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October C O N T E N T S

Letter from the Editor.............................................................. 6

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Past SWM Events...................................................................... 7 Fashion Forward: Look Good, Feel Good............................ 8 Platter Chatter: Peaks Coffee Company............................ 10

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WBOC Leading Woman: Linda Gilmore............................ 15 CNY Latina: Rita Paniagua .................................................. 18 Special Section: The Busy Woman’s Guide ...................... 20 Special Feature: Burnout...................................................... 20

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Making Dollars and Sense: The Sandwich Generation.... 21 Health: Know Your Body....................................................... 22 Special Feature: How to Live While You’re Sick................ 23

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Cover Story: Shelly Straub.................................................... 27 For a Good Cause: Salon Bellezza...................................... 33 Special Feature: Frightmare Farms..................................... 36 Inspire: Patti Lyman............................................................... 42

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Inspire: Michelle Wilkinson and Denise Fachtmann......... 48 Upcoming Events.................................................................. 52

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15 The Pink Edition


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LETTER from the Editor

“Y

ou like hiking, right?” my co-worker Linda asked me back in June. “Want to do a charity hike with me?” “Sure! Why not?” I replied, not knowing that a few months later, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s Xtreme Hike would change my life. The summer came and went, and before I knew it, it was Friday, Aug. 27 and I was driving up to Lake Placid. I arrived and unpacked, had dinner with the group, learned what to do in case of a bear sighting (spoiler: I didn’t have to utilize my new knowledge) and went to bed early. The next day was the most beautiful, intense, amazing, terrifying, and empowering 12 hours I’ve ever experienced. Our group of 10 hikers and two incredibly patient guides spent the day traipsing through mud, scrambling up ladders and trekking across miles of terrain. As we progressed from safe, familiar, flat ground to boulders to severely-inclined slabs of rock, I was quietly and secretly amazed by the fact that I’d kept going. Usually when I get scared or nervous, fight or flight kicks in, and I scamper. Then we reached the difficult part. Moments after I’d been assured “the hardest part’s behind you now,” I came face-to-face with a HUGE slab of nearly vertical rock, towering above me at about three or four times my height. There was one crack running down the middle of the monstrous rock face. I just stood there, flabbergasted. “…I don’t think I know how to do this,” I told my hiking mates after a long pause. But obviously, I had to do it. There wasn’t a path around it. I wasn’t about to turn around. The only way was up. So another hiker scrambled up the rock, found good footing and held his hiking pole down to me. With the help of a group of experienced hikers passing through, I managed to get halfway up, so my hand could actually make contact with the pole. There I was, grasping a vertical rock face for what felt like dear life, and wondering why oh why had I gotten myself into this? I don’t climb! I don’t venture from my comfort zone! I don’t do adventure! But then I did some yoga breathing, put my faith in the people around me and muttered a mantra to myself: “I can do this.” And then I did. When I stopped hyperventilating and actually turned around to see the expansively impressive landscape of the Adirondack Mountains in front of me, tears came to my eyes. In that one day, I overcame so much. And there’s absolutely no way I could have done it without the group of people who came together that day, united for a cause. In our case, the cause was less well-known than some. But every cause, large or small, matters and needs our attention. We need to continue to fight for all cures. We need to help all people in crisis. That’s what cover woman Shelly Straub’s nonprofit Hope Chest for Charity aims to do. While Shelly’s personal fight was against stage 4 breast cancer, she founded the organization to give back and pay it forward to the community that helped her through her struggles. So not just during this month of pink, but throughout the year, please remember that we can and will find a cure. More accurately, we’ll find all the cures. It’s just a journey that we need to take together.

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Lorna

On our cover: Hope Chest for Charity founder, author and survivor Shelly Straub was photographed by Alice G. Patterson in Alice’s Baldwinsville studio. Special thanks to Jillain Pastella Salomone, owner of J. Luxe Salon, for Shelly’s makeup styling.

OUR TEAM Publisher

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS

Editor

Nicole Christina Samantha Colton Alison Grimes Leslie J. Kohman Kate D. Mahoney Lorna Oppedisano Colette Powers Gabrielle Reagan Ann Marie Stonecypher

David Tyler

Lorna Oppedisano

Design

Andrea Reeves

Photography Alexis Emm Enfoque Images Sara Felice Ana Gil-Taylor Steven J. Pallone Alice G. Patterson Natalia Russo

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PAST SWM Events

On Saturday, Aug. 27, SWM’s Lorna and Linda took an epic adventure to the peak of Mount Holden in the Adirondacks with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s Xtreme Hike. We celebrated women in music with the Rock Like a Girl concert on Sunday, Sept. 11. Special thanks to Lana Stafford, Malvinas, Bea Talplacido, Jess Novak, Mark Nanni, Melissa Gardiner, Jessica Brown, Billy Harrison and Riley Mahan for performing; Peaks Coffee Company, Chef4Rent, Bryony Grealish and Phoebe’s Restaurant & Coffee Lounge for providing refreshments;

House of S. Jaye for hosting us; Cole Oppedisano for sound production; and Alexis Emm Photograffi for capturing the moments. Thanks to everyone who bought raffle tickets or donated money at the door; the event raised $227 for Hope Chest for Charity. On Wednesday, Sept. 7, we reconvened with WBOC for the first annual meeting of the year. WBOC event photography courtesy Enfoque Images.

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FASHION FORWARD Look Good, Feel Good

Make Your Perception Reality By Ann Marie Stonecypher

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ver wonder why you feel better when you look better? There’s a link between looking good and feeling good. If you doubt me, think about your last really bad hair day, and tell me it didn’t affect your psyche. Conversely, remember that great new pair of shoes, and how they made you feel like Queen of the World? OK, maybe it’s just me with the shoes… but you get my point. This theory also applies to life stresses, including medical diagnoses, that can affect your appearance. When — thanks to side effects from steroids, chemotherapy or medications — even the scale at your oncologist’s office is a scary machine, you understand how appearance can adversely influence your mood. I know all of this firsthand, as I’ve been in treatment for my second bout of cancer for more than three years now. Most people I come across have no idea. I’ve seen the bad and the ugly of this disease, personally and with far too many friends. I work hard to make sure it’s background noise in my life, and often that starts with looking in the mirror, and trying to look like the best version of myself. While I have the perfect excuse for not sprucing myself up at least a little every day, I know it makes me feel better when I do. Even if that simply means just some lipstick and a couple swipes of mascara, I feel I’m projecting that positive energy to those around me; as simple as it sounds, you do have the power to control how you feel. Sometimes that power can come in the form of a fabulous pair of shoes, a sassy new dress or a shiny new tube of lipstick. In April, I was honored to participate in an extraordinary fashion show featuring breast cancer survivors as models. Everyone was professionally primped and fussed over and made to feel fabulous. They all felt empowered and beautiful, and it was ultimately reflected in the smiles of every warrior model on the runway.

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Even though backstage we were still comparing medications and therapies, when each woman got out of the stylist’s chair, it was all about how beautiful everyone looked and felt. The experience and smiles were transformative. The show was beyond inspirational. Many in the audience openly wept, not just because cancer is heartbreaking, but because as the emcee was telling these amazing women’s stories, they were walking the runway with power, fortitude and true beauty. I’ve done more fashion shows in my 35-plus-year modeling career than I can remember, but I’ll never forget this one. The bottom line is perception can be reality, but that is for you alone to decide. If you like what you see in the mirror, then go forth and conquer! For me, lipstick is like a magic wand that can transform you from pasty to powerful; I feel it, therefore it is so. Find your own magic wand, the thing that makes you feel your own fabulous. Maybe it’s the exercise bike, your post-chemo wig, a mani-pedi or a day of YouTube make-up tutorials with your BFF. Fabulousness is in the eye of the beholder, and it can be contagious… so pass it on. SWM Ann Marie Stonecypher is an award-winning business woman and the owner of AMS Models & Talent. She is also a stylist, inspirational speaker, two-time breast cancer survivor and freelance writer. She lives in the Syracuse area with her children Taylor and Steven, and her dog Cocoa. If you have any style questions or comments, email Ann Marie at info@amsmodels.com. In the photos: The Reclamation Runway Show, created by Stupid Dumb Breast Cancer’s Ann Marie Otis, closed this past spring’s Syracuse Fashion Week 2016. Breast cancer survivor models Leanne Crissy and Maureen Tissier were photographed by Natalia Russo Photography. Group shot courtesy of Ana Gil-Taylor Photography.

