. We focus on what we see as imperfections and what we don’t like about ourselves and I want to focus on the true beauty that God has given each one of us. For more information on how to nominate a woman to experience Beauty Beneath the Scars, emaill jmvidler@yahoo.com.

syracuseWomanMag.com ::october 2013


story ::cover


Stupid Dumb Breast Cancer‌


OCTOBer 2013 :: syracuseWomanMag.com

BY FARAH F. JADRAN I PHOTOGRAPHY BY CINDY BELL It’s stupid. It’s dumb. It’s breast cancer. Simple and honest, the adjectives before this disease have resonated with legions of women from coast to coast and beyond. For Ann Marie Giannino-Otis, she believes this is why she was diagnosed. Beating breast cancer is her purpose and creating the non-profit, Stupid Dumb Breast Cancer, is a part of her plan of attack. In less than two years, this Fayetteville mom of four has created a movement so strong it now stretches across the nation and has even touched down in Ireland. Her message is simple: Awareness for any cause is not just about slapping on a ribbon and calling it a day. Support is not about a one-time fundraising effort. It’s about living it, being real and beating it.

The battle begins

Ann Marie had just turned 40. While lying in bed next to her husband Tom, she noticed a lump on her breast, but this was not the only lump. Because Ann Marie had always had very dense breasts, she figured it was “just another lump.” Tom pressed the lump in question to see if she had pain. “Black liquid came out of my nipple,” she said. An immediate trip to the doctor’s office revealed little. Because of the density of her breast tissue, neither a mammogram nor a sonogram could provide a diagnosis, and her doctor ordered a lumpectomy. “I wish I had taken a step back and breathed more,” Ann Marie said. “But before I knew it, everything was thrown at me.” However, Ann Marie knew that her doctors wanted to find out as much as they could and to get all testing and procedures either completed or scheduled. “There were so many decisions to make.” Ann Marie was diagnosed on June 11, 2012, and on July 21 she underwent a bilateral double mastectomy. Later that year, on Nov. 9, her expanders were put in to make way for implants. This past January, she had a full hysterectomy. She chose implants because she did want to be “flat and fabulous” — it simply was not for her. “It’s not that breasts define a woman, but yes, I wanted to have breasts.” Unfortunately for Ann Marie, her implants have not worked out. They’ve scarred, they’re uncomfortable and she says she feels constantly “aware” of them. “They’re coming out in December.” Ann Marie’s next procedure, a DIEP flap, will take around 10 hours.

A DIEP flap is considered a muscle-sparing type of flap. DIEP stands for “inferior epigastric perforator artery” which runs through the abdomen. In this procedure, fat, skin and blood vessels, but no muscle, are cut from the wall of the lower belly and then moved up to the chest to rebuild the breast area. Knowing the intensity of the surgery to come, Ann Marie is ready. Right now, she does not feel like herself. “They [the implants] feel like alien things on my chest,” she said. “This is a real issue for women.” Because so many emotions become a part of a breast cancer battle, Ann Marie wants to heal on every level, not just physically. “I feel like I will be getting a little bit of me back. It’s important to my healing. I know the recovery will be hard, but I know I’ll be happier and looking forward to that day.” Using her own negative experiences with implants, Ann Marie still scoffs when people say, “You get breast cancer, you get a free boob job!” Truthfully, she says, “It’s not all it’s cracked up to be. I understand it… they don’t get it.”

No Pain, No Gain

“Don’t believe what people tell you about pain.” Choosing a doctor that understands you is important. And according to Ann Marie, finding a doctor who explains side effects or degrees of pain to you without misleading you is important, too. Before her mastectomy, a male doctor told her they would be injecting a dye and that it wouldn’t hurt. Turns out, it did hurt and it hurt a lot. “Have you had it done before? No. So, don’t pretend that you know how it feels or how it will feel for me.” Ann Marie’s current breast care physician, Dr. Mary Ellen Greco, is a great support. “She never misleads me or puts herself in my shoes,” Ann Marie said. “She’s real.” The dye injection caused excruciating pain for Ann Marie. “It felt like I had battery acid injected into my veins. No one should ever tell you how something is going to be when it happens to you.” While not all experiences are the same, Ann Marie says that it’s good to share them so you can relate to others who are in fact battling breast cancer or any cancer for that matter. Enter the Stupid Dumb Breast Cancer Facebook page and blog… The connection with thousands upon thousands of people has become the mainstay of Ann Marie’s mission ―— it’s become her reason for having breast cancer. Most importantly it has become her way of helping others.



Stupid Dumb Breast Cancer

Ann Marie has long been designated the “micro manager” in her household. “I always want to help others.” Since becoming a warrior against breast cancer, she needed to find another way to help fellow warriors. She’s caring for her husband and her sons, Ben, 13; Sam, 11; Anthony, who turns 8 on Oct. 4, and Julian who will be 6 years old on Oct. 30. But now, she’s caring for a group of women and men who are fighting for their lives. “Breast cancer does not define you, but it sure changes you.” Ann Marie wrote an entire blog about this concept. The way she feels and the way she looks can be worlds apart, but how she handles it is her prerogative. “One of the easiest things I can do is send a message to a Facebook friend or put up a blog post and instantly one of the thousands of people in my circle is there.” By the middle of September, Ann Marie’s blog had more than 100,000 followers and her Stupid Dumb Breast Cancer Facebook Page had more than 3,100 likes. Besides her virtual support, Ann Marie knows she can change her mood by hitting the gym with a pair of boxing gloves, a tough class or simply snuggling with her kids. It means the most to her when a friend who just had a recent lumpectomy can come to her house and have coffee on the back porch while talking about anything. At the same time, it’s therapeutic for her. “She probably didn’t even realize she was helping me.”

Every month, and if you haven’t heard yet, Stupid Dumb Breast Cancer is hosting a fundraising event. The fundraisers help Cancer Connects provide informational and emotional support services, as well as connections to community resources. The Bravery Bags project also has gotten her community involved. This time it has been the community of children. “Bravery Bags help people feel better and they put a smile on their face.” The bags are filled with items that women would need for their battle: a “Brave” T-shirt, facial towels, a small pillow for their underarm, a cup with a straw, dry shampoo, lip balm and mouthwash. The “Caring Kids” gather at least once a month to make blankets to be placed in the Bravery Bags. “Do we ever really follow through or show empathy?” she asked. “Here’s an opportunity for kids to learn that.” For every gathering, about 25 blankets are produced. Plus, the kids make cards for the women who are fighting cancer. “They probably don’t even realize how good of a thing they’re doing,” said Ann Marie about the youth volunteers.

