In the Pink of Health Luncheon

The Marriott on The Waterway was inundated with fabulous attire in various hues of pink and teal at the 19th Annual In The Pink of Health Luncheon. The highly anticipated luncheon always features women adorned in gorgeous vibrant garments to help raise awareness and funds for ovarian and breast cancer programs that will stay right here in greater Montgomery County. Since its inception, In the Pink of Health has raided and distributed more than $5.5 million to support breast and ovarian health.

Caroline Raiford, Andrea Raiford, Andrea Alexander, Melissa Preston

Presented by Richie’s Specialty Pharmacy, and Co-Chaired by Debra Cooper and Dee Gelsomini, In the Pink of Health raises essential funds to fight cancer and assist survivors. “We have come so far in research and cure rates for breast and ovarian cancer, but there are still women who lose their battle every day. The money we raise goes towards closing that gap and saving our sisters, mothers, grandmothers, daughters and friends,” said In the Pink of Health co-chair Dee Gelisomini. Allocation of the funds from the event support the Interfaith Community Clinic to provide mammograms for underserved women, and the Canopy cancer survivorship center at Memorial Hermann The Woodlands among others.

The guest speaker for the event was ordained minister and motivational speaker Dr. Rick Rigsby. Following a successful career as a television news reporter Dr. Rigsby became a college professor— including 14 years at Texas A&M University—where he also served as character coach and chaplain for the Aggies football team.

Kathy Igercich, Amanda Poole

Dr. Rigsby shared his experience with the heartbreaking loss of his wife, Trina, to breast cancer in 1996. Dr. Rigsby’s inspirational remarks focused on the lasting impact his wife made and continues to make through her life of hope, and the dramatically different outcomes available to individuals diagnosed with cancer today due to the amazing contributions of organizations such as In The Pink of Health. His heartfelt story and comedic delivery had the audience laughing one minute and tearing up the next, but all were touched by Dr. Rigsby’s message of hope.

“For years, our In the Pink of Health committee has focused on inspiring and encouraging attendees so that when they leave, they can take what they heard and integrate it into their own lives and The Woodlands community,” said Josh Urban, senior vice president and CEO of Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Medical Center.

Natashia Douglas, Michele Whitworth, Leslie Reilly, Lindsay Donaldson, Heidi Goodwin, Kristyna Smith, Marylee Freund, Sondra Pekar, Brooke Milam

Memorial Hermann In the Pink of Health was founded in 2001 to fund cancer-related programs and services for patients and their families in the greater Montgomery County area. To learn more visit inthepinkofhealth.org or call 713.897.PINK (7465), or email inthepink@memorialhermann.org.

Read more about the In The Pink of Health featured in the latest issue of The Book The Woodlands

Blair Moon, Julie Ambler, Kellie Armstrong, Amanda French, Louise Smith, Kim Murphy

Paige Hull, Hannah Hull, Kelly Hull, Eric Pham, Marian Spence

Missy Herndon, Linda Nelson, Sarah Rhea

Mandi and Pete Roach

Lynne Charbonneau, Nancy W. Charbonneau, Leta King, Nancy Charbonneau, Dee Butts

Lynn Carr, Presha Carr, Katie Holditch

Linda Smith, Kashay Mendes, Lezlie Cuellar

Karen Riggins, Amy Brooks

Karen Carroll, Alison Henderson

Kylie Boyd, Carolyn Donovan, Holly Mayer, Lucy Gomez, Lynne Pickett, Missy Herndon, Anita Phillips, Jackie Charzma

Sherry Holman, Phalen Alfaro, Kairy-Tate Barkley, Janice Swan

In the Pink

In The Pink of Health was created as an event that focuses on women’s health issues as part of the Memorial Hermann Foundation whose mission is to raise funds through philanthropic initiatives and planned giving campaigns in order to meet the ever-growing healthcare needs in the Memorial Hermann Healthcare System particularly here in Montgomery County. Ann Wolford, who coordinated the original event and still serves on the event planning committee shares, “In The Pink’s original goal was to raise awareness about women’s health issues because women are often the primary healthcare decision-makers for their families. The goal was to bring awareness and education focused on health issues women often faced including hormone treatments and breast cancer while raising funds to support local programs.” However, by the fourth year, the Memorial Hermann Foundation staff and In The Pink committee members realigned the event’s mission to focus solely on the prevention, diagnostic testing and treatment of breast and ovarian cancers with funds raised to support those efforts.


Today, In The Pink luncheon has grown into one of the largest and most generous fundraising events in our community by providing $450,000 last year to nonprofits serving Montgomery County residents. Local nonprofits continue to provide services and programming such as free mammograms, diagnostic mammograms, ultrasounds, breast cancer educational programs, cancer survivorship programs such as art therapy and yoga and services like wig fittings and prosthetics for patients in treatment. Past nonprofit recipients have included: Canopy Cancer Survivorship Center, Interfaith Community Clinic, Memorial Hermann Breast Cancer Center, The Rose, Ovarcome and the Judith L. Robinson Foundation. “One of the most generous aspects of In The Pink Luncheon is that the money raised stays here in our community to help our neighbors in the midst of a health crisis or in our case provide access to care for the uninsured women with educational information and free screenings for early detection,” shared Missy Herndon, President & CEO of Interfaith Community Clinic.

