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GROUP OFFERS TIPS ON COPING IN AFTERMATH OF TERRORISM

The Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the United States have left many people with feelings of worry, anxiety and fear. Many are overwhelmed by the enormity of the acts and their destructive consequences -- no doubt all part of the terrorists' intent.

Patricia A. Bax, coordinator of the Niagara Wellness Council, has some helpful tips for working through the emotional and psychological after effects.

Bax, a registered nurse who teaches a grief and loss course at Niagara County Community College, said having a supportive group where people can feel safe talking about what they are feeling is very helpful. So is participating in activities. One of the most damaging things is to stay alone and become isolated, she said. In her class, she said, students seem to value a place to come and talk openly about their feelings.

"It also seems there's a surge of returning to a spiritual center. People are returning to church, which is seen as a safe place. Community also is an important part of the process. I think that's why you see so many vigil services. Even though government has assured us about things becoming safer, it's the psychological piece I think people are really struggling with," Bax said.

Reaching out to others, especially those who are alone, also helps at a time when people feel "helpless and hopeless." Helping someone else can provide a sense that we're making a difference, Bax said. She recommends seeking out a neighbor or someone who lives alone or has no family.

The Wellness Council, a coalition that promotes health activities in Niagara County's work sites, schools and communities, has been gearing up for its first participation in Random Acts of Kindness Week, Nov. 11-17. The 6-year-old national program, which culminates on World Kindness Day on Nov. 13, perhaps has never before had such meaning as it does this year. Bax said the Wellness Council will release details soon, but there's no reason to wait to be kind.

"It's changing the cultural mind set. We want people to follow their hearts," Bax said.

She said people don't realize there are wellness benefits to doing acts of kindness, but studies show there are physical and mental benefits for the person who performs the kind act as well as the recipient of the kindness.

For idea sheets and other information, phone the Wellness Council at 284-9091 or email to niagwellness@opticlick.com. The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation's Web site is www.actsofkindness.org.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and there are many activities planned to observe it locally.

The Healthy Living Partnership of Niagara County is trying to get out the word to women with no health insurance or high deductibles that may deter getting care that they can still have mammograms and other cancer screening tests. Throughout the month, members of the partnership will drop off pamphlets on the program at hair salons, bingo halls, laundromats and small businesses that may not offer health insurance as a benefit, according to Lynda J. Mahoney, a registered nurse and coordinator of the partnership.

"It's an excellent program in that it helps with prevention and early detection of cancers in women, especially breast and cervical cancer. The bottom line is every Niagara County woman should feel comfortable that from the ages of 50 to 64 she can get a mammogram and pap test. That's the goal -- that there's no one falling through the cracks," Mahoney.

Women who have health insurance that does not cover screening mammograms or are under 40 years of age and have a close family member, such as a mother or sister, who has had breast cancer also may be eligible. Anyone who wants information or income guidelines should call 285-1461 or any hospital in Niagara County, all of whom are members of the partnership. Services are paid for under a grant from the state Health Department.

Other no-cost women's health services that are available through the partnership include annual clinical breast exams, instruction in breast self-examination and pelvic exams with pap smears.

Mahoney said Lockport Memorial Hospital and Newfane Inter-Community Memorial Hospital are offering no-cost mammograms regardless of age during the month of October. For details, call Susan Wendler of Lockport Memorial, 434-911, or Carolyn Moore at Inter-Community Hospital, 778-5111. Mahoney said no appointments are necessary for mammograms at St. Mary's, Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center and Summit HealthPlex.

Bradley J. Hutton, director of Breast and Cervical Screening Services for the state Health Department, will be the featured speaker at the partnership's first breakfast meeting at 8 a.m. on Oct. 17 at Niagara County Community College. Hutton will present information on the "New Breast and Cervical Treatment Act and Women's Health Partnership Milestones." The program is open to the public. For more information, call 285-1461.

Women and their friends and families are invited to participate in the International Breast Cancer Alliance's march across the Rainbow Bridge, "Bridging the Gap -- Breast Cancer Knows No Borders," on Oct. 21. The alliance and march are aimed at creating awareness that breast cancer is preventable and treatable. The alliance is a collaboration between Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center and Niagara Health System in Ontario and a number of other participants and sponsors.