What’s next…

Next month, Ann Marie’s implants will be a year old and the month after they’ll be gone. “They’re sitting high up on me and it feels like a needle is stuck in me,” she said. “It just hurts me so bad.” She is happy to know there are other options and that her option will come this December. “I want people to know about everything that’s out there. There isn’t just one way.”

On Ann Marie’s pages, she’s honest and there’s no holding back. Plus, the pictures tell a story all in themselves. Her friend and photographer, Genevieve Fridley, documented every step of Ann Marie’s journey…every step.

And her fundraising efforts are moving full steam ahead. “I will continue to have a fundraiser every month no matter what,” Ann Marie said. “I won’t stop.”

From a pre-op photo featuring Ann Marie’s hot pink power pumps in a hospital bed to a reveal of her bare chest after the mastectomy — she put everything out there. There are pictures of drains, scars, smiles and tears, all the aspects of the battle that is breast cancer.

And what’s the gift that keeps on giving? “The gift that cancer didn’t mean to give me is that I am helping people,” Ann Marie said. “Yes, it sucked to be diagnosed, and to get implants that are now coming out…who am I to complain?”

“I don’t beat around the bush and I don’t show you what you’re going through,” she said. “It’s what I’m going through and you take what you can relate to.”

The next Stupid Dumb Breast Cancer event will be held on Oct. 18 at Trapper’s 2 in Minoa. The event will be a Dance Party and both SDBC and Hope for Heather Ovarian Cancer Awareness of CNY will be present. Proceeds will benefit Cancer Connects, SDBC and Hope for Heather. Visit www.facebook.com/stupiddumbreastcancer to learn more about Ann Marie’s mission and to read her blog.

Cancer Connects & Bravery Bags

Most recently, a local grassroots organization called Cancer Connects has teamed up with Ann Marie. “They’ve embraced what I’m doing because they believe in it.”


story syracuseWomanMag.com :: october 2013


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PR professionals:

‘Feed Your Passion’ Syracuse to host PRSA conference for first time


On paper, the field of public relations is one of the most misunderstood industries and for two Syracuse women, that’s just not acceptable anymore. To Crystal Smith, APR, and Kelly Gaggin, a position in public relations not only means you will represent the organization or company that hired you, but also you are tasked with representing the industry. Representation in this field includes research, employee relations, community relations, media relations, government relations, crisis communications planning and response, and most importantly, ethics. Crystal is the director of integrated media for public relations at Strategic Communications LLC. Also, she has an Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) and is the current president of the Central New York Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). Crystal says some of the most important parts about being in PR are that you must be able to represent, build and grow an ethical reputation for the agency you’re working for. “The challenges are fascinating and there are critical aspects [to each job],” Crystal said. As for Kelly, she works in the non-profit field as the director of public relations for the Syracuse Academy of Science Charter School. Finding the career that matched her interests and strengths was a challenge at first. However, Kelly soon realized that the PR field was where she could take her creativity and business interest and fit them together. With Crystal’s position as the PRSA CNY president comes much responsibility. For the first time ever, the local chapter will host the annual PRSA Northeast District Conference on Nov. 7 at the Crowne Plaza in Syracuse. “This conference is second only to the International Conference hosted by PRSA,” Crystal said. “This is the biggest learning and networking opportunity in the Northeast for our industry.” After a proposal to host this event was accepted by the chapter, Crystal lobbied at the district and soon received the good news. Why should professionals in this field attend the conference? “It’s an important networking opportunity, it brings people with similar goals together and there are amazing keynote speakers and presenters,” Crystal said. 36 august 2013 :: syracuseWomanMag.com

“When you get a group of communicators in one room, good things happen,” said Crystal of the conference. “If you’re passionate about what you do or even if you’re looking to find your passion — the Central New York Chapter of PRSA has put together a program that will ‘Feed Your Passion.’” The support of our board and membership and our mentoring is great, Kelly said. “At any age, you can find your passion and I urge you to take that next step and sit down and talk about that field of interest with another professional.” Kelly says his open line of communication and offering of advice is what makes a group like the PRSA CNY so valuable. The theme “Feed Your Passion” will surround the attendees of the Northeast conference this fall. “Some of the biggest names in food will be presenting at the conference, including supermarket powerhouse Wegmans and Greek yogurt maker Chobani,” Crystal said. “Destiny USA will be the conference’s featured lunch keynote speaker.” Right now, Crystal’s role of president means she is heading up much of the conference planning with the help of her board. And, ready to step in when her term is over, is Kelly, the president-elect. After Crystal’s two-year term finishes, she says that Kelly’s time of preparation and observation make her confident in how smooth the transition will be. “I like this process because I am getting time to learn and ask questions,” Kelly said. “I can interpret the information we have at the national level and see what other boards are doing. I am getting ready to lead but with a sense of comfort.” Assuming the position of president would be “hard without past experience,” according to Kelly, which is why the president-elect role is so crucial to how smoothly the chapter will run. For more information on how to join the chapter or to attend the conference, visit www.prsacny.com.

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Lowering your risk of breast cancer

Fitness, nutrition & health become weapons of prevention Breast cancer is the second most common cancer among women, second only to lung cancer. One in eight women is expected to develop breast cancer in her lifetime, and a recent survey by the Society for Women’s Health Research found that 22 percent of women named breast cancer as the disease they fear most. The spectrum of breast cancer makes it no surprise that women are eager to seek various ways to reduce their risks of developing this potentially deadly disease. Though cancer treatments continue to evolve, there remains no cure for breast cancer or any other types of cancer. However, there are steps men and women can take to reduce their risks of developing breast cancer. In fact, the National Cancer Institute says avoiding breast cancer risk factors is the best path to prevention. Although there is no cure for cancer, there are a number of different ways women can reduce their risks for breast cancer: Get your exercise. Exercising four or more hours a week can lower breast cancer risk. Exercise need not be heavy lifting at the gym. Any moderate physical activity, from cycling to walking, can be effective. Exercise decreases hormone levels in the body that can impact breast cancer risk. Some studies indicate simply walking briskly for one to three hours per week can reduce a woman’s breast cancer risk by 18 percent. Keep a healthy weight. Obesity increases the risk of breast cancer, particularly in postmenopausal women. Healthy eating and exercise can help women control their weight while reducing their risks of developing breast cancer and a number of other diseases. Scientists at The Mayo Clinic believe there is a link between estrogen production in fatty breast tissue and breast cancer.

