Pink Glove Video Dance

By: Crissie Miller Kirby

Over the last year I have been so blessed in having been chosen as one of the Every Woman bloggers.  I have had a chance to pursue my lifelong dream of writing and have had the chance to meet some wonderful people and gain much self confidence through this endeavor.  However, few things can match being asked to participate in the Lexington Medical Center’s video for the 2nd annual Pink Glove Dance competition.

As soon as the email came in inviting the bloggers, I knew I wanted to be in attendance.  For those of you who may not know, the Pink Glove Dance is a competition is sponsored by the medical supply company, Medline; the winner of which will choose a breast cancer research foundation to receive a $10,000 donation.  And if you missed the big news from last year, our own Lexington Medical Center was the inaugural competition’s winner, securing the $10,000 for the Vera Bradley Foundation.

Breast cancer is a devastating and debilitating disease.  It knows no boundaries; striking young and old; black and white; even male and female.  My mother-in-law was diagnosed with it shortly before my oldest son was born in 2005; almost seven years later she is cancer free.  One of my dearest friends was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010 at the relatively young age of 40; almost three years later, she, too, is cancer free.  In 2011, this same friend asked me to join her in participating in a Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer walk in Florida.  What an honor and awesome experience it was for me to walk beside her and watch her cross the finish line after all she had been through.  Being able to participate in the Pink Glove Dance was another way for me to honor these two ladies in my life and all those who have battled breast cancer.

Fast forward to the day of the taping of the finale sequence of the dance; when I arrived at the hospital locale for the shoot, I stood back in awe of the number of people in attendance.  Young, old, male, female; just as breast cancer knows no boundaries, those wanting to stand up in the fight against it knew no boundaries either.  There were doctors and nurses; hospital staff; and even a hospital chaplain who clearly had to have been in the roughly 70-year-age range (he impressed me the most as he stayed and danced the entire 4 hours in a clergy collar, no less).

As rehearsals began, I was reminded of just how terribly uncoordinated I was; in the end, it made no difference because we were all learning the moves together, for a common cause.  As daylight turned into dusk and then darkness, the site was illuminated with energy (and some really big flood lights).  We pressed on, encouraged continually by the choreographer and director.  The atmosphere was absolutely phenomenal and unmatched by just about anything I have witnessed in my 34 years.

During one of the breaks, I remember telling Jennifer Wilson how neat it was to see the breast cancer survivors themselves, many of whom had been highlighted by name in last year’s video.  They truly were the stars of the night; and rightfully so.  Their untiring and unwavering spirit was evidence of what they truly must have gone through during their battles with this dreaded disease.  I think it helped to motivate all of us; I know it did me.

As the filming drew to a close, I looked around at all of the people present for this undertaking and reflected on what a wonderful and moving experience it had been for me, personally.  To be surrounded by so many people all fighting for a common cause without regard to race, gender, religion; it was truly an inspiring event.

Once upon a time, breast cancer was hard to detect and treat.  Today, depending on stage of detection, some breast cancer survival rates near 100%.  Obviously, early detection and treatment are key in continuing to increase the survival rates. However, new and more effective treatments are continually needed and this is what the Pink Glove Dance represents – a chance to utilize funding to assist in research, development, and testing so that maybe one day, breast cancer will be nothing more than a memory of days gone by.

In closing, obviously, we would LOVE to see a repeat win for Lexington Medical Center in the Pink Glove Dance Competition! This year’s video is set to the encouraging song “Part of Me” by Katy Perry, and chronicles the breast cancer battle of one of Lexington Medical Center’s own nurses.  Voting will begin on Friday, October 12th.  Be on the lookout on Facebook for the video’s debut.  Make sure to “Like” it, share it and help Lexington Medical Center secure another $10,000 donation to the Vera Bradley Foundation!

Good Luck LMC!  Job well done!