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PLATTER CHATTER Peaks Coffee Company

PEAKS COFFEE COMPANY

Photography by Steven J. Pallone

SAM BENDER AND KELSEY BALL, CO-OWNERS

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PEAKS COFFEE COMPANY

Coffee Love By Gabrielle Reagan

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t’s no doubt serendipitous that Kelsey Ball and Sam Bender’s That terrible cup of coffee sparked something though: the desire relationship began with a single cup of coffee. to create the best cup of coffee. On a night while Kelsey diligently worked her way through After roasting on a rotisserie attachment Kelsey’s father bought closing duties at a local Starbucks, Sam sat quietly across the room for their grill — with Sam standing outside in 20-below weather working up the courage necessary to slip the beautiful blonde his hand cranking — the two started receiving positive feedback. number. So they purchased a cast-iron roaster built in 1913, an item that “Before he left, he walked over and gave me his number, and then helped Sam learn how to craft-roast coffee, the opposite of modernimmediately tripped over the trashcan,” Kelsey recalled, giggling. day computerized roasting. “I pretended not to see, but truthfully, it was pretty funny.” “He would have notebooks and be scribbling down temperatures Now two years later, Kelsey and Sam and times,” Kelsey said. “He would know by proudly co-own Peaks Coffee Company, the way it smells and hearing it crack.” a humble micro-roaster based in Cazenovia. This obsession with quality, experimentWe’re just figuring it out. Open seven days a week, Peaks offers a ation and sustainability helps Peaks stand We must be doing something apart from its competition. From bean variety of single-origin and direct-trade coffee from producers in Ethiopia, Brazil, to cup, Peaks’ coffee is roasted fresh, right.” —Kelsey Ball, Peaks cupped for quality and packaged to order. Columbia and Nicaragua. Coffee Company co-owner Choose from a variety of single-origin The couple named the cafe as a nod to the many peaks in life; they noted that in light and medium roasts, unique blends or turn, a friend and a great cup of coffee are decaf. Maybe the Trailblazer, a blend of the perfect remedy for its valleys. Brazil and Sumatra, profiling deep, dark chocolate and pipe No stranger to life’s bottoms, Kelsey experienced a severe bout tobacco; or try the Mountain Climber, their signature espresso of anxiety and depression halfway through her senior year of high blend with a balance of chocolate and citrus. Peaks also features school, one that left her no choice but to begin home schooling. Kilogram tea and sells a variety of CHEMEX and Hario products In learning to appreciate herself and take control of her life, for preparing the perfect cup of coffee at home. Kelsey began driving to local coffee shops in hopes of overcoming The young couple still at times can’t believe their success. They supply coffee for Soleil Café in Fayetteville, Plate and Pallet her anxiety and finding comfort outside the house. in Morrisville, and Flour & Salt, a new bakery in Hamilton. “I’d leave with the intention of sitting somewhere for at least 10 minutes, and then I could leave,” Kelsey said. “And I’d slowly Even Colgate University wants in on the beans. In the future, they aim to find a larger roaster and space for production, but plan build up, and eventually I could sit at a coffee shop for hours. It became a safe place.” to keep the welcoming and homey current cafe space. When Kelsey mentioned her desire to open her own coffee “We make the joke that we have no idea what we’re doing,” shop, Sam was all in. Kelsey said, “but it’s really not a joke; we’re just figuring it out. We must be doing something right.” SWM During a bitter cold winter in 2014, Sam bought his first package of green coffee online, and the two roasted their first Peaks Coffee Company is located at 3264 Highway 20 in Cazenovia. coffee in a snowy backyard on a cast-iron skillet. Hours are 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday; “It was hands down the worst coffee,” Sam said. “Definitely some 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. For more information, call 565-1900 or email of the worst coffee I’ve ever tasted.” Hello@PeaksCoffeeCo.com.

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The Power of Conscious Change

WBOC LEADING WOMAN Linda Gilmore

By Gabrielle Reagan

Photography by Alice G. Patterson

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n the corner of Linda Gilmore’s office sits a tiny metal wastebasket. Filled almost to the brim, its contents include pack after pack of every cigarette brand imaginable — some half empty, others untouched inside thin plastic packaging — all happily tossed away by clients at Balanced Life Hypnosis. Growing up in East Brunswick, N.J., Linda never imagined she’d be professionally guiding people into deeper states of consciousness. In 2001, Linda had been working as a software developer and business analyst. She decided to take a few days and join a friend on a business trip to Orlando. He was a psychotherapist attending a workshop and she a tourist soaking up sun. Halfway through the workshop, Linda was invited to join. In a few short days, her whole life changed. “I met people who were really passionate about what they did, which had really been missing from my own work,” Linda said. “So I hung around, even though it seemed like all they were doing was saying words and snapping their fingers.” Now a certified hypnotist and owner of Balanced Life Hypnosis in Liverpool, Linda hardly ever snaps her fingers in the office. But in the last four years, she’s used a blend of hypnosis and coaching to help clients lose weight, manage pain, eliminate fears, battle anxiety, boost self-esteem and quit smoking (hence the wastebasket). In turn, she’s discovered a new passion: being a conduit for change. “When you use hypnosis for change, it helps take the struggle out of change,” Linda said. “And I believe when people truly understand it, they can work alongside it better.” Hypnosis is the bypass of the critical faculty of the conscious mind, along with the acceptance of suggestion by the subconscious mind. What? OK, here’s what hypnosis actually entails: when we are fully alert and awake, we are in a beta state, and our brainwaves are running about as fast as possible. However, when the brainwaves slow down just a little — like during a daydream — the brain enters what’s called alpha, or a light state of hypnosis. Slow the brainwaves down even more, and that’s delta, more commonly known as sleep. Every time a person falls asleep, they are actually experiencing a deep state of hypnosis. Hypnosis is comparable to meditation; the difference is that with hypnosis, the subconscious mind is met with suggestion, and therefore potential change. While hypnosis has had a bit of a revival, it’s still considered somewhat controversial and has its fair share of misconceptions: hypnosis is mind control; hypnosis only works for weight loss or smoking; hypnosis is embarrassing. They can all lead people to misjudge Linda and her work, she explained.

When you use hypnosis for change, it helps take the struggle out of change.”—Linda Gilmore, Balanced Life Hypnosis owner “I talk to people when I do vendor events, but some people just look at my sign, then look at me, roll their eyes and walk away — which is too bad, because maybe they could benefit,” Linda said. “Actually, I think everybody could benefit from hypnosis, because most people want to make some sort of a change in their life.” Upon agreeing to meet for hypnosis, Linda asks questions over the phone and in person to better gauge exactly what each client needs. She’s calm and warm. She explains beforehand how hypnosis works and what to expect during the process. She’s adamant that hypnosis is simply a cue for change in a completely natural bodily state. It’s nothing you haven’t felt before. On day one, she teaches all of her clients a three-part self-hypnosis exercise. It’s an important tool for self-support, an area Linda feels strongly about. “They come in with a problem, and I want them to tell me what the solution is,” Linda said. “That’s a lot of what you’ll hear in hypnosis: a solution that matches you best.” SWM Linda Gilmore is a National Guild of Hypnotists-certified hypnotist, instructor and coach with Balanced Life Hypnosis, 324 First St., Liverpool. For more information on Linda or hypnosis therapy, call 254-0580 or visit BalancedLifeHypnosis.com. Makeup courtesy Stefanie Kelly of C.W. Gorgeous.

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CNY LATINA Rita Paniagua

Leadership in America By Alison Grimes

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I really love what I do. It’s a labor of love.””—Rita Paniagua, Spanish Action League executive director

Photos provided by CNY Latino

eaders have natural instinct and drive to turn initiative into action. These people are encouraged, praised and admired for their traits of tenacity and patience. Their tireless vision, positivism and flexibility — paired with strong communication skills, confidence and responsibilities — result in individuals who stand out and lead their communities. This all rings true for current executive director of the Spanish Action League, Rita Paniagua. But, like many leaders, when she left her birthplace and first home of San Juan, Puerto Rico, in 2002 and started her journey, she didn’t anticipate that her future would offer a number of leadership roles that would greatly impact the lives of many in Syracuse. In many ways, Rita was a born leader. At 15 years old, she was already working for her father’s professional baseball team, the Santurce Crabbers, in San Juan. She held sales and marketing positions for the team, before becoming vice president of operations. Rita also utilized her talents to run a classic and jazz dance school on the side. Then in 2002, Rita took a trip to Syracuse that changed her life. She traveled with the intention of visiting her sister Tere and her family; she had no plans for a lengthy or permanent stay. Regardless, Rita wanted her time to be spent productively, so she volunteered at the Spanish Action League, assisting with filing and used her operations experience to lay the groundwork for a functioning administrative system. Soon after, Rita returned home for her son’s high school graduation, only to be pulled back to Syracuse in 2003, when she was offered the position of the Spanish Action League’s grant coordinator. She rose through the ranks quickly, taking the position of assistant director in 2004, and then her current role as executive director in 2007. Looking back at her leadership roles, Rita reflects: “I never thought that I would build a life in Syracuse.” But things seemed to come together for Rita in 2007 when she accepted the role of executive director. She bought her first car in Syracuse, and focused on the visibility and inclusion of the Spanish Action League. She also ran for public office and won, becoming the third Latina elected as a commissioner of education for the Syracuse City School District. Today, Rita has dedicated more than 14 years to building the Spanish Action League. She raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for its employment and housing programs and services. “I really love what I do. It’s a labor of love,” Rita said. “Our mission is to build people.” Rita focuses on employment and housing first and foremost, followed by health, nutrition and education. “To work in something like this, you have to have a heart and patience — loads of it,” she explained. Rita’s work has shown her Syracuse’s rich diversity. The community at large may or may not understand the depth of this diversity, but she has faith in the long-standing change that’s taken place over the years, and that is still yet to come.