Eat a low-fat diet. The Women’s Intervention Nutrition Study from the National Cancer Institute found that the highest rate of breast cancer reduction was among a group of women who ate a low-fat diet. Reduce alcohol consumption. Various studies have indicated that women who drink alcoholic beverages may develop cancer at a higher rate. Women who consume two to five drinks daily have a greater risk of developing breast cancer than those who abstain from alcohol. Weigh the risks of hormone replacement therapy. There are mixed reviews on hormone replacement therapy, or HRT, for postmenopausal women. There may be a link between long-term HRT and breast cancer, particularly when estrogen and progesterone are used in combination. Some doctors advise estrogen-only hormone therapy for women who have had a hysterectomy. Increase fruit and vegetable consumption. Carotenoids are cancerprotective pigments found in a vast number of fruits and vegetables. Researchers at New York University found women who had higher blood carotenoid levels had a significantly smaller risk of breast cancer than women with lower levels. Go sparingly on antibiotics. It’s suggested that you only take antibiotics when they are truly needed. New evidence suggests that the more often a woman takes antibiotics, the higher her breast cancer risk. A study of more than 10,000 women found that women who took antibiotics for the equivalent of about 25 prescriptions over an average of 17 years were twice as likely to develop breast cancer as women who never took the drugs.


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National Women’ s Hall of Fame welcomes new inductees BY JONI LINCOLN AND THE NATIONAL WOMEN’S HALL OF FAME

Come stand among great women at the National Women’s Hall of Fame’s 24th Induction Ceremony on Saturday, Oct. 12, in Seneca Falls. During this signature event, there will be several opportunities to explore the stories of great American women. “We have re-designed this weekend for the inductees and the public to share in the celebration,” explained Virginia DeJohn and Judith Pipher, Induction Committee Co-Chairs. “From the nomination process to the tea preceding the Induction Ceremony, to the final gala reception on Saturday evening, it is important to actively involve our communities.” Founded in 1969, the National Women’s Hall of Fame is the nation’s oldest membership organization recognizing the achievements of great American women. Inductees are selected every other year based on their lasting contributions to society through the arts, athletics, business, education, government, humanities, philanthropy and science. From a group of more than 100 completed nominations, an independent national panel of judges conducted a rigorous scoring process and selected nine women to join the 247 current Inductees of the Hall.

The events on Oct. 12 kick-off with a 12:30 p.m. tea. Guests can enjoy finger sandwiches, savories, and sweets with exclusive tea furnished by Harney & Sons Fine Teas, and Great Western champagne provided by Pleasant Valley Wine Company. Mackenzie-Childs courtly check teapots filled with sunflowers will serve as centerpieces and can be purchased at the event. Light classical and jazz selections will be provided by a string duo from the Eastman School of Music. During the Induction Ceremony, at 2:30 p.m., the 2013 honorees will be formally inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame. Living Inductees will be in attendance to share personal insights such as role models, challenges, motivations, and aspirations, while designated representatives will accept induction for deceased honorees. Saturday’s events conclude with a Gala Reception from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Hotel Clarence. Hors d’oeuvres and selections from Finger Lakes and California wineries will be featured along with musical entertainment by Johnny Russo’s East Hill Jazz Quartet. Weekend activities also include a program, “Come Talk with Great Women,” on Friday.

This program is for area students and made possible by a partnership between the Hall and Wayne Finger Lakes BOCES. Saturday morning, Hall Founding Sponsor ITT Corporation, will host a panel discussion of female leaders on the topic: “What it Takes to Win”. According to the induction committee cochairs, “This weekend is a signature event in our country and we are pleased beyond measure that it is here in Seneca Falls — the home of women’s rights. We are honored and humbled at the responses of the Inductees and our communities. This indeed will be a great weekend to celebrate great women!” The induction committee is paying special thanks to the event sponsors: ITT Corporation, AAUW, Seneca Meadows, Corning, Inc., Duke Energy, Eileen Fisher, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Generations Bank, Nucor Steel – Auburn, Susan Steinhauser & Daniel Greenberg, and USRA. For more information about the Hall, to purchase event tickets or to learn about Induction webcasting, log on to greatwomen.org, follow the Hall on Twitter and Facebook, or call 315.568.8060.

Meet the 2013 Inductees: Anna Jacobson Schwartz (1915 – 2012)

Perhaps the most widely acclaimed female research economist of the twentieth century, Anna Jacobson Schwartz has been described as “one of the world’s greatest monetary scholars”. In 1941, after a five year career with Columbia University’s Social Science Research Council, Schwartz began her more than seventy year tenure working for the National Bureau of Economic Research. During her time at the National Bureau, Schwartz met and began working with Milton Friedman and together, the two coauthored A Monetary History of the United States, 1867 – 1960. Described by Federal Reserve chairman, Ben Bernanke, as “the leading and most persuasive explanation of the worst economic disaster in American history,” the text is one of the most widely cited in economics. Schwartz was also considered a leading financial historian and expert on monetary statistics in the United States and Britain.

Bernice Resnick Sandler (1928 - )

For more than 40 years, Bernice Resnick Sandler has been a tireless advocate of educational equity for women and girls. In 1970, Sandler filed the first charges of sex discrimination against 250 educational institutions. It was this strategy that led to the first federal investigations of campus sex discrimination at a time when no laws existed to prohibit discrimination based on sex in education. Subsequently, Sandler was instrumental in the development, passage and implementation of Title IX, the legislation that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program or activity. An expert in strategies and policies to prevent and respond to sex discrimination in higher education, Sandler has given more than 2,500 presentations. She currently serves as a Senior Scholar in Residence at the Women’s Research and Education Institute in Washington, D.C.