Registration will begin at 8:30 a.m. in the Great American Balloon Co. on Rainbow Boulevard South. American and Canadian marchers will meet at 10 a.m. in the center of the bridge for a ceremony and then walk to the Skylon Tower Plaza for a one-hour breast cancer health education forum from 11:30 a.m.. to 12:30 p.m. The forum will include remarks by various dignitaries, presentations by health officials and physicians, a breast self-exam video and informational booths. For information, call 278-4569.

Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center also has two programs dedicated to breast cancer topics this month. Carolyn Farrell of Roswell Park Cancer Institute will be the guest speaker at "Breast Cancer: Family History and Genetics" from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Monday. "There Is Life After Breast Cancer" will be presented by a panel of American Cancer Society representatives and breast cancer survivors from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Oct. 10. Both programs will be in the auditorium of the Medical Center, 621 10th St. For information, call 278-4041.

Statistics show that breast cancer affects an estimated one in eight American women. According to the Mayo Clinic, it kills more women than any other cancer except lung cancer. The disease is the leading cause of death for American women in their 40s. An estimated 183,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer occur annually in the United States, and about 41,000 American women die of breast cancer.

Breast cancer detected and treated early is curable more than 95 percent of the time, according to the Mayo Clinic. Detection of a hard lump may be the first sign of invasive cancer. Most breast cancers have been present for several years before a lump can be detected.

Some other health highlights in Niagara County this month include:

Tuesday, a free informational forum on the differences between Medicare and managed Medicare, 6:30 p.m., Room 249 in St. Mary's, 5300 Military Road, Lewiston. A question and answer period will follow the presentations. To register, call 298-2145 or go to www.msmh.org.

Oct. 17, a Women's Health Program, "How to Monitor Internet Access and your Children." Presented by Steve Forrest and George W. Gast of the Buffalo FBI office, 6:30 to 8 p.m., in the auditorium of Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center, 621 10th St., phone 278-4041.

Oct. 18: Mount St. Mary's Hospital will observe National Physical Therapy Month with an open house from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Rehabilitation Services Department. The department provides physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy. Outpatient as well as inpatient physical therapy services are available at the hospital. Tours of the department and equipment demonstrations will be given throughout the day.

Oct. 28, Mount St. Mary's Hospital Rehabilitation Services Department will hold its first Greater Niagara Family 5K Fun Run & Walk at the hospital. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m., a stretching clinic at 9:15 a.m. with the race start at 10 a.m. There will be a post-race party and awards ceremony, massages and goodies for all. Wheelchair racers and walkers and runners of all abilities are encouraged to enter.

The pre-registration fee is $14 for runners and $8 for walkers up to Oct. 15. Race day registration is $16 for runners and $10 for walkers. Registration forms are available at the hospital information desk or by calling 298-2249.

Mount St. Mary's Hospital also is hosting four new community support groups: The PKU- Protein Free Kids Unite Support Group, the Fibromyalgia Support Group, Transplants Saves Lives of Western New York support group, and the Sleep Apnea Support Group. For more information on all of the support groups and education programs at Mount St. Mary's, call Sister Pat at 298-2145.

The PKU Support Group will meet at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in Room 723A of the hospital. People with PKU are unable to break down food protein so that their bodies can use it. They require special formulas, diets and frequent blood tests. Information, recipes and emotional support are part of the groups' goals. For more information, call Becky at 297-6512.

The Fibromyalgia Support Group meets week at 1 p.m. on the first Saturday of the month, beginning this week, in Room 249. Persons suffering from fibromyalgia and their families and friends are invited to attend. Information on the symptoms and signs and how to cope with fibromyalgia will be available. For more information, call Lisa Batterson at 298-5481.

The Transplants Save Lives of Western New York support group meets at 6:30 p.m. on the second Tuesday of the month in Room 723A. Any organ-transplant recipient, as well as those waiting for an organ, and donor family members, are welcome to attend. For more information, call Elizabeth at 297-5836.

The Sleep Apnea Support Group meets at 6:30 p.m. on the third Tuesday of the month in Room 723A. All individuals who have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, and their families, are welcome. For more information, call Karen Pachter at 773-6166 or Betty Black at 283-1548.

e-mail: jscelsa@buffnews.com

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