A true leader, Rita looks forward to the work ahead. On a personal level, she looks forward to welcoming her son and daughter-in-law to her new home in Syracuse, with their newborn child and two German shepherds. “I’m here to stay,” Rita said with a smile and chuckle. SWM This article was provided by the CNY Latino newspaper, the only Hispanicoriented publication in Central New York. The Spanish version of this article can be read in the October edition of CNY Latino, in both the traditional paper version and the digital format at cnylatinonewspaper.com.

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the busy woman’s guide SPECIAL FEATURE: BURNOUT

The New Walking Dead

In this three-part series, we will explore burnout, especially as it relates to women, and discuss the importance of taking steps to counteract its negative effects.

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urnout is this generation’s dirty little secret. It’s exacerbated by the explosion of technology, the economy and the expansion of women’s roles. It’s stress that’s gone way too far, and morphed into something more pervasive and concerning. Since at least 75 percent of chronic illness is stress-related, burnout demands to be taken seriously. It’s different from feeling sad or cranky. Instead, you might feel some combination of apathy, irritability, poor sleep, lack of motivation, feelings of cynicism and negativity, helplessness and disillusionment. Life centers around your “to do” list, and pleasure isn’t on it. Your spark is gone, and it feels like you’re just going through the motions. No amount of coffee makes you feel alive. Things that used to bring you joy — watching your kid make a goal in soccer, strolling the aisles at the farmer’s market, being romantic with your partner — just feel… meh. With the suicide rate at the highest it’s been in 30 years, burnout and its accompanying feelings of helplessness and negativity are a legitimate public health concern. Who are most at risk for burnout? Caretakers and human service providers are, and most of them are women. The good news for women is that at no time in our history have we had so many choices. But here’s the downside: we’ve been sold a bill of goods that having a career and a family are entirely doable with a little organization, like making lunches the night before, as a self-help website aimed at working mothers might suggest. But who knows a woman who isn’t “crazy busy” and feeling run ragged most of the time? The problem with having so many choices is that it’s incredibly hard for two working parents to run a household and raise children without losing their minds. And the twocareer family is a necessity in these economic times. Worse yet: we think it’s our fault that we’re struggling.

No end in sight

One of my friends, a single mom of two girls, makes what is essentially an Excel spreadsheet to track her daughters’ school activities. A colleague of mine remarked that she feels like her life is spent processing and responding one request after another, from emails to junk mail to voicemails to Facebook friends requests. And there’s never an end to it. Our human brains cannot keep up with the onslaught of incoming demands. And our email inbox grows exponentially each day. 20

When we’re burned out, modes of escapism look particularly tempting. You might find yourself eating more processed foods in exchange for that 20-minute feeling of comfort, using other substances, shopping or getting lost in the internet. Netflix binges — now a “thing” — can be the result of being too exhausted to stop watching and get off of the couch. Those who claim they can cure burnout with “three easy steps” trivialize the complicated societal factors that often come together to cause burnout, and give us the impression we can fix the problem before lunch. This further adds to the shame for those of us who already feel like we are failing at life. It doesn’t help that we live in a world where we’re barraged by reports of daily atrocities. The laundry list of tragedies has grown so long that we’ve lost track. Absorbing and processing this information takes energy, of which there’s a finite supply. Add this to an economy that forces you to do more with less, and on top of that, people are often effectively doing more than just one job. Now you have a real recipe for depletion and resentment. Not surprisingly, at no time in history have as many people been diagnosed with anxiety or depression. It’s why you see ads during primetime TV postulating: “Antidepressant not cutting it? Add in this little extra antipsychotic medication.” And there’s also the issue of the shrinking middle class; money never stops being a concern for many women.

Taking it personally

But when women see me for psychotherapy, they don’t talk about how our society is out of whack and demanding too much while not offering enough support. Instead, they focus on their own shortcomings. Why can’t they measure up? Why are they always running behind? Why can’t they balance work and home? Why aren’t they able to make balanced, organic, locally-sourced meals for their families? Surely their neighbor is cooking up a healthy feast right next door. So we get burned out, with a healthy dose of shame. Burnout also affects relationships. Relationships require that we give of ourselves; when the well is dry, there’s nothing to give. Women experiencing these symptoms might mistakenly think they’re depressed, but when they’re able to attend to their own revitalization, things can really improve. Of course, the pressures don’t disappear; but the ability to see what is put upon you and take control where you can makes for a very different experience of life. The way back from burnout requires more than a nice pedicure and a glass of wine with your best friend. Next month, we will talk about steps to take to address it. SWM Nicole Christina, LCSW, is a local psychotherapist and writer. You can find out more about her on NicoleChristina.com.

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THE BUSY WOMAN’S GUIDE MAKING DOLLARS AND SENSE

The Sandwich Generation By Colette Powers

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re you part of the Sandwich Generation? I am — and boy, it can be stressful. I’ve lived many of the statistics about women and caregiving out there. Twelve years is the average for women to be out of the workforce to care for children or an older relative. For me, it’s closer to 20 years, and I’m still at it. I left my corporate job when I had my first son, Elliot, to help run the family business and our household. During these years, I worked side by side with my husband Matt. While we grew a successful business, Matthew’s Salon Spa, we also grew our family with two more sons, Harrison and Tanner. When our second son, Harrison, was born with Down Syndrome, the caregiving got more stressful. It was difficult to navigate through the confusion and fear. But as we all do, you see your way through life’s challenges; and though they may seem insurmountable at first, you get through them, and usually learn along the way. Harrison has become one of the joys of our family and, of course, we couldn’t imagine life without him. I was lucky during these years to have good support, both professionally and personally. I found great resources like Jowonio that helped me navigate his early years and provide services that I believe changed the course of his life. I found other families that had children with Down Syndrome who could help me learn and grow as a parent. Friends were there to listen, support and lend a hand when needed. Nine years later, our plate got even fuller when my invincible mother was disabled by a stroke, and soon after, my nephew found himself at the age of 17 without parents. I suddenly became the caregiver of many. As challenging and exhausting as these years were, I was grateful for the time and flexibility I had. Again, it was family, friends and professional advice that helped me navigate these challenges. Now, almost 10 years have passed. My nephew lives in Cape Cod with a family of his own, and teaches second grade special education. My son Harrison recently graduated from Cazenovia High School, and is headed off to Syracuse University’s InclusiveU. Over the years, my mother suffered several falls and her need for daily care increased. About four months ago, she moved in with our family. According to the Pew Research Center, one out of eight Americans between the ages of 40 and 60 are raising a child and caring for a parent at home. I am one of these people. I’m aware that women between the ages of 45 and 64 are known to have the lowest well-being of any age group; so I’m trying to find and maintain balance in my life. For me, that includes exercise. And yes, the scale isn’t always tilted the way I wish. I know that caring for a parent can make you feel sad, overwhelmed, frustrated and sometimes scared. And I realize that my mom probably feels anxious and confused as she loses control of

her own independence; that’s something I think many of us fear. So I try to be as patient, respectful and sensitive to her needs as I can. I don’t always get an A in that category. I’m also aware of the stress that it can have on my family. So I have a great support staff to care for my mother on a daily basis, and have created a private space for her when we both need our space. I’m lucky to have a husband who is kind, caring and loves my mother like his own. He helps with the day-to-day chores, taking on more than his fair share at times. It’s crucial that we recognize the need for alone time, though it’s not always easily accomplished. I also continue to educate myself on future housing considerations, health care options, legal preparation and financial considerations; these are the four main categories that I know must be addressed. So if you find yourself in a situation like mine, please remember to seek help, find a balance and involve family members. And most importantly, you are only human and you’re doing your best! SWM Colette Powers is a Financial Advisor with UBS Financial Services Inc., 440 S. Warren St., Syracuse, NY 13202. Any information presented is general in nature and not intended to provide individually tailored investment, tax or legal advice. Investing involves risks and there is always the potential of losing money when you invest. The information provided may be deemed reliable; however, the accuracy and completeness is not guaranteed by UBS Financial Services Inc. The views expressed herein are those of the author and may not necessarily reflect the views of UBS Financial Services Inc. As a firm providing wealth management services to clients, we offer both investment advisory and brokerage services. These services are separate and distinct, differ in material ways and are governed by different laws and separate contracts. For more information on the distinctions between our brokerage and investment advisory services, please speak with your Financial Advisor or visit our website at ubs.com/workingwithus. UBS Financial Services Inc. is a subsidiary of UBS AG. Member FINRA/SIPC.