Betty Ford (1918 – 2011)


A groundbreaking First Lady, Betty Ford is often remembered for her candor in addressing the controversial issues of her time. Shortly after she became the First Lady of the United States in 1974, Ford was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a radical mastectomy. Rather than suppressing the diagnosis, Ford courageously shared her story and inspired countless women across the nation to get breast cancer examinations. In 1978, following a family intervention, Ford underwent successful treatment for addiction to alcohol and prescription drugs. She again used her story to raise public awareness of addiction, and in 1982, she cofounded the Betty Ford Center to treat victims of alcohol and chemical dependency. Ford was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1991 and the Congressional Gold Medal, with President Gerald R. Ford, in 1999.


Ina May Gaskin (1940 - )

A certified professional midwife who has attended more than 1,200 births, Ina May Gaskin is known as the “mother of authentic midwifery”. In 1971, Gaskin founded the Farm Midwifery Center in rural Tennessee and effectively demonstrated that home birth midwives could be well prepared for their profession without first being educated as obstetric nurses. During a stay in Guatemala in 1976, Gaskin learned a technique for preventing and resolving shoulder dystocia during birth. After using the method with great success, Gaskin began to teach it and publish articles about the method. Now referred to as the Gaskin maneuver, it is the first obstetrical maneuver to be named after a midwife. Gaskin is the author of four books, including Spiritual Midwifery (1975), the first text written by a midwife published in the United States.

Julie Krone (1963 - )

With more than 3,700 career wins, Julie Krone is the leading female Thoroughbred horse racing jockey of all time. Krone made history in 1993 when she became the first woman to win a Triple Crown event at the Belmont Stakes. In 2003, she went on to become the first woman to win a Breeders’ Cup event at the Juvenile Fillies and the first woman to win a million dollar event at the Pacific Classic. Krone initially retired from horse racing in 1999 and became a commentator and analyst for the TVG racing network, but returned to the sport in 2002, retiring for a second time in 2004. Krone was named ESPN’s 1993 Professional Female Athlete of the Year, and in 2000, she became the first woman inducted into the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame.

Kate Millett (1934 – )

A feminist activist, writer, visual artist, filmmaker, teacher and human rights advocate, Kate Millett has been described as one of the most influential Americans of the twentieth century. Millett began her career as an English instructor and in 1966, became the first Chair of the Education Committee of the newly formed National Organization for Women. In 1968, she authored a pioneering report published by NOW, Token Learning: A Study of Women’s Higher Education in America, in which she challenged women’s colleges to provide an equal education for women. Millett is perhaps best-known for her landmark work in feminist history, Sexual Politics (1970). She currently serves as the Director of the Millett Center for the Arts, a creative work space that provides artist in residence accommodation and studio facilities to women artists from around the world.

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (1940 – )

For 25 years, Nancy Pelosi has broken ground for women in politics. As the representative from California’s 12th district, Pelosi has focused her political career on strengthening America’s middle class and creating jobs, reforming the political system to create clean campaigns and fair elections, enacting comprehensive immigration reform, and ensuring safety in America’s communities, neighborhoods and schools. In 2002, Pelosi became the first woman to lead a major political party in the United States as the Democratic Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives, and from 2007-2011, she served as the first female Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. Pelosi has spearheaded the passage of historic legislation, including the Affordable Care Act, the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, and more.

Mother Mary Joseph Rogers, MM (1882 – 1955)

A woman of extraordinary vision and drive, Mother Mary Joseph Rogers, MM founded the Maryknoll Sisters, the first United States based Catholic congregation of religious women dedicated to a global mission. While attending Smith College in 1904, Rogers was inspired by graduating Protestant students preparing to leave for missionary work in China, and following her graduation, she returned to Smith and started a mission club for Catholic students (1905). It was while organizing the club that she met Father James A. Walsh, director of Boston’s Office for the Propagation of the Faith, later founder of Maryknoll Fathers & Brothers, through whom she was inspired to establish a mission congregation for women. The Maryknoll Sisters were founded in 1912, and by the time of Rogers’ death in 1955, there were 1,065 sisters working in twenty countries and several cities in the United States.

Emma Hart Willard (1787 – 1870)

During her lifetime, Emma Hart Willard blazed an extraordinary trail on behalf of women’s education. A teacher by trade, Willard opened a girls’ school in her home in 1814 and was struck by the contrast between the education she could offer her female students and the education provided to men at nearby Middlebury College. She crafted A Plan for Improving Female Education, a document in which she advocated equal education for women at the academy level. In 1819, at the encouragement of Governor DeWitt Clinton, Willard opened a school in Waterford, N.Y., which closed shortly afterward due to a lack of funding. Two years later, she founded Troy Female Seminary in Troy, N.Y., (1821), the first school of higher learning for women. The seminary was renamed the Emma Willard School in her honor in 1895.

A Sister’s Support In A latina

breast cancer battle



When you ask an artist what inspires them, they may respond any number of things from family, friends, current events, freedom, the joy of creating and sharing, peace, relaxation, and the list goes on. For Denika Lundy (Mesa), her primary inspiration was in her own body. At age 27, Denika found a lump in her chest. She confirmed shortly thereafter, much to her unfortunate surprise, that she had Stage 2 breast cancer. Pre-diagnosis, Denika’s greatest worries were raising her then four- and 15-month-old sons. Denika knew she had to act fast and make wise decisions as her cancer was growing rapidly. She yearned for support as she struggled to care for her children as she had before. Denika struggled with transportation, child care, and finding support groups. Even mealtime was a struggle. She was alone and could not help but think that her time would come, as she already lost her mother, aunt and grandmother to breast cancer. Living in Florida at the time, she was miles away from her greatest emotional support, her sister in Syracuse. Phone call upon phone call and prayer upon prayer, Denika began chemotherapy treatments and underwent a bilateral mastectomy before receiving news one year later, that her then 27-year-old younger sister, Dory, would undergo the same battle. She had been diagnosed with Stage 1 breast cancer. It was then, that Denika decided to move back to Syracuse to help care for her sister and her niece who was 9 years old at the time. Both Dory and Denika wisely took the time to heal and build strength, before deciding to create change for young minority women and establish 2 Sisters 4 Life, a non-profit organization which strives to educate and empower young men and women on the topic of breast cancer. Sadly, after nine years of surviving breast cancer, Dory was diagnosed