 

Each year, a committee of community leaders and volunteers set out to create an inspiring and fun event that showcases the spirit of generosity unique to The Woodlands area. Event highlights include an enormous silent and live auction, boutique, local speakers that share their stories of survival and keynote speakers providing inspiration and hope to attendees contributing to the ongoing fight against breast and ovarian cancers. Past speakers include Olympic Gold Medalist, Scott Hamilton, Good Morning America’s Amy Robach and TV Host, Samantha Harris. This year’s committee co-chairs, Debra Cooper and Dee Gelsomini have led an amazing group of women in coordinating the 19th anniversary luncheon. Gelsomini states, “I attended the luncheon for several years, but when my best friend was diagnosed with breast cancer five years ago, I wanted to do more. I witnessed the challenges patients and their families face and I am committed to doing what I can to help them through those tough times.”


Furthermore, Linda Nelson, Business Development & Regional Marketing Director shares her reflection on the impact of this amazing event, “Memorial Hermann’s In the Pink of Health Luncheon celebrates its 19th year raising funds and has distributed over $5.5 million in the fight against breast and ovarian cancers. I’ve been a part of the committee since its inception and I’ve seen this educational and inspirational event grow year over year. We’ve helped see that cancer is not only detected earlier and that the community is educated, but also helped support cancer survivors through the free Canopy Cancer Survivorship Center at Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Medical Center.” The 19th anniversary luncheon will not disappoint this year with guest speaker, Rick Rigsby, author of Afraid to Hope and also a former Texas A&M professor and chaplain for the Aggie Football team. In the Pink of Health was held at The Woodlands Waterway Marriott on Friday, October 18, 2019.

How Good Nutrition Slows Cognitive Decline

Your brain needs a variety of nutrients in order to develop and function properly. Almost everything you consume will directly or indirectly affect your brain. There is much evidence to suggest that what we do for the brain now can have a big impact on how it functions in the years, even decades, to come. A healthy diet has the potential to alter our brain health and mental function. Thereby delaying or protecting against age-related cognitive decline. Nutrition gives the brain the tools and building blocks it needs to perform vital actions like thinking, making memories, and repairing cell damage.

In order to be sure your brain has all the nutrients it needs to work properly, eat a wide variety of whole foods. This includes good sources of protein, lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, fish, and other sources of healthy fats. A healthy diet that is low in fat and high in essential nutrients reduces the risk of memory loss, helps prevent strokes and boosts alertness.

OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS
The healthy fats, omega-3s and omega-6s, found in salmon, walnuts and kiwi fruit, provide many benefits. This includes improving learning and memory and helping to fight against such cognitive disorders such as dementia. Omega fatty acids are essential building blocks for the cell membrane of brain cells. They seem to reduce inflammation in the brain, as well as warding off the cognitive decline that often comes with age.


B VITAMINS
The B vitamins, particularly B12, B6, and Folate (B9), are critical for the cellular energy metabolism in the brain. B12 is important for a cell process called methylation, a basic chemical process that all cells, including brain cells, require to thrive. B12 also protects against age-related atrophy of brain cells and against damage to the brain’s white matter, which allows brain cells to communicate with each other. Without enough B12 in the brain, memory impairment sets in and gradually gets worse, leading to dementia. You can find Vitamin B6 in the highest quantities in potatoes, bananas, chickpeas, and oatmeal. You can find Folate in leafy greens, citrus fruits, peas, and beans.


PHYTOCHEMICALS/FLAVONOIDS
Phytochemicals are chemicals derived from plant sources that may help your memory. There are a number of types of phytochemicals. However, a key group that often acts as antioxidants is the flavonoids. You can find it in plant-derived foods like blueberries, apples, citrus fruits, and black and green tea. These compounds provide a multitude of health benefits to the body and brain. In addition, they play important roles in repairing damage in the brain by increasing levels of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that reduce damage to cells in the brain.

ANTIOXIDANTS
The brain is highly susceptible to oxidative damage. Antioxidants and essential fatty acids help to protect your brain cells from everyday damage and age-related decline. Some studies have found that extracts from blueberries, strawberries, spinach, and blackberries have a strong antioxidant capacity. They may reverse the normal cognitive changes and memory problems that accompany the aging process.

CURCUMIN
Another type of flavonoid is a compound you may not have heard of, curcumin. You can find it in a common Indian spice and offers protection to the aging brain. Curcumin, nicknamed “The Spice of Mental Life”, is from the root of the tumeric plant. It benefits the brain by providing protection against neurological disorders. As an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-amyloidal agent, curcumin can improve cognitive function in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.


VITAMIN D
In addition to supporting bone health, vitamin D serves important functions in brain health. It is thought to protect the brain against cognitive deficits that come with age. Vitamin D also influences certain proteins that help in neuron growth and development and is involved in many other important aspects of brain function like synaptic plasticity, learning, and memory.

