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Friday, June 17, 2011

Support a Good Cause

Want to get some fresh air and exercise while you’re at it? Why not sign up for an  benefitting a cause that’s near and dear to you . That’s what I did last Saturday when I participated in the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network’s (PanCan) 9th annual Walk Through the Vineyards at the historic Charles Krug Winery in Napa. Over 600 people registered to walk, and the last I heard PanCan had brought in well over $115,000 for the day.

As we all know, pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest cancers there is. I want to offer a few of the stats from the PanCan fact sheet: 

  • Pancreatic cancer is the 10th most commonly diagnosed cancer but the 4th leading cause of cancer death in the U.S.
  • 94% of patients die within five years of diagnosis, and 75% die within one year.
  • In the 40 years since the passage of the National Cancer Act in 1971, the five-year survival rate for pancreatic cancer has only improved from 3% to 6%.
  • New pancreatic cancer cases and the number of deaths from it are increasing, with the number of new cases projected to grow by 55% between 2010 and 2030.
I could go on, but you get the picture. We have to do more to find a cure for pancreatic cancer.

There are many opportunities to support a cause you may care about, be it breast cancer, multiple sclerosis, cystic fibrosis or leukemia/lymphoma, to name just a few. Check their websites for an event being sponsored near you. Then get out there and participate in honor of a friend or loved one. You’ll help bring awareness to the cause and raise much-needed funding for research to find a cure. And you’ll have the added benefit of getting some fresh air and exercise while you’re at it.


Sunday, June 12, 2011

A Night in Treme came to San Francisco

Music from the acclaimed HBO series Treme raised the roof of Davies Symphony Hall this past Friday night as part of SFJazz. The beloved Rebirth Brass Band, trumpeter Kermit Ruffins, clarinetist Dr. Michael White, Alto saxophone star Donald Harrison Jr. and trombonist Big Sam Williams brought the sell-out crown to their feet and kept them moving for several hours.

Everyone felt the infectious beat. Jazz-lovers were swinging their arms and dancing in the aisles. Sixty or so guests clamored on stage to shake their booties in rythym to the music. A number of fancy, sparkly umbrellas were raised and a Second Line formed. When it was over, people were wasted but happy and energized.

It was so much fun! A perfect example of pure physical activity, which got me thinking. Why do people generally associate physical activity with that dreaded word, exercise? Why do parents drive their children to school, then rush off to the gym? We walk our dogs but wheel our toddlers in strollers. And we wonder why there is a prevalence of childhood obesity.

I was talking about how to promote physical activity the other day with an educator who works with preschoolers. She said that she had asked dozens of children how they knew that their Mommys and Daddys loved them. The answer in every single case was the same. "I know my Mommy and my Daddy love me because they play with me."

We need to focus more on having fun playing with our children and worry less about running on the treadmill.
It's advice I'm going to take myself.

~ Paula