october 2013 :: syracuseWomanMag.com

with a Stage 4 metastatic breast cancer, that had spread to her bones. Dory passed away at age 35 with Denika by her side. Since then Denika has been hard at work to further the 2 Sisters 4 Life mission. As a returning Syracuse City resident, Denika and the members of her board visit local Syracuse City schools to educate the young generations of men and women on how breast cancer can come into their lives, and how to prepare. As breast cancer diagnoses continue to increase, 2 Sisters 4 Life finds that informing young men about breast cancer care is as equally important as informing young women. This is a way of “instilling a strong sense of community connection and wellrounded support base,” according to Denika. Aside from educating the youth and their families, 2 Sisters 4 Life is building a mentorship program, scholarship fund, and resource program, to connect those affected by breast cancer with resources such as transportation, childcare, insurance and even food. Denika, a PEACE Inc. Summer Head Start employee by day, enjoys working closely with families and children, then comes home to her family and pink, Zen style, 2 Sisters 4 Life headquarters. The 2 Sisters 4 Life office, with an aroma of incense, adorned with photos, fliers and notes, makes it impossible, but to help notice the cherished memories, emotions, hard work and direction of the organization. Before closing the interview with Denika, she smiled with delight, commenting how rewarding it all is, giving an example of her recent success with the first 2 Sisters 4 Life Breast Cancer Awareness Walk and Family 5K of this past September. The event is planned to be held annually. “All of the hard work in organizing, obtaining permits, ordering Tshirts, and building participant numbers and funds, was well worth it,” Denika said. “I am looking forward to next year!”






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Six-Year Breast Cancer Warrior


Every year for the past 10 years, Maria Cotton has been on a mission, one that she has completed with a larger team every time. This October, Maria and 20 or more friends and family members will toe the line to make strides. Maria, 60, is a proud six-year breast cancer survivor, but her support for raising awareness and raising funds to help those fighting the same fight has always been her passion. Maria’s maternal aunt passed away during a battle with breast cancer and there was some more history of the disease on her father’s side, too. However, it was some back pain caused by a car accident that brought her in for a doctor’s visit. “What was it that really provoked me to go [to the doctor]?” Maria asked aloud. “I don’t know, but I am blessed.” After one appointment, Maria said the steps ahead became a quick domino-effect. She received a phone call after the pathology was completed and she was advised to bring someone with her to the appointment. “Those are the types of calls that take your breath away.” On Thursday she was having surgery, had attention to her drains on Friday and Monday she was having breast reconstruction surgery. “It was a very scary time, but all three of my doctors were blessings.” Maria expressed her gratitude for her team of doctors because she felt that they supported her and kept her well-informed about her diagnosis. Among these supporters were Dr. Hadley Falk, Dr. Tammy Congelli and Dr. Sheila Lemke. “This journey would have been heart-wrenching without them,” Maria said.

Onward in her journey, Maria said there have been ups and downs. Even though there have been some bumps in the road, Maria said she would not trade this life-changing experience. “I have met some wonderful survivors and supporters and doctors,” Maria said. “And then there are times when I think about the people I have lost to breast cancer.” No matter what, she says there was a reason for everything and she still feels her journey is full of many blessings. On this path, she has been a long-time leader for a Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk team. Maria led her first team in memory of her aunt. But this all changed during her first Making Strides event in Syracuse. “When you’re walking in that sea of pink, it’s humbling. It’s a religious experience,” Maria said. “It changes you.” The annual walk to benefit programs provided by the local chapter of the American Cancer Society, has become a mainstay for Maria long before breast cancer came into her life personally. “You feel like you’re around a family,” she said. “We’re all there fighting the same fight no matter if it’s you or for someone else. We are down there for the same reasons.” The sixth year that Maria would gather her team members it would be her first time walking as a woman diagnosed with breast cancer. Maria’s team wore matching pink tie dye shirts and just planned to participate in the walk as they had for years. (continued on page 48)


“Trust me, I have cried, but I pick up that sword.”




Full of life and laughter and ready to face any challenge head on — in a few words, that’s what Patti Thompson is all about. Without any history of breast cancer in her family, Patti never thought she would receive news of a diagnosis. Everything changed during an annual exam. Patti went to her doctor for her annual mammogram in February of 2006, only to have the mammogram done twice that day. Her doctor took a closer look at her scans and told her it looked like cancer. As a long-time member of the Reynolds Elementary School in Baldwinsville, Patti had a light-hearted spirit. She figured a biopsy would come back negative. Knowing Patti’s laid back attitude all too well, her doctor kindly explained that this was serious. On March 2, on Dr. Seuss’ birthday, Patti was dressed in a “Cat in the Hat” costume for school. “I was hopping around the halls and I get the phone call,” she said. “I have cancer.” Everyone kept telling her she was “very positive for someone who has cancer,” and this caused her to wonder about the approach she had chosen. “The diagnosis didn’t scare me at first,” she said. “I just didn’t get it yet.” However, she didn’t contemplate the approach for too long. “I am a goofball. If I feel nervous, I am more humorous.” Patti’s good heart and true nature are what make her a favorite of the kids at Reynolds. After her lumpectomy, her cancer was Stage 2 and the lab results proved it was more invasive and vascular. Then, Patti entered a study at Hematology-Oncology at Brittonfield. The study for which she qualified for involved six rounds of Paclataxol. The study concluded in August of 2006 and Patti returned to work the following month. “I had radiation right away and I wanted to get back to work.” Patti’s Project Aware program at Reynolds, which focuses on teaching children coping skills, runs half-days in the morning at Reynolds, during which she kicked off “wig parties.” The kids did not mind one bit. Losing her hair became an afterthought. “They seem to do really well with it,” she said. Very few kids were “stunned” by Patti’s new look and many of the kids had a grandparent that had also battled cancer. “It was a very positive thing for them.” “I may have had a funny wig on, but it was still me,” Patti said. While she felt the wigs were necessary as her hair grew back, fifth-grade student Brittany gave her some advice. She told Patti to lose the wig. “I was always itching my head because of the wig,” Patti said. “She asked me, ‘Why don’t you just take that thing off?’” This impacted Patti so much that she came to school the next day without a wig and had her quarter-inch hair exposed. One student commented, “You got a boy haircut,” but that was it. “I was done with my wig.” With a smile on her face and very short hair on her head, Patti was ready to face anything. She was even ready to be there for a fellow cancer warrior, one who will only turn 8 years old this month.


