Women's Challenges, Women's Paths
Wellness has much to do with wholeness. That's the message women need to hear, according to the Office on Women Health (OWH).
From massages and screenings in Phoenix to cooking demonstrations in Maine, the 8th annual National Women's Health Week will kick off with Mother's Day May 13 with the theme "It's your time. Pamper your Mind, Body, and Spirit."
The weeklong event will incorporate National Women's Check-up Day, which encourages women to schedule and attend health appointments with their physicians, and kickoff the WOMAN Challenge, an 8-week commitment to increasing physical activity.
The Challenge for Women and girls Out Moving Across the Nation, allows individuals to receive one of the 10,800 pedometers used for the event by registering online for one of the virtual paths across the nation. The more steps a person takes, the farther they will travel along their selected routes. The challenge can be undertaken by an individual or a team and is accompanied by e-mail messages that inform participants about the advantages of exercise.
Importantly for women, physical activity benefits more than the heart and lungs. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, activities like walking are classified as weight-bearing in which bones have to work against gravity. When a person walks, jogs, jumps or dances, bones in the legs and feet are bearing the person's weight. Chemicals in the brain send messages to the bones to be prepared to endure similar impacts again, which helps produce bigger, denser bones which helps prevent osteoporosis.
Individuals will have the opportunity to close out National Women's Health Week by walking for a cause on Saturday May 19.
The Beat the Clock Walk is a 4K fundraiser scheduled to take place at West Potomac Park in Washington D.C. The four-hour event will be used to educate people about cervical cancer and its link to the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). Part of the proceeds will be given to the Lance Armstrong Foundation.
"We're celebrating the lives of those who have beaten this disease and honoring those who have lost their lives to it," said Tamika Felder, founder and CEO of Tamika and Friends, Inc., and cervical cancer survivor. "It's saving women's lives and educating them about their bodies so they won't have to go through what I went through."
Felder was diagnosed with advanced cervical cancer in 2001. She said she didn't know much about cervical cancer and wasn't aware it was caused by a virus.
"I didn't believe it," she said. "I was 25 and you think you're invincible."
Her doctor said she would need to have a radical hysterectomy in order to save her life. With the desire to one day have children, Felder considered freezing her eggs before beginning chemotherapy, but was unable to find the money for the medical procedure her insurance company would not cover.
Compared with other health issues, Felder said she thinks reproductive health ranks somewhat "low on the totem pole, maybe because it deals with such an intimate area."
But that hasn't stopped her from offering support through Tamika and Friends, Inc., founded in 2002. In addition to online support, the organization also offers awareness campaigns, speaking engagements and House Party fiVe (HPV), events that blend girl talk with factual information about sexual health.
And although Felder said public focus seems to be drifting away from women's health toward the controversy around the HPV vaccine, they hope to refocus people with the event.
"This is not a political walk," said Kelley Smith, chair of Beat the Clock. "We're not promoting the vaccine. We're not denouncing the vaccine. Our issue is saving women's lives and their ability to bear children."
Published: May 7th, 2007.
Fia Curley is a writer for the OMHRC. Comments? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Cancer Data and Statistics
National Women’s Health Week events
HPV and Cancer
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