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THE BUSY WOMAN’S GUIDE HEALTH

A Conversation Could Save Your Life By Leslie J. Kohman

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et’s talk for a moment about women’s health. Life is busy, and we tend to put our own health last. With career, family, schedules and meetings, the last thing on your mind may be to call your doctor and schedule a visit to assess your health and initiate any changes needed in lifestyle to ensure a long and healthy future. But putting our health first prepares us to better handle life’s surprises. As a bonus, it encourages our family members to prioritize their health. The American Cancer Society shares guidelines to encourage healthy behaviors. Adopting a healthy lifestyle can reduce the risk of developing many cancers. That includes avoiding tobacco products and maintaining a healthy weight through a balanced diet and regular exercise. Knowing your body and speaking with your doctor about any changes or screenings can help detect any precancerous changes or early cancer before it spreads. Right now, 63 percent of adults in this country are overweight or obese. Seventeen percent of children and adolescents are obese. Our poor diets — and physically inactive lifestyles — contribute to four out of the seven leading causes of death in this country, including cancer. We’re talking about saving lives here. For nonsmokers, maintaining a healthy weight, eating right, being active and paying attention to adequate sun protection are the most important things you can do to reduce your risk of cancer. Eating more vegetables, fruits and whole grains, and less sugar, red and processed meats is a huge step in the right direction for the whole family. Diet and exercise set the stage for a healthy life. Knowing your body and your own personal risk factors for certain cancers can make you more aware of concerns to discuss with your health care provider. And with more than 16,000 women diagnosed with breast cancer in New York State this year alone, this is one conversation you shouldn’t put off. After skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cause of cancer among women. (Remember that twice as many women die of lung cancer than of breast cancer.) Regular screening mammography is key to reducing deaths from breast cancer. The risk of breast cancer in women is increased by several factors you cannot change: • Having your first period before age 12 • Not having children or having your first child after age 30 • Menopause after age 55 • Family history of breast cancer Both increased body weight and weight gain as an adult are linked with a higher risk of breast cancer after menopause. Drinking alcohol also increases risk of breast cancer. Even low levels of alcohol intake have been linked with an increase in risk. Women with an average risk of breast cancer should discuss screening mammography with their health care provider to determine when they should begin screening. The American Cancer Society recommends beginning annual mammography no later than age 45, while the United States Preventive Services Task

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Force recommends mammography every two years starting at age 50. Women at a higher risk should begin at an earlier age. A “one size fits all” approach does a disservice to women. Having a discussion with a health care provider you trust will provide tailored guidance based on your age, health, personal values and preferences. And I can’t talk about cancer prevention without encouraging parents to make sure their children receive the HPV vaccine. The American Cancer Society recommends routine vaccination of both boys and girls beginning at age 11 or 12 to protect them from HPV-related cancers and genital warts. One last tip for the whole family: avoiding tanning beds and using sunscreen whenever there’s prolonged exposure to the sun will help protect from skin cancers – the most common cancer! There’s no time like the present. Pick up the phone, call your health care provider and schedule a preventive care visit. Talk about what is normal with your body, and what changes you might have noticed lately. Share your family history and ask about screenings for your age. The American Cancer Society offers helpful tips on its website that can guide the conversation. Visit cancer.org. And don’t put this life-saving conversation off for one more day. SWM Leslie J. Kohman, MD Medical Officer, Eastern Division, American Cancer Society SUNY Distinguished Service Professor of Surgery, Upstate Medical University Director of Outreach, Upstate Cancer Center

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THE BUSY WOMAN’S GUIDE SPECIAL FEATURE

My Authentic Shelf-Life By Kate D. Mahoney

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y resume reads like that of a kid who never quite excelled beyond the neighborhood lemonade stand. For all the surgeries I’ve had, I unfortunately have not been collecting royalties from various medical institutions. How do I explain the gaps on my CV? Do I actually need to? What we want for ourselves in our day-to-day is important to acknowledge. However, once we’ve attached ourselves to our wants, it makes figuring out how to let them go that much more difficult— especially when crisis hits and sticks around. When I was 14, I was going to be a soccer star — and Claire Huxtable from the Cosby Show — then I was diagnosed with stage 4 germ cell ovarian cancer, my dad went into rehab and we had no insurance and no income. When I was 25, I was slated to audition for the Yale School of Drama. I was ready to take the world stage. Then, within a span of 10 days, my parents were diagnosed with cancer. I still auditioned, but it was a pit stop on the way to a meeting with the oncologist. When I was 31, I was in my first movie, and felt I was on my way. Then my dad’s tumors came back and my mom flatlined in an ambulance on her way to the hospital after she developed a post-op infection. By 34, my dad had died and I just wanted to take a break from the intense caregiving to heal and grieve. My mom was diagnosed with a tumor that wrapped around her carotid artery, the main blood supply to her brain. I wrote thank you notes on the funeral home stationery while she was in surgery. Most recently, I was excited to be on the verge of publishing my very first book. (You saw the cover art here in the magazine a few months ago.) But again, there was a road block. I ended up at the emergency room in hemorrhagic shock, which led to major surgery and a very long recovery. I had to table my professional identity and my own vanity once more in the face of illness. So you see, I know a thing or two about recalibrating dreams and goals. There are basically two paths to success and satisfaction. One is based on what we get back from giving to others; the other is what we get back from investing in ourselves. The real challenge is weaving the two paths together, and that’s just the mundane day-

to-day of how to feed, clothe and shelter ourselves and our families. But what about when crisis hits? That life plan — along with the grocery and bucket lists — often goes out the window. Priorities like hygiene, nourishment and even paying the bills become afterthoughts. It can happen with any crisis. For me, it’s always been medical. I’ve been either a patient or caregiver since birth. It’s basically a hobby at this point. As each of these emotional asteroids hit, I genuinely thought I could just power through. In the beginning, I got up, did the chores, prepped meals, organized meds, hit the treadmill, made coffee, watched the news, showered, applied makeup and was ready for the day — all before 7 a.m. Over time, the chores piled up, the treadmill time was shorter, the news no longer served as a connection point to the world, coffee replaced food and if I was able to apply deodorant, it was a victory. My gratitude-guilt-grief ratio was dictated by whether I’d been able to multitask or barely task on any given day. When I was with my parents, I wanted to be working; when I was working, I wanted to be with my parents. My plight, of course, is not unique. Sure, the stats are mine, Life is as relentless but all women have a crisis or as it is beautiful.” a calm at any given moment of the day. We are no more on the —Kate D. Mahoney other side of something than we are bracing for the next storm. What I’ve learned and I hope you will too is that life is as relentless as it is beautiful. I am as strong as I am weak. We are all well until we’re not. Whether your tater tots turn into jello or your board room becomes a hospital room, you matter. When that voice in your head tells you that you can’t do it all, listen to it. Maybe it’s just saying you can’t do it all right now. And maybe that’s OK.SWM

Kate D. Mahoney is an international storyteller and actorvist. Look for her book, “The Misfit Miracle Girl: Candid Reflections,” this holiday season. Connect at katedmahoney.com.

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The Pink Edition


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COVER STORY Shelly Straub

SHELLY STRAUB

HOPE CHEST FOR CHARITY FOUNDER, BREAST CANCER SURVIVOR, AUTHOR

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COVER STORY Shelly Straub

Charity Out of Crisis By Lorna Oppedisano

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helly Straub was going to die.

At least that’s what she thought when she was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer three years ago. With no history of breast cancer in her family and scattered resources to guide her, the primal emotion of fear took over. She wanted nothing to do with the color pink. The idea of bonding with or gleaning information from other survivors was the farthest thought from her mind. But thanks to Shelly’s partner and battle buddy, Lucia, her supportive family and hope, she’s now fully embraced the bright hue and the survivorship sisterhood, with an entirely new perspective on life. “Nobody is glad that [cancer] happened to them, but everybody who I’ve ever met who’s a survivor walks away thinking they wouldn’t be the person that they were if they hadn’t had the experiences they had,” Shelly explained. “So I wouldn’t say that I’m grateful for cancer, but I would say that I’m grate-ful for the opportunity it gave me to change the way that I think about life in general.”