Nutrition’s Role in Cancer Prevention

By:  Donna Quirk, MBA, RD, LD
LMC Clinical Nutrition Manager

October is Cancer Prevention Month and Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  All of us probably know someone who has had cancer.  The food choices you make can play an important role in cancer prevention.

There are a wide variety of foods that contain macronutrients, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals that may provide protection against developing several different types of cancer.  The good news is that not only are they good for cancer prevention, but they are just plain good for you!

So what should you eat to make a difference?

  • Apples provide 10% of the Vitamin C and fiber needed daily.  Gut bacteria uses an apple’s pectin to protect colon cells.  Apples have a variety of phytochemicals.  Be sure to eat the whole apple – the peel has at least a third of an apples’ cancer protective compounds.
  • Cruciferous Vegetables are excellent sources of fiber, Vitamin C, carotenoids (beta-carotene), and folate.  The vegetables in this category provide protection against cancers of the colon, esophagus, mouth, and stomach.  Cruciferous vegetables are broccoli, brussels sprouts, rapini, green cabbage, cauliflower, turnips, and dark green leafy vegetables like kale and collard greens.
  • Blueberries and Cranberries are antioxidant “powerhouses” due to their rich amount of phytochemicals such as flavanols, anthocyanins, catechins, resveratrol, and ellagic acid.
  • Dry Beans, Split Peas, and Lentils provide 20% of our daily fiber requirements and 10% of our daily protein needs.  They are also an excellent source of folate.  Folate may help reduce pancreatic cancer and fiber may help reduce colon cancer.  Other phytochemicals in beans, peas, and lentils help reduce the effects of inflammation and, therefore, may decrease cancer risk but the research is ongoing.
  • Whole Grains such as wheat, oats, barley, brown rice, quinoa, and corn also provide fiber, selenium, and other anti-oxidants.

So, how do you put it all together?  Ideally, start planning your meals and eating based on the “My Plate” recommendations from the USDA or the “Healthy Eating Plate” from the Harvard School of Public Health.  Both recommend filling half your plate with vegetables and fruits and a quarter of your plate with whole grains.

And, finally, researchers believe that it is how nutrients work together in all the foods we eat that really makes a difference.  So, enjoy a wide variety of whole foods – they are your best cancer defense.

Winter Squash

By: Susan K. Wilkerson, RD, LD
Clinical Dietitian

Acorn Squash

Squash comes in many different shapes and sizes.  Different varieties are available throughout the year.  Summer squash arrives in stores soon after harvest is meant to be eaten shortly there after.  Winter squash is available in the summer and late fall.  Winter squash are “good keepers” and became known as a winter vegetable because they would “keep” until December back in the days when refrigerators were not around.  Winter squash is harvested when the “fruit” is fully matured.  The skin is a deep, solid color with a hard skin.  When you purchase them, the stem should be attached.

All varieties of winter squash are low in calories and are good sources for complex carbohydrates and fiber.  They are excellent sources of Vitamin A and a very good source of Vitamin C, potassium, dietary fiber and manganese.  They are also a good source of folate, omega 3 fatty acids, thiamin, copper, tryptophan, vitamin B6, niacin and pantothenic acid.  They contain healthy supporting antioxidants – lutein and zeaxanthin.

It would take a whole page to describe all the healthy reasons to eat winter squash!

All varieties of winter squash are easy to prepare.  For butternut and acorn squash, just cut the squash in half, remove the seeds and place in a baking dish with one inch of water to “steam.”  The squash is ready when it is fork tender.  Remove the flesh from the skin with a spoon or just eat it out of it natural container.  Spaghetti squash can be steamed whole in the oven or microwave.  Once tender to touch, cut it in half, remove the seeds, and “rake” out the flesh with a fork.  The flesh will look like spaghetti.  You can serve it hot, tossed with a drizzle of olive oil and parmesan cheese or use it in place of spaghetti noodles and top with your favorite pasta sauce.

So, eat a variety of squash.  They are delicious, good for you and add more color to you plate.

Spag Squash

Butter Squash