Hally Krolik, a student at Reynold’s, is battling her Wilm’s Tumor diagnosis, a form of children’s kidney cancer. Hally’s spirit and volunteerism was recently highlighted on the cover of Syracuse Parent Magazine’s July cover. october 2013 :: syracuseWomanMag.com

(continued on page 48)


“I went from being a worrier to a warrior.”




After more than 25 years of working in the medical software field, Karen Durso realized there was much more to learn about her own health. “I had been an advocate for family members and their health issues,” said Karen, who was diagnosed with Stage 4 Ductal Carcinoma in situ (DCIS) encapsulated at age 49. “I was so surprised by what I did not know. I was surprised and frightened and soon realized how little I knew. It was a shock.” Since age 27, Karen was sure to be vigilant about her mammograms and annual exams because of her fibrocystic breasts. She was most surprised by her breast cancer diagnosis because of how she felt in general. “I was young, healthy and vibrant.” Because the road ahead was unknown to Karen, she started to research her diagnosis. “I feel like you hear about people getting breast cancer and it’s all doom and gloom,” she said. “I didn’t know what this was.” Fortunately, Karen was already familiar with a woman has long been an advocate for breast cancer awareness and resources in the Central New York community — Susan Bertrand. Susan is the founder of Maureen’s Hope, an organization created in memory of Susan’s sister Maureen to empower and encourage people facing an illness by offering a variety of programs that offer hope, inspiration and education to patients. Because of Karen’s sister and her volunteer work with Maureen’s Hope, she has known Susan for more than 10 years. Karen reached out to Susan for support. Who could she talk to about something so new to her? “Susan gave me some good books and I had good physicians to lean on,” Karen said. “Also, I had my friends to lean on for support.” Outside of her circle of friends, Karen was positively affected by other women fighting breast cancer. “I was able to talk to other women about my options and whether or not I would have radiation or go through with a mastectomy.” Karen ultimately had a double bilateral mastectomy based on her knowledge of her cancer’s likelihood to reoccur. Because she was fortunate enough to receive advice from other breast cancer survivors, Karen has been sure to share her experiences, too. “It put me at ease,” Karen said. “Talking to other women took away the unknowns.” Whether a conversation was one-on-one or with a small group of friends, she knew it was helping her fight her battle. Now, Karen thoroughly recommends that any woman diagnosed with breast cancer (or any type of cancer) talk to others who also are experiencing it. Since support groups can be intimidating for some people, Karen said that finding that one person or small group of people to talk to can mean a world of difference. Karen says she was grateful to receive an “outpouring of support” from her friends and family, and also her co-workers. “They gave me courage.” Prior to her diagnosis, Karen participated in the American Cancer Society’s annual walk, Making Strides Against Breast Cancer and (continued on page 48)

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“It was mind-blowing to see the progress of fundraising,” Maria said. For the team’s first year, $580 was raised. However, as years went on and the reason to walk became more personal, Maria’s team donation grew. Last year, nearly $5,000 was raised and Maria is looking to have her team surpass the $7,000 mark for the 2013 walk to take place on Oct. 20 in Syracuse’s Clinton Square.

Sure enough, Patti and Hally formed a bond, but not solely based on the level of having cancer. Each of them looks at the brighter side of life.

the Susan G. Komen Race For the Cure. This year marked her sixth year of participation and she says her “team is still growing.” With her cousin’s recent diagnosis, Karen knows now, more than ever, that sharing information and raising awareness is very important. “I had wonderful resources,” she said. “I just want to help take away their fear.”




Besides her own fight and the shared fight with other survivors and supporters, Maria says there’s much to motivate her walk effort for years to come. “The American Cancer Society is an amazing organization,” she said. “They maintain relationships and you feel like you’ve known them forever.” Now, as a survivor having utilized the organization’s services, Maria said she is glad she can give back. “I feel very fortunate. I know I keep saying it, but I feel very blessed.” Maria’s hard work and fundraising efforts have not gone unnoticed by the American Cancer Society. This year Maria was chosen to be a Community Ambassador because of her outstanding fundraising efforts. More importantly, it is her “positive attitude and warm spirit” that earn her this new accolade.“ Maria always has a hug, a word of encouragement and a grateful energy around her that inspires other to want to make a difference like she has,” said Betsy Guilfoil, Director of Special Events for the Eastern Division of the American Cancer Society.


“She is bright and so talented,” said Patti about the young Hally. “Attitude is everything and laughter and humor gets you through a lot of things.” The two have become accustomed to sharing stories about treatments or their counts. “I hope I have helped her,” Patti said. Hally was able to attend her first day of school this year although she had been enduring chemotherapy treatments since March. “No one who was sick could be around her and we only exchanged a quick hug before she would be gone the next week for more treatment.” That “first day” meant the world to Hally. “She will not let this take her down.” Their similar personalities and warrior status brought the two together once again for this feature’s photo shoot. With Hally in mind, Patti expressed her thoughts on the cancer battle. “If a strong person doesn’t cry, they shed a tear for a moment, pick up their sword and continue to fight,” she said. “I’ve had my sad moments over the past five years. Trust me, I have cried, but I pick up that sword.”


For now, Karen continues to see her oncologist on a quarterly basis and her surgeons for a biannual exam. “It’s ongoing and it’s a part of my healthcare regimen. I don’t have fear anymore.” Karen said. “I’ve had some scares over the last nine to 10 months. I beat it once and whatever it is, I can fight it.” Karen’s battle also heightened her sister’s awareness of the disease. Family members have even begun having early conversations about the possible use of genetic testing for more conclusive results. For more than 28 months, Karen has reflected on her battle and why it happened. “I eliminated stress in my job and I am thrilled to be where I am today, professionally and personally.” The diagnosis made her realize that she needed to, at times, put herself first and pay attention to her body. Her focus is on her upcoming challenges since she has already overcome her diagnosis. “Overcoming our challenges makes life meaningful,” Karen said. “I was very much a worrier… I went from being a worrier to a warrior.”