The life-changing diagnosis Life started to change for Shelly on October 24, 2013. Several months before, she noticed a difference in her right breast — a small dimple. Chalking it up to ungraceful aging, she paid it little attention. Then on a family camping trip, she noticed a hard lump on the side of her breast. When she got home, a fateful post on a cancer services site caught her attention: “If you notice a dimple in your breast, that can be a sign of breast cancer, come in for your free mammogram during breast cancer awareness month.” After some convincing from her mother, Shelly called the Onondaga County Health Department, and they scheduled

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her for an appointment the very next day. She went through a mammogram and ultrasound, and was told she had cancer. “I had no idea the journey I was about to take,” Shelly reflected in her book, “A Tale of 2 Boobies: One Year with Cancer.” To try to get an idea, Shelly did what her doctors and family members told her not to do: she began to scour the internet for information on what the next year would hold. Of course — the internet being the internet — she was met with a vast wealth of information. Some was good. Some was bad. Some was terrifying. But she doesn’t regret these searches, and would recommend anyone in her position do as much research as possible, she explained in her book. “Just keep in mind that what you are watching and reading is one person’s journey — not yours,” she wrote. Once the news of Shelly’s diagnosis spread to friends and family, the calls, texts and emails started flooding in. Her partner, Lucia, fielded them all. “If anything, the story should be about her, not me,” Shelly said. “She’s the hero. I’m just the girl who went through cancer. She’s the one who kept everything together, kept the family together.” Eventually Shelly started a blog — A Tale of 2 Boobies — to keep everyone informed. She tried to stay upbeat for her audience, but it wasn’t always easy, she remembered. Even on the days when she wasn’t in the mood to blog, or just ended up writing something that didn’t make sense, at least she connected with people to assure them she was OK, even if she was essentially faking it. And that wasn’t just in regards to the blog posts; a lot of the drive behind her fight against cancer was fueled by wanting to be there for other people. “You have to put on a face for everybody else. You have to do what you have to do for everybody else,” Shelly explained.

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A powerful pink sisterhood When she was first diagnosed, Shelly was decidedly anti-pink. No pink ribbons. No pink hair extensions. The color was banned from the house. “I was just angry [and in] denial. I couldn’t deal with it,” she said in regards to the disease. “So I didn’t want anything pink. I didn’t want anything to do with pink.” But that didn’t last long. The gifts, packages and cards — all adorned with pink ribbons — just kept coming. So, in similar fashion to her habitually upbeat blog, she embraced the bright shade for her family and friends. Now pink is her favorite color, Shelly admitted with a smile. As successful as she was at keeping upbeat, Shelly began to feel less and less like herself as the treatment progressed. Once she started to go through chemo, some people didn’t recognize her. Having to remind people of her identity made her feel like she was losing that sense of self. She faded into a shell of the person she had been. “I felt like half of a human being,” Shelly said. “I think because I was stripped of all of my womanhood.” Looking back at that point in her life, she wishes she had responded differently to survivors who tried to reach out. Along with the initial refusal of pink, Shelly had wanted nothing to do with survivors’ support groups. At a benefit after her mastectomy — a week before she started chemo — more than one survivor approached her, but she steered clear of anyone who’d had breast cancer. “I was just completely riding on fear at that moment, because I had no idea what was going to happen,” Shelly said. “I didn’t want my kids growing up without a mom.” After going through chemo, she realized that she did need support from these women. Even with Lucia by her side through every step of

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COVER STORY Shelly Straub

Charity Out of Crisis continued from page 29 the journey, it was the survivors who could really identify with her experiences. The women had been in her exact position, made it out alive and managed to put their lives back together after. She doubts that she could’ve made it through the emotional aftermath of the disease without the survivorship, she explained.

Navigating life after cancer “If I was to advocate for anything, it would be to put people in therapy [after cancer treatment]. I could have ruined my entire life, had I not gone through some kind of therapy afterwards,” Shelly said. “I was a mess. I was a wreck. I had no idea. I felt like a waste of a human being. I felt like I had a purposeless life. I felt like I should have died. All of these things leave you completely lost.” Shelly compared her post-cancer experiences to the post-war experiences of soldiers, citing studies done on people who survived a crisis they expected would kill them. The same sort of PTSD effects were found, she explained. Fighting for her life — for the sake of herself and her loved ones — was akin to combat. “And now I just have to live a regular life,” Shelly said. “I can’t live a regular life. Nothing’s regular in my brain anymore.” The process of recovery included a lot of soul searching. Six months of therapy resulted in a few things: Shelly’s book, a local community resource guide and a nonprofit organization. Shelly’s daughters were the main inspiration for the book documenting a year in the life with breast cancer. During that year, Shelly put on a strong face for everyone, including her children; but it’s important that they have a record documenting the truth of everything that happened, she explained. Shelly also hopes the book will be an honest guide to others diagnosed with breast cancer. Each chapter opens with a calendar marking everything from doctor’s appointments to chemo sessions to radiation. When she was diagnosed and started 30

digging for information, she found tons of it scattered across different people’s blogs, but that was frustrating. “There was no one place, one resource, that put a calendar in front of me saying, ‘This is what happens when you go through cancer,’” she explained. Along with the book, Shelly compiled the “CNY Breast Cancer Community Resource Guide.” When she was diagnosed, Onondaga County gave her a folder filled with pamphlets representing Syracuse’s strong breast cancer community. But keeping track of the myriad of events out there was difficult. “So — once again, in my organized fashion — I put together a calendar that says what happens when,” she said. The resource guide also directs people to places that might carry pink ribbon merchandise outside of the month of October. So while it’s made for the survivor, it’s also helpful to the supporters. Along with the guide, the book and the scars, one of the biggest consequences of Shelly’s battle with cancer was how it changed her view of the world.

Living for others In life before cancer, nobody would have described Shelly as a selfish person, she said; but after the experience, she can’t help but think she had been living a somewhat selfish existence. As a single mother of two girls, she worked a lot. She put food on the table. She stayed on top of the bills. She was a good mom. But looking back after the cancer diagnosis and treatment, Shelly regretted the fact that she hadn’t done anything above and beyond her daily norm. Like many single mothers, she didn’t have much time to devote to charity work or volunteering. When she realized that she would survive the torturous treatments, she started to really think about giving back and paying forward all the kindness and compassion she’d been shown during her crisis. “Now, my first thought is getting food on the table, but my second thought is always, ‘Well, who doesn’t have food and how can I feed them?’” she said. “Because that’s the way everybody

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should think. I think the world would be a better place if everybody thought that way. But I never thought that way until cancer changed everything.” For Shelly, it ended up going further than just food. With help from her family, she founded a nonprofit: Hope Chest for Charity. Although her personal battle had been breast cancer, Shelly realized that a fair number of organizations aiming to raise funds and awareness for the disease already existed in the Syracuse area. Looking around her, she came to the conclusion that there were other causes that needed the community’s attention and efforts, too. Her sisterin-law’s mother, for example, lost her life to pancreatic cancer. “Nobody even knows what that is! Let alone any awareness for that,” Shelly said sadly. “So how could I then go ahead and create all this awareness just for breast cancer, when there’s so many other things? There’s so many other reasons why people right here need money or help.” So Hope Chest for Charity was created to lend a hand to anyone in the area dealing with a crisis, from cancer to less widely known diseases like Mobius Syndrome to house fires. The organization can’t take on burdens like hospitals bills, but they do raise money to help with a lot of the day-to-day, like gas cards or groceries. Hope Chest’s annual flagship fundraising event is the Badass BBQ for Breast Cancer. While the event does aim to raise awareness for breast cancer — a cause that obviously hits close to home for Shelly — the money collected goes directly into the Hope Chest bank to fundthe organization throughout the year. This year’s event took place on Aug. 21. Despite an epic downpour, attendees raised $11,000 for Hope Chest. One of Shelly’s goals in founding the nonprofit was to take the spotlight off herself and her cancer. “It was just all about Shelly, and ‘How’s Shelly?’ and Shelly and Shelly and Shelly,” she explained. Even in talking about Hope Chest, she postulates that a level of selfishness exists in its creation: “Because it’s me wanting to give back,” she said. In her day-to-day, she tries not to use the words “I” and “me” too much. It was about her for too long, she explained. “If the focus has to be on me by

putting me on the cover of the magazine, so that I can then help others, I will take it. But I don’t want it to be selfish,” Shelly said. “I really want to do somebody some good, somehow, some way.” SWM

To read Shelly’s blog, visit ataleof2boobies.com. To learn more about Hope Chest for Charity, visit hopechestforcharity.com.

