BANDON — About 60 women, a few men and a dozen vendors inside on a sunny day is testament that the Southern Coos Health Foundation's Women's Health Day is a must-go on many people's agendas. 

The 12th annual event, held Saturday at The Barn, drew women from all walks of life to learn about “Kicking Cancer,” this year's theme. Scott McEachern, Southern Coos Health Foundation director, and many volunteers, including several from the hospital auxiliary, helped organize and assist at the event.

The day featured speakers, displays, a silent auction, lunch catered by Mother's Natural Grocery and Deli and lots of bonding through shared experiences.

The speakers included Dr. Sandy Leachman from the Oregon Health Sciences University's Knight Cancer Institute, whose talk was titled, “Watch Out Melanoma: Teaming Up to Get You!” Certified personal trainer Nanci Johnson from Port Orford followed Leachman's talk with “Kicking cancer with exercise.” Johnson believes that the aches, pains and lack of mobility people associate with normal aging is actually decay from living a sedentary life.

After a break for a chance to stretch legs, bid on silent auction items and look at booth displays, Susan VanZelf, representing the Bree's Foundation for Breast Cancer Research, presented a $1,000 check to the hospital foundation to pay for mammograms for uninsured women.

Then Dr. Phillip Keizer, a radiologist at Southern Coos Hospital & Health Center as well as Bay Area Hospital, gave a slideshow on what cancers look like from a radiologist's point of view and which screenings are helpful.

Oregon State University Extension Service dietitian Stephanie Polizzi, who works throughout Coos County giving classes, spoke about “Foods that Fight Cancer.”

“Five to 10 percent of cancers are genetic, so 80 to 90 percent are based on what you do and the cause is your lifestyle, which you can change,” Polizzi said, urging the audience to eat more whole foods, vegetables and whole grains and less meat, dairy, fats and processed foods.

The day ended with motivational speaker and three-time breast cancer survivor Becky Olson from Portland, who had the audience laughing with her talk on “Humor, Happiness and Hope.”

“Life can throw you a curve ball in an instant, so don't be afraid to do what you love every day,” Olson said.

All the talks were followed by question-and-answer sessions from an enthusiastic audience.

In addition, three local residents spoke on a personal level about how cancer has affected them.

As a prostate cancer survivor himself, Roger Straus emphasized how important it is to get a prostate screening test.

“It is not just an 'old man's disease,'” Straus said. “And the PSA test is the No. 1 tool as a primary diagnosis indicator and it's just part of a regular blood draw.”

Nancy Fitch of Bandon, and Becky Crim of Coquille urged those attending to participate in the Relay for Life fundraiser, which will be held for the first time in Bandon on July 18. The event raises money for cancer research and patient care and support programs locally.

Kristina Campina Roth, a registered nurse at Southern Coos Hospital, gave an emotional account of her friend Brandy Hindman of Bandon, who died six months after her diagnosis with aggressive triple-negative breast cancer at the age of 29, leaving behind two young daughters. Roth stressed the importance of early detection.

Tami Stover came from Coos Bay with her mother-in-law for the event.

“I came down to get some ideas for techniques to stay healthy,” Stover said. “I saw Stephanie (Polizzi) give a talk on nitric oxide and the good stuff you get from it and it was informative. We came partly just to hear her speak.”

Bandon resident Lori Straley has been to several Women's Health Day events and often attends with her friend and walking partner Jackie Lawrence.

“I think it's good to get all this information,” Straley said. “As a nurse, I like to hear the information given to the public and hearing from all the medical professionals who come from all over the place to talk to us, it's edification to me. I also love seeing all the women and the interactions. It's just a fun day out.”

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