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Empowering young girls’ financial futures COURTESY OF THE GIRL SCOUTS OF NYPENN PATHWAYS

The American dream is alive and well among girls, according to the Girl Scout Research Institute. Its new report reveals that girls feel optimistic about their financial futures, yet are not fully knowledgeable about essential financial principles and instruments, such as credit card usage and the establishment of good credit. Only 12 percent of the girls surveyed say they feel confident making financial decisions. “The research that comes out of this study tells us that girls know how important it is to be financially literate,” said Pam Hyland, CEO of the Girl Scouts of NYPENN Pathways Inc. “It also shows us that we need to be more proactive in providing programming for girls to gain the confidence they need to become financially independent and responsible citizens.” The study, Having It All: Girls and Financial Literacy, comes out during a time of continued economic uncertainty. The country’s recovery from the 2009 recession has been marked by slow economic growth and high unemployment, as well as increasing concern over the cost of a college education and the unprecedented levels of student loan indebtedness. The study, which surveyed 1,040 girls ages 8 to 17, found that girls are averse to debt. However, in order to avoid debt, these girls say they need more education about how credit works. In fact, nearly 4 in 10 girls say they don’t know how to use a credit card, only 38 percent know what a credit score is, and just 37 percent know how credit card interest and fees work. Not surprisingly, a vast majority of the girls surveyed (90 percent) say it is important for them to learn how to manage their money. Despite the recession and economic uncertainty, girls are bullish about their financial futures. Some 88 percent say they are likely to make more money than their parents, and nearly all girls say it is likely they will have jobs or careers they enjoy (98 percent), be able to provide for their

families (96 percent) and one day own their own homes (95 percent). The girls of this generation are financially empowered and independent. A great majority of them feel gender is no barrier to what they can accomplish financially, and they envision a future family structure where they are fully engaged in financial decision making and planning. When it comes to financial capability, 7 in 10 girls say both men and women are equally likely to be financially responsible (73 percent) or in a lot of debt (72 percent). “Our Girl Scouting program offers girls an opportunity to learn these skills and become more financially literate,” Hyland said. “Our programs give girls the skills they need to succeed in life and the confidence they need to know they are making the right financial decisions.” Girl Scouts offers a financial empowerment program that ensures girls have the opportunities to build their business sense and hone their financial literacy skills. Girls build on these skills as they progress through the K-12 curriculum to become knowledgeable, confident and self-reliant participants in a global economy. Whether a girl is working to earn the Financing My Future badge or the Money Manager badge, she is developing financial savvy, business skills and innovative thinking. Girl Scouts is the premiere leadership development program for girls. Girl Scouts of NYPENN Pathways, Inc. serves nearly 18,000 girls in 26 counties of New York and Pennsylvania. Founded in 1912, Girl Scouts is the leading authority on girls’ healthy development and builds girls of courage, confidence and character, who make the world a better place. Visit HYPERLINK “http:// www.gsnypenn.org” www.gsnypenn.org or call the Cicero Service Center at (315) 698-9400. To read the entire study, visit www.girlscouts.org/research/ publications/financial_literacy/ for more insight.

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Nina Davuluri... from Miss Syracuse to Miss America

SWM congratulates the ‘girl next door’ & highlights her message

BY FARAH F. JADRAN I PHOTOS BY MISS AMERICA ORGANIZATION & RICK POLICASTRO We all have goals and aspirations. At times these ideas may be construed as “dreams” depending on the magnitude. For Fayetteville’s very own Nina Davuluri, 24, becoming Miss America was not just a dream. It’s now reality. But, most importantly, it was her destiny. Our magazine staff and I have the pleasure of knowing such an accomplished woman in our community. Nina’s platform, Celebrating Diversity Through Cultural Competency, was meant for the world to witness. After speaking with her a few times, I could tell that she was different than any other person I knew or heard was in the running to become the next Miss America. Nina did not appear different to me for any other reason than the fact that she was genuine (which is hard to come by these days) and she is true to her beliefs. “I truly believe that it is our understanding of diversity and cultures that unifies us,” said Nina. While Nina, is in fact, the first Miss America of Indian descent, it has become clear that it is not her ethnic background that defines her — it’s her intelligence and positive message of unity. Thirty years ago to the date, Sept. 15, that Nina was crowned Miss America — Vanessa Williams, too, received the same honor. Williams was not only a former Miss Syracuse and Miss New York like Nina, but she broke the barrier of becoming the first African American Miss America. Their shared titles and shared “firsts” made me realize that it has been 30 years since Williams’ big win in diversity, and we, as a


october 2013 :: syracuseWomanMag.com

nation, are sadly still far behind in being culturally competent. During Nina’s crowing, Twitter was flooded with racist comments including incorrect references to her ethnic background and nationality and many more that are not even worth describing. As an American woman myself, who was born first generation to parents from Afghanistan and Mexico, I know firsthand that there are people who are quick to make assumptions based on this type of information. Where you were born and where your family comes from are two different things. And whether you were born here in America or are working on becoming a citizen, it shouldn’t matter. I have always believed that if you are contributing to the place you are living, then you are a part of what makes that part of the world go round. It should end there, but it often doesn’t. The fact that our country is rich in culture thanks to a wide variety of ethnic backgrounds should be something that we celebrate, not something that we discriminate against. Our individual cultural backgrounds are what make us into the people we are today. It’s what makes us unique in making this country what it is now and what it will be in the future. Watching Nina receive the title of Miss America brought great pride to her hometown here in Syracuse. We at Syracuse Woman Magazine could not be more proud of her for representing our city, the state of New York and now, our nation. As far as we are concerned, if America wants a “girl next door” as Miss America, they have one. “I have always viewed Miss America as the girl next door,” said Davuluri in a recent CNN interview. “But the girl next door is evolving, as the diversity of America evolves. She’s not who she was 10 years ago, and she’s not going to be the same person come 10 years down the road.” Syracuse Woman Magazine would like to personally congratulate Nina Davuluri on her titles of Miss Syracuse, Miss New York and Miss America, but also her achievements in executing her much-needed platform in Celebrating Diversity Through Cultural Competency. Also, congratulations to the Davuluri Family, of Fayetteville, we know you must be proud…we are, too!