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for a good cause Salon Bellezza

Pink Hair Everywhere By Lorna Oppedisano

“I

always was into breast cancer awareness, but when I opened up a salon five years ago, I said, ‘Well, this is my platform. This is where I’m going to do what I can do to raise awareness,’” Salon Bellezza owner Annette Knapp remembered. For Annette, the fight against breast cancer is personal.Twentyfive years ago, her mother lost a four-year battle to the disease. A week after finding out she was pregnant with her daughter, Annette was told that her mother had six weeks to live. “On Mother’s Day, I did tell her I was going to have a baby, so she knew,” Annette said. “She said, ‘This is your girl.’” Annette’s daughter Bella has been one of her biggest supporters, the proud mother said. Now Annette raises money each year for the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer by selling pink hair extensions and handmade pink fabric pumpkins. When she started four years ago, Annette raised $1,200. She was happy with that amount, but knew she could beat it. The next year, she reached $1,700. Last year, she surpassed her previous feats by leaps and bounds, raising $9,700. Her most successful fundraising tool is the hair extensions, she said. Not only do people come by her shop for them, but she also travels to dance studios, local businesses and sorority houses to spread the pink flair. Annette’s present at the ACS’s walks as well. “The walk is very inspiring and emotional, too,” she said. “That’s a key part. That’s where you see all the survivors.” The local chapter of ACS has been supportive of her work, helping and guiding her efforts. In the years since she’s opened her salon, she’s had clients diagnosed with breast cancer. She sends them straight to the organization. Annette’s mission is for more people to realize the importance of early detection. “We need to get the word out more. And for everybody who wears an extension, it’s raising awareness,” she said. “‘Why are you wearing that pink?’ Then people start talking. That’s why I do it.” SWM Show your support. Visit Salon Bellezza for your own pink hair extension at 204 Loma Ave., Syracuse. For more information, call 314-6301 or go to facebook.com/salonbellezza.

Photography provided by Salon Bellezza October 2016

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SPECIAL FEATURE Frightmare Farms

Get Your Fright On

Every year, we add something different. Something new. Something that’s not in this area. Something that actually is pretty much paving the way of the national industry.” — Frightmare Farms Production Manager Nicole Ginsburg

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Photography by Sara Felice

By Lorna Oppedisano

The Pink Edition


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October 2016

Photography by Sara Felice

bout 30 minutes outside of Syracuse stands Professor Whitaker’s Museum of Fright. Legend has it the professor traveled the world in search of supernatural antiquities, and brought the discoveries back to his estate. Upon exploring the area around his museum, a condemned mine trail — complete with a witch coven and eternally tormented miners — was uncovered. Visit the property on a Friday or Saturday night in October, and you’ll be met with no shortage of zombies, clowns and witches, and not just a few shrieks. This all adds up to Frightmare Farms, the nationally-renowned haunt attraction organized by a dedicated group of scare-obsessed individuals, the self-dubbed Corpse Crew. “We really have a foundation of people who take initiative,” Production Manager Nicole Ginsburg said. “They come to us with ideas. They follow through and help see those through, or help craft a vision or a scene.” Frightmare Farms is entering its fifth year at its current location in Palermo. What started out in a barn in Cicero has grown into three separate but correlating attractions: the estate tour, the labyrinth or Museum of Fright — which features a new exhibit each year — and the condemned mine trail. When the team initially found the perfect location in Palermo, they started small, with just the estate for the first couple of years. Then they added the trail. Then came the house, trail and labyrinth. Private party areas — Rooms for Important Parties, or “R.I.P.”s — have grown over the years as well. Even in the annual attractions, Nicole and the crew move things around each season. “Every year, we add something different; something new; something that’s not in this area,” Nicole said, “something that actually is pretty much paving the way of the national industry.” Since stepping into the scene, the Corpse Crew has traveled far and wide to visit other haunt attractions, attend conferences and sit on panels to discuss their own ideas and innovations. Among the new additions this year (they filled us in on a couple, but wouldn’t divulge all their secrets) are three-minute escape rooms in the queue area, a feature that only a small handful of haunt attractions nation-wide offer. It was a marriage of a few ideas, Nicole explained. “Some of the people just see the industry and see where it’s going and see what it needs to do,” she said. The planning and brainstorming for Frightmare — and now for the team’s year-round escape room attraction in ShoppingTown Mall, Escape the Estate, too — never ends. They’re already planning next year’s Frightmare season, Nicole explained during our interview in August. That’s one of the tricks of keeping the location and team fresh; they never redo anything and are always evolving, even mid-season when need be. They also do off-season SYRACUSEWOMANMAG.COM

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SPECIAL FEATURE Frightmare Farms

Get Your Fright On continued from page 37 events, like this past spring’s one-night-only Scream Break. The exclusivity of the ever-changing events is part of the venue’s charm. “There’s no need to redo something, because we’re trying to move forward to the next thing. We already knew that was successful. We already knew it was fun. It was great,” Nicole said. “But we want to keep it fresh for our staff, too.” The physical space itself isn’t the only constantly evolving aspect of Frightmare Farms; the eccentrically spine-chilling cast of characters is always growing and changing, too. And every one of them is concocted by the collective mind of the Corpse Crew. Every individual character has his or her own backstory, and wouldn’t be seen anywhere else. The team is always prospecting for new talent, Nicole explained. She’s even handed her card out in the grocery store, she added. Each year, they receive more than 200 applications from around the country. They have seasonal team members who travel from states away to live in the Syracuse area for Halloween-time and become part of the Frightmare family. The Corpse Crew brainstorms throughout the year, but starts putting together the larger team in June. And it’s one of the strongest and most cohesive groups of people you’ll meet. “There’s one thing I will say about the team here,” Director of Security and Safety Mark Caccavale said. “When they want something, they go get it. Any hurdle that is thrown in front of them, they knock it down.” Nicole agreed: “And we do it together.” “They plan, they get and they do,” Mark said. Acting coach Sam Herwood commented as well: “There’s something so magical about it. For me, I’m not a builder. I do a little bit of makeup. But I’m not really an artist per say. I’m an actor. And when I sit down at these brainstorming sessions, we come up with ideas.” Getting a large group of people around a table to collaborate on an idea can have disastrous consequences if the balance of personalities isn’t just so. Lucky for the Corpse Crew, they’ve gathered the right mix. It comes down to having what Nicole calls “parallel thinkers.” They feed each other’s ideas and inspiration; equally as important, they can tell when a teammate is getting stressed, and take the lead when necessary. “It’s part of empowering people and believing in them, and understanding that not everybody works the way you do,” Nicole said. This is Sam’s fourth year with the Corpse Crew. When he started, he was a scare actor; now, he trains, directs and inspires those actors. Nicole has mentored him through the whole process, he explained. The actors who join the team come from all walks of life. Some are local community performers. Some are seasonal transplants. Some just like scaring people, Sam said. “It’s almost musical the way a scare is formed,” he explained. “But for me, it’s definitely about getting our actors to take risks and to have high energy.” The team stressed the fact that while one of Frightmare’s aims is to scare — thus the name — people have a light fright option. 38

The team hands out LED candles for those who might be interested in wandering through to view the aesthetic. But one thing is for sure: the Corpse Crew puts on quite a performance. “[Frightmare Farms] comes alive at night,” Mark said. “During the day, you would drive by and not even know what’s going on here. But once night falls, we’re alive, and that’s when the show starts.” SWM Frightmare Farms is located at 4816 State Route 49, Palermo. The attractions are open Fridays and Saturdays in October. Box office hours are 7 to 10 p.m. The haunted house opens at 7 p.m. The labyrinth and trail open at 7:15 p.m. Prices: single attraction, $13; two attractions, $22; three attractions, $25; VIP Skip the Line pass, $35. For more information, visit frightmarefarms.net.

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Photography by Sara Felice

Photography by Sara Felice

Photography by Sara Felice


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INSPIRE Patti Lyman

PATTI LYMAN

Photography by Steven J. Pallone

BREAST CANCER SURVIVOR

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A Helping Hand in the Fight By Gabrielle Reagan