The best way to preserve our mental health in the future is to nourish our brains in the present. How we eat now can dramatically affect our brains. More and more evidence shows that people who maintain good nutrition throughout life have less risk for cognitive decline and other brain diseases as they age. It’s never too late to reverse some of the effects of poor nutrition. Also, the choices you make today will influence your body and brain in years to come. This shows that changes in diet can enhance cognitive abilities, protecting the brain from damage and counteracting the effects of aging.

At Avanti Senior Living, the Avanti Green Kitchen offers meals with no grease or oil and no fried food. Meals include the freshest ingredients, no pre-made foods, taking into account the requests of the community. Find out more on the Avanti blog at: https://www.avanti-sl.com/

Content provided by Avanti Senior Living

Technology with Heart

The power of positive thinking just became a real-time reality thanks to a new app that sends uplifting messages of support to those experiencing a difficult time in their life. Caring Band, created by Woodlands husband and wife team Lindsay and Charley Donaldson, is both a light up wristband and accompanying mobile app that allows anyone going through a challenging time to receive messages of strength and hope. The Caring Band app which launched this summer allows users to pick from a list of carefully preset messages to send to those they care about as often they come across their minds, such as ‘You’re on my mind’; ‘I just prayed for you’ and ‘Cheering you on today’. “The Caring Band app is a place for family and friends to send real-time notifications of love and support,” says Lindsay, co-founder and chief caring officer. “Often when a family member or friend is going through a hard time, you sometimes feel reluctant to reach out as you don’t know what to say. “With Caring Band, it’s done in a way that allows you to brighten their day without having to worry about what to write and without any pressure on the recipient to reply.” The connected wristband can be set to light and/or pulse to notify the band wearer when new messages are received. Using Bluetooth technology, the wristband wirelessly syncs to your smartphone to bring the power of positivity to life. “When you give someone a Caring Band, they will be uplifted each time their wristband lights up knowing that someone is sending positive thoughts and cheering them on,” says Lindsay.

The launch of the Caring Band app comes after the Donaldson’s were moved to do more after seeing several of their friends and family go through difficult times. “Like many others in the same situation, we did as much as we could, but always left wanting to do more, explains Lindsay. “Caring Band is unique in that it is not meant to replace a phone or smartwatch. “Together with the wristband, the app is designed to do one thing and one thing only, to lift the spirits of the person wearing it.”

One such recipient of the Caring Band is 11-year-old Sydney Hunter, who was diagnosed with Sarcoma, a rare type of cancer, in March of this year. Sydney, whose family lives in the Woodlands, is recovering from surgery to remove a golf ball size lump from her leg. Since her devastating diagnosis, Sydney had the opportunity to try out the Caring Band wristband and app. She has had incredible support from people all over the world sending her messages to cheer her on throughout her battle. “It’s amazing, I love it,” says Sydney of Caring Band. “It’s such a blessing to have so many people sending me messages. To think that sometimes people I don’t even know are supporting me is pretty cool.” Some of Sydney’s messages via the Caring Band app that have helped her stay strong are ‘Hugs to you today’, ‘I just prayed for you’ and ‘Thinking of you’. “It’s so heartwarming to know someone somewhere is praying for me at that moment. It’s been so awesome to have that kind of support,” she says. Sydney, who has just entered 6th grade, was thrilled to be able to start the school year with her friends following her latest surgery to remove the tumor this summer. “My friends at school are always nice to me, but since I got the Caring Band, I’ve been really grateful for the extra boost the messages have given me.”

Sydney Hunter

The Caring Band team has been busy distributing a number of prototype bracelets to pilot the product and gauge the initial response. “The feedback we have had so far has been extremely positive,” says Lindsay. “We are receiving wonderful responses both from those wearing the wristband and receiving messages via the app as well as those sending the messages.” Caring Band has also partnered up with a number of local non-profit groups to distribute wristbands and to raise awareness of the product. The Canopy Center, based at Memorial Hermann in the Woodlands, as well as cancer support charity Can Care, and The Tyler Robinson Foundation (founded and managed by members of the band Imagine Dragons), are among the first recipients of Caring Band wristbands. These three charities are involved in supporting cancer survivors, caregivers of survivors and help to enhance the quality of life for those affected by cancer. “We are delighted to be partnering up with these wonderful organizations to spread the Caring Band love,” says Lindsay. The Caring Band app is free to download now on IOS and Android platforms, while the Caring Band wristband will be ready to order in early 2020.

Pre-orders will be taken soon via the website: www.caringband.com. To receive updates and notifications on timings for pre-order, you can follow Caring Band on Instagram and Facebook.

Author: Jennifer Taylor

Jennifer Taylor joins the writing team at Interfaith following a career in journalism and public relations. Originally from Scotland, Jennifer moved to The Woodlands in 2012 having lived and worked in Asia for 5 years. She enjoys running, traveling and spending time with her husband and their two boys.