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feature ::special

Being a strong family –

When kids have cancer

BY FARAH F. JADRAN “Being a cancer parent…you carry a lot of raw emotion,” said Tracy Licamele, mother to Connor, a cancer survivor. “When a parent hears those words — ‘Your child has cancer’ — you’re left in a fog.” When Tracy’s son Connor was 4-and-a-half years old, he was diagnosed with cancerous tumor on the kidney, Wilms tumor. It accounts for 6 to 7 percent of all childhood cancers and is more common in children under the age of seven. Wilms tumor can spread to other areas of the body, so early diagnosis and treatment is paramount. “I can’t stress enough how Connor was just your average little boy, playing hard, enjoying all those little moments of life as a child does, he wasn’t sick at all, nothing out of the ordinary anyway,” Tracy said. And so quickly — everything changed. “He left the hospital after 11 very long days with 1 less kidney and a cancer diagnosis,” she said. Not only did Connor’s life change, but the family’s life changed too. Everyday tasks became a struggle and then their need for a support system grew. Tracy said the harsh truths of childhood cancer also became clear. “People need to know that every day, 7 to 10 children die from some form of cancer,” Tracy said. She soon realized that not one moment can be taken for granted.

would flood with tears — tears she would hide from him. “I will never forget those moments,” Tracy said. “Does he remember it like I do? Maybe not. Did it change his childhood and his innocence? Absolutely.” Awareness Each year, September marks Childhood Cancer Awareness month, the one month Tracy describes as an important month for all families. However, every day is a needed day for raising awareness. “We try to spread our awareness…shout it from the rooftops,” she said. “Every day in September I put a fact or statistic on my Facebook page, but it needs to go further than that.” Last month, Tracy said some local business participated in childhood cancer such as St. Baldrick’s, Alex’s Lemonade Stand and Denny’s Restaurant has Cookies for Cancer. The awareness color is gold, which is why Tracy encourages people touched by childhood cancer to wear gold ribbons or use it in their profile photos on Facebook and Twitter.

“I am lucky to have Connor with me, I have met so many other parents that aren’t lucky, and that makes me sad,” she said. “I can’t stress enough that people need to be educated on childhood cancer.” Tracy said that awareness is growing and more so, she had found a strong source of support through a local group called Cancer Parents. The group has a private Facebook page so parents can share information, comments and photos. The page currently has 79 members, according to Tracy. “I get sad when someone new joins because I know that their life was just turned upside down, but I am so glad that they have this group.” Many parents and children have created bonds thanks to the Facebook page and organized meetings. For Connor, going to the hospital for treatment was a battle.

“It has to go beyond the parents,” she said. “We need more to advocate and make others aware.”

“I had to personally chase Connor every single time we had to go to the hospital for chemotherapy,” Tracy said. “All the way to clinic he would beg me to turn around and go home, saying he will do anything if I just turn around.” Connor would beg again when it was time to access his port for chemotherapy. He would ask his mother why she would let someone do this to him. But what could she say? Her eyes

“People should see every aspect of it,” she said. “You will see and hear kids, babies, young adults crying, some screaming or playing video games while getting chemo, blood or platelets. Most of all you will get to see someone like Connor off treatment and it is my hope that you will see hope.”


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Most of all, Tracy says she wants everyone in the community to get a better understanding of childhood cancer. Even if your child is in remission, the fight is not over, she says. “I wish that everyone could visit or take a walk through a pediatric cancer hospital or clinic,” Tracy said. In her efforts, and her fellow Cancer Parents’ efforts, they hope to shine light on childhood cancer and to share the strength, courage and bravery these kids possess.

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I remember that day - the day I found out. I was devastated and terrified. Thoughts of my children started racing through my head. “I can’t let them all down. I’ve got to fight!” HOA seemed to know everything I was feeling. When my doctors laid out my treatment plan in terms I could understand, I felt more determined with every word. I was amazed that HOA had treatments unavailable anywhere else in all of upstate NY! Your confidence, experience and inspirational outlook gave me such courage. Now here I am a year later, contemplating my daughter’s graduation and our upcoming family vacation. I had cancer, but because of HOA, cancer never had me.






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SWM’s Events 2013 MAKING STRIDES AGAINST BREAST CANCER KICK-OFF BREAKFAST Survivors, volunteers and team members of the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer movement gathered in late August to kick off the festivities for this year’s walk event. The Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk will take place on Oct. 20 in Clinton Square, Syracuse. To register yourself or a team, visit makingstrides.acsevents.org and type in “Syracuse” for this event’s location. Syracuse Woman Magazine is proud to be the event’s exclusive women’s magazine sponsor. SECOND ANNUAL NEDA WALK Many community members walked and donated to the 2nd Annual NEDA Walk to benefit Ophelia’s Place. We had a great time meeting with all the attendees at Longbranch Park. Jenni Schaefer, a nationally known author, helped kick-off the walk and shared her music along with her story. A portion of the proceeds benefited Ophelia’s Place — a local non-profit organization committed to empowering people to redefine beauty and health. NATIONAL WEAR TEAL DAY September is National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month and Friday, Sept. 6, marked National Wear Teal Day. Frieda Weeks, director of Hope For Heather Ovarian Cancer Awareness of CNY, lead many Wear Teal gatherings throughout Syracuse and surrounding. Continuing the awareness mission for the month, Hope For Heather hosted its annual Teal Ribbon Run/Walk on Sept. 29 at the Inner Harbor in Syracuse. Syracuse Woman Magazine Editor Farah F. Jadran is the media spokeswoman for Hope For Heather.


october 2013 SHOP, SPA & STYLE






WHEN: 5 PM WHERE: The Landmark Theatre, Syracuse WHAT: A fashion show featuring survivors to benefit the Carol M. Baldwin Breast Cancer Research Fund Inc. WHEN: 7:30 PM WHERE: The Oncenter, Syracuse WHAT: Collaboration of local designers’ talent and a highlight of high fashion and international design. WHEN: 8 AM WHERE: Manley Field House, Syracuse University area WHAT: A 15K run and a 5K run and walk to benefit the Carol M. Baldwin Breast Cancer Research Fund Inc. WHEN: 10 AM WHERE: Clinton Square, Syracuse WHAT: Celebration and Walk for breast cancer survivors and those who have passed away, which benefits the American Cancer Society. WHEN: 9:30 Am to 1:30 PM WHERE: Holiday Inn Convention Center, Liverpool WHAT: Annual luncheon to celebrate the Go Red For Women Syracuse campaign, which raises awareness for heart disease in women via the American Heart Association. TICKETS: www.heart.org/SyracuseGoRed; 315.234.4752



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