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efore her recent retirement, Patti Lyman worked in the billing support. She called her local office and spoke with volunteers aiding in appointment scheduling and transportation, pre- and department at Upstate Orthopedics. Each day, she walked post-surgery planning, and bra fitting and mastectomy pads. into work, took a seat at her desk and pulled out a bag of Thanks to religious mammograms and early detection, Patti is charm bracelets for her coworkers to choose from. They were just 10 years cancer-free, but she knows her battle is far from over. $5 apiece, and all proceeds went directly to the American Cancer “It’s my current fight,” Patti said. “It seems like there’s always Society. Patti, a breast cancer survivor herself, became a daily someone touched by cancer. It’s important to me to come alongside advocate for the nonprofit after losing both her mother and sister people and help the best I can, in any way I can. I think of others to the disease. first. It’s just who I am.” “At work they called me the bracelet lady,” Patti said. A bright In 2011, Patti’s older sister was diagnosed with cervical cancer. smile spread across her face as she pulled a small pouch from her Doctors described it as both aggressive and advanced. She received purse and poured its contents across the table, causing beads of the diagnosis at the age of 64, and passed away just one week after every color to clank together musically. “I carry these bracelets her 65th birthday, in the very same room their mother had passed everywhere.” years earlier. It was a different battle than their mother’s, but again, Growing up in northern California, Patti was just 17 when she the staff and volunteers of the local American Cancer Society lost her father to heart disease. A few years later, her mom was office helped tremendously. diagnosed with advanced-stage breast cancer. Patti was barely into her 20’s, and suddenly facing the possibility of living the remainder Patti moved to Syracuse three years ago, and since retiring, is thankful to have more time to of her life parentless. volunteer, fundraise and advocate for “It was difficult, because That’s what is important to me—to help the local American Cancer Society suddenly I had to become the office, a group assisting cancer caretaker,” Patti said. “I had me fight, help everybody fight the battle.” patients and survivors in too many to do a lot of things I never — Patti Lyman, breast cancer survivor ways to tally. Taking a cue from the thought I’d have to do. You just find strength where you nonprofit, Patti hopes to help aid have to.” others in their fight against cancer. Patti found that strength in the fighting spirit her mom “That’s what is important to me,” Patti said, “to help me fight, embodied, and the free resources and counsel offered to her family help everybody fight the battle. That’s just how I am. I’m a person of service.” by the American Cancer Society. Over the years, people began calling Patti to seek counsel, With Patti’s siblings living out of state, she and her mother either with the diagnosis of a loved one or a diagnosis of their own. formed an unbreakable bond, facing together both her father’s More often than not, she directs them toward the American passing and then her mother’s own diagnosis. After 15 years of Cancer Society. battling the disease, during which she endured several rounds of She doesn’t pretend to have all the answers and refuses to be chemotherapy and radiation, Patti’s mother passed away in 2000. anything but realistic. She offers up rides to treatment, picks up Then in 2006, Patti herself was diagnosed with breast cancer. “I thank God that she wasn’t alive when I got my diagnosis,” and drops off necessary medication, holds hands in the waiting Patti said. “I know that in her heart she would think it was her room, and provides another set of ears at the doctor’s office. She’s been both onlooker and patient in terms of cancer; it makes fault. Of course, it wasn’t, but I sure wouldn’t have wanted her to her a relatable advocate in battle. feel that.” “I don’t believe I give a tremendous amount of hope,” Patti said. Since the age of 30, Patti has scheduled yearly mammograms; but still, her diagnosis came as a shock. “I think I’m just there as someone they can count on, a presence. “It was tougher because now I’m the one,” Patti said. “I had to They don’t need me to give them a fight song, they just need to find the strength inside to say, ‘If I can’t help myself fight this, know that somebody cares.” SWM then I can’t help the next person.’ And my mindset is always helping someone else. If you’re going to help others, then you Syracuse’s local American Cancer Society office is located at 6725 Lyons have to get yourself strong.” St., E. Syracuse. For information on services, donations, or volunteer Doctors discovered Patti’s cancer at an early stage. Facing her own opportunities, call 437-7025. Cancer Information Specialists are available 24 battle, Patti again leaned heavily on American Cancer Society for hours a day, every day of the year at 1-800-227-2345.

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SKANEATELES SKANEATELES PAGE

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INSPIRE Michelle Wilkinson and Denise Fachtmann

MICHELLE WILKINSON AND DENISE FACHTMANN

Photography by Alexis Emm

BREAST CANCER SURVIVORS

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Friendship and Faith Against Cancer By Lorna Oppedisano

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he story of Michelle Wilkinson and Denise Fachtmann’s So Michelle went to the surgeon’s alone, and had a biopsy friendship begins with three terrifying words: “You have done. Then they told her she had cancer. She stayed calm and cancer.” cool in the office. When she got to her car after, she began to In 2009, Michelle cancelled her yearly mammogram to panic and called a friend. “Oh my god. I just got diagnosed stay home with her sick child. Being a busy mother of three, with breast cancer,” she said. she forgot to reschedule. When she went for her annual Her friend’s response summed up Michelle quite well. “You’re OBGYN checkup, the doctor pointed out a small lump on going to be fine,” Michelle’s friend assured her. “You’re strong.” her ribcage. After eight rounds of chemo, 33 treatments “What is this lump?” the doctor asked her. of radiation and 18 surgeries, her friend’s If I can inspire one person, words were proven true. Michelle is now “I don’t know. I thought it was my rib,” a survivor. Michelle responded. then you know what, Denise’s journey started a little more than “No, Michelle,” the doctor said, “that’s not God had a different plan.” three years ago. In May of 2013, a good friend your rib.” After a sonogram, Michelle received a phone — Michelle Wilkinson, instructed Denise not to take her health for granted. Denise visited the doctor, who told call from a nurse telling her to go see a breast breast cancer survivor her that since she was approaching the age of surgeon. Even though her mother had been 40, getting a mammogram was a good idea. diagnosed with breast cancer two years before, “So of course, I went right in, just to check and her grandmother was a survivor as well, it off my list,” she said. “All hell broke loose after that.” the thought that Michelle might have the disease didn’t cross She was diagnosed with DCIS, an early form of breast cancer, her mind. Save this one year she’d forgotten, Michelle had been and underwent surgeries in Boston. getting mammograms annually since the age of 30.

Michelle’s hair styling courtesy Brenda Tricome of Brenda’s Hair Design. October 2016

Photography by Alexis Em

Michelle Wilkinson

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INSPIRE Michelle Wilkinson and Denise Fachtmann

Friendship and Faith Against Cancer continued from page 49 Like Michelle, Denise is a single mother. The cancer diagnosis “That was her way of saying that we both were diagnosed hit her 12-year-old daughter, Sierra, almost as hard as it hit with breast cancer without actually having to say the words,” Denise. Sierra refused to leave her mother’s side, but Denise Denise explained. knew that her daughter needed help healing, too. She discovered A few months later, fate finally brought the two families Syracuse University’s Camp Kesem, together at a hockey game. Denise a week-long summer camp designed and Michelle were introduced, for children whose parents were started talking and ended up never Most people that we know or that diagnosed with cancer. actually watching the game, Michelle Sierra didn’t want to attend. remembered with a laugh. see us together think that we’ve She didn’t want to think about the “Most people that we know or that known each other for years. It’s been see us together think that we’ve known diagnosis, Denise explained. “Well, in five days you’re going to not even a year and a half since we each other for years,” Denise said. be home,” Denise told her daughter “It’s been not even a year and a half actually met.” — Denise Fachtmann, since we actually met.” at drop-off. “And if you like it, then maybe you’ll go again. And if you When the duo met, Michelle thought breast cancer survivor don’t, then that’s fine.” she was “over all the pink stuff,” Denise The five days passed, and camp reminisced. Michelle had teenage sons. ended. Luckily, Denise’s choice to send Sierra to camp ended up Her father had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. She was being a good one. “Oh my gosh, I met these two boys, and you always ready, willing and able to help anyone who needed it, but should meet their mom because you two have a lot in common,” life was pulling her in different directions, as it usually does. Sierra told her mother, referring to Michelle and her sons. “I didn’t want to narrow myself to that thing,” Michelle said,

Hair & Makeup courtesy of: AMBELLISHED by Amber Van Luven of Weedsport

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Denise Fachtmann

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referring to breast cancer awareness. “I would love to be part of it, but I don’t want that to be my message.” But when Denise admitted to her new friend that she didn’t want to participate in cancer awareness walks because it still hit too close to home, things changed. “Michelle was like, ‘What? Are you kidding me? It’s the best!’” Denise said. “So she got me to my first walk. She got me to my second walk. She got me to my third walk. And right along the way, she’s just been a really great inspiration.” Michelle’s enthusiasm hasn’t only helped Denise, but Sierra as well. When her mom was diagnosed, she took steps into herself, Denise said; having another family to relate to helped her to heal. “If I can inspire one person, then you know what,” Michelle said, “God had a different plan.” Among the many people Michelle’s inspired is her own mother. When Michelle was diagnosed, she tested BRCA positive. Michelle’s mother, a survivor herself, brought this news to her doctor. “Well, that changes everything, Sharon,” the doctor told her. Michelle told her mother, “If I can do this, you can do this.” So Sharon underwent a mastectomy and began mentally preparing herself for chemo.

But when the time came around for the followup, the doctor scratched his head and told Sharon, “I don’t know if you believe in miracles, but we went in there, and there’s no cancer.” That’s Michelle’s message, she explained. “Every day has the possibility of a miracle,” she said. “And so if I can encourage one person — and my message now in [terms of ] breast cancer is get your mammograms.” Thanks to Denise’s mammogram and subsequent early detection, she didn’t have to go through chemo and radiation. Now Michelle, her mother, Denise and her daughter attend breast cancer awareness events locally to show support. Michelle convinced Denise to be part of the American Cancer Society’s Wall of Hope this year, too. “That was a huge feat for me,” Denise explained, “just because I’m not eager to share the story or the history that I have.” Both survivors do everything they can to bring hope to anyone newly diagnosed. “You’ve got to have fear or faith. Which one? You decide,” Denise said. “You have to go back to something. And for some people it’s faith or friends or family. And I think that that’s something that connects Michelle and I.” SWM For more information on the American Cancer Society, visit cancer.org.

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UPCOMING SWM Events Tuesdays in October Her HeartBeat Happy Hour

Time: 4:30 to 6 p.m. What: Network with Her HeartBeat. Cost: Free with cash bar. Where: Outback Steakhouse, 3946 State Route 31, Liverpool. Info: Leisha Dukat, Leisha@HerHeartBeat.com.

Saturdays in October Yoga with HeART

When: 10:30 a.m. to noon. What: All skill levels welcome at yoga class led by Dara Harper. Cost: Nonmembers, $15; members, $10. Where: Everson Museum of Art, 401 Harrison St., Syracuse. Info: everson.org.

Saturday, Oct. 1 Tinkers BIGGEST little Beerfest

When: 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. What: First annual beerfest featuring samples from more than 15 breweries. Cost: $30. Where: Tinkers Guild, 78 Franklin St., Auburn. Info: tinkersguild@gmail.com.

Saturday, Oct. 1 Spinathon for Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital

When: 4 p.m. What: Urban Life Athletics spin class and cash bar event in support of Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital. Cost: $45. Where: Empire Farmstead Brewery, 33 Rippleton Road, Cazenovia. Info: wherevent.com/detail/Eventbrite-Spinathon.

Wednesday, Oct. 5 WBOC Monthly Meeting

When: 4:30 p.m. What: “Leadership in Action” program includes presentation by Cognos Performance Consulting’s Kathy Adams. Cost: All access members, free; members, $10; guest, $25. Where: Drumlins, 800 Nottingham Road, Syracuse. Info: wboconnection.org

Wednesday, Oct. 5 Speed Networking

When: Registration, 7:30 a.m.; program, 8 to 10:30 a.m. What: Roundtable discussions with other CenterState CEO members and informal networking. Sponsored by TERACAI. Cost: $25; members, $15. Where: TERACAI, 217 Lawrence Road, E. Syracuse. Info: kdejoseph@centerstateceo.com.

Thursday, Oct. 6 Sun Awards

When: 4 to 6:30 p.m. What: Presented by Sustainable Upstate Network to recognize sustainable efforts throughout Upstate New York. Includes guest speakers, networking, exhibitors and more. Cost: Check online for prices. Where: Marriott Syracuse Downtown, 100 E. Onondaga St., Syracuse. Info: cnybj.com. 52

Thursday, Oct. 6 Celebrating Midwifery Week Workshop

When: 2 to 6 p.m. What: Workshop for midwives interested in learning more about the CNY midwifery community. Cost: Free. Where: Aster Pantry & Parlor, 116 Walton St., Syracuse. Info: eventbrite.com/e/celebrating-midwifery-week-workshop syracuse-tickets-27156708446.

Thursday, Oct. 6 “Beyond the Glass Ceiling: Millennial Women Making Moves” celebration

When: 5 to 9 p.m. What: You Can’t Fail, Inc. celebration of established and emerging female leaders in the area. Cost: $75. Where: Doubletree by Hilton Hotel Syracuse, 6301 Route 298, E. Syracuse. Info: youcantfailinc.org.

Thursday, Oct. 6 Voices 2016

When: 5:30 to 8 p.m. What: Aims to raise awareness and support for vision of equality in self-expression. Presented by Hiscock Legal Aid Society and Everson Museum of Art. Cost: $150; reservations required. Where: Everson Museum of Art, 401 Harrison St., Syracuse. Info: everson.org.

Saturday, Oct. 8 A Ghost Story Dinner

When: Doors, 7 p.m.; dinner, 8 p.m. What: Includes beer tasting by Middle Ages Brewery, farm-to-table dinner by LoFo and presentation by Chris DiCesare. Cost: $75; VIP, $140. Where: Barnes Hiscock Mansion, 930 James St., Syracuse. Info: grbarnes.org.

Sunday, Oct. 9 through Sunday, Oct. 23 SYRIFILMFEST 2016

When: Check online for times. What: Thirteenth annual Syracuse International Film Festival featuring both international and domestic films, with a special emphasis on music and sports. Cost: $10 for a single ticket. Where: Check online for locations. Info: filminsyracuse.com.

Tuesday, Oct. 11 NEXT 2016

When: 10 a.m. What: Technology, manufacturing and innovation conference featuring keynotes Brian Solis and Soraya Darabi. Cost: $95. Where: Marriott Syracuse Downtown, 100 E. Onondaga St., Syracuse. Info: cnybj.com.

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Thursday, Oct. 13 Central New York’s Best Places to Work

When: 7:30 to 10 a.m. What: Celebrating the best work environments in the area. Cost: Check online for details. Where: SRC Arena, Onondaga Community College, 4585 W. Seneca Turnpike, Syracuse. Info: cnybj.com.

Thursday, Oct. 13 Gallery Walk: Meet the Artist

When: 6:30 p.m. What: Artist Angela Fraleigh offers guided walk of her exhibit “Between Tongue and Teeth.” Cost: Free with museum admission. Where: Everson Museum of Art, 401 Harrison St., Syracuse. Info: everson.org.

Thursday, Oct. 13 Syracuse Snarl: Fractured Fairytales

When: 7:30 p.m. What: Halloween-themed fashion show presented by Syracuse Fashion Week. Includes vendor tables, raffles and a costume contest. Cost: Seat, $20; standing room, $10. Where: Landmark Theatre, 362 S. Salina St., Syracuse. Info: syracusefashionweek.com.

Thursday, Oct. 13 2Young2Retire: Redefining Retirement For Boomers When: 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. What: Presented by certified retirement options coach Leslie Rose McDonald, program aims to examine alternative retirement plans. Cost: $25; members, $15. Where: OneGroup Center, 706 N. Clinton St., Syracuse. Info: kdejoseph@centerstateceo.com.

Thursday, Oct. 13 Green Drinks Syracuse

When: 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. What: Networking event geared toward people working on environmental issues, but open to all. Cost: Free admission. Where: Downtown Marriott Syracuse, 100 E. Onondaga St., Syracuse. Info: webcards.vextster.com/packages/index.php?id=VFdwTk1VMW4&cid=688.

Friday, Oct. 14 Little Black Dress Event

When: 7 to 11 p.m. What: Celebrating 10 years of the WISE Women’s Business Center. Includes wines and craft cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, stations, desserts, live music and dancing. Cost: $65. Where: Sky Armory, 351 S. Clinton St., Syracuse Info: wisecenter.org.

Saturday, Oct. 15 Ladies Nite Out painting “Rainy Day Love” When: 6 p.m. What: Paint, Drink & Be Merry event. Cost: $38 plus $5 off with promo code: pdbm. Where: Owera Vineyard, 5276 E Lake Road, Cazenovia, NY. Info: oweravineyards.com.

Sunday, Oct. 16 Making Strides Against Breast Cancer When: Registration, 8:30 a.m.; walk, 10 a.m. What: Celebration of breast cancer survivorship. Where: SRC Arena, Onondaga Community College, 4585 W. Seneca Turnpike, Syracuse. Info: makingstrides.acsevents.org.

Thursday, Oct. 20 Excellence in Health Care Awards

When: 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. What: Fifth annual event recognizing top health care industry leaders, innovators and companies. Cost: Check online for details. Where: The Lodge at Welch Allyn, 4355 State Street Road, Skaneateles. Info: cnybj.com.

Thursday, Oct. 20 Music Matters

When: 5:30 p.m. What: Proceeds support not-for-profit CNY music organizations. Includes dinner, silent auction and musical enterainment. Cost: $75. Where: Traditions at the Links, 5900 N. Burdick St., E. Syracuse. Info: syracusesoundsofmusic.org.

Fridays, Oct. 21 and 28; Saturdays, Oct. 22 and 29; Monday, Oct. 31. Raven Haven Haunted Walk and House When: 7 p.m. What: Family-friendly haunted walk and chilling haunted house. Cost: Free. Where: 7475 Thunderbird Road, Liverpool. Info: facebook.com/raven.haven.75.

Sunday, Oct. 23 Wedding World Expo

When: Noon to 5 p.m. What: Central New York’s largest wedding event. Cost: Free. Where: NYS Fairgrounds, 581 State Fair Blvd., Syracuse. Info: CNYWeddingWorldExpo.com.

Sunday, Oct. 30 Red, White & Brew

When: 1 to 4 p.m. What: A wine and beer tasting event to benefit The Centers at St. Camillus. Cost: $35. Where: Kitty Hoynes, 301 W. Fayette St., Syracuse. Info: st-camillus.org.

Thursday, Nov. 3 The Spirit of American Women

When: 6 to 8 p.m. What: Presented by YWCA. Program aims to introduce women and girls from varying social, ethnic, economic, educational and cultural backgrounds. Heavy hors d’oeuvre to be served. Cost: $50. Where: Genesee Grande Hotel, 1060 E. Genesee St., Syracuse. Info: ywca-syracuse.org.

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Profile for Lorna Oppedisano

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