Nearly 200 women gathered this weekend for a lot of learning and a few laughs at Scotland Memorial Foundation’s 10th annual Women’s Health Event.
Held Saturday morning at First United Methodist Church in Laurinburg, the event consisted of health screenings and a series of educational seminars targeted toward improving women’s quality of life.
“It gives women an opportunity to really pamper themselves for the day, to think about ways to better take care of themselves, learn about all types of topics, meet people, just come together,” said Barbara Walsh of Laurinburg, attending for the fourth time.
The event sponsors included Scotland Wound Healing Center, Genoptix, Lewis Advertising, and Scotland Health Care Auxiliary. This year’s guests, women of all ages, numbered 178.
“This is my first time, but I’ve enjoyed it,” said Evelyn Goodwin Harrell of McColl. “It’s been a really really good time. I think women need to take better care of their health. They’re caretakers for everybody else. We need to start taking care of ourselves.”
Women attended three seminars, choosing from talks by cardiologist Matthew Block on heart blockages, orthopedic surgeon Ralph Carter on osteoporosis prevention and treatment, Hi-Lites owner Terry Gallman on fashion, radiation oncologist Chip Helms on the history of breast cancer, gastroenterologist Sebastian Abadie on the signs of colorectal cancer, OB/GYN Linda McClain on urinary incontinence, Scotland County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Mitch Johnson on safety, medical oncologist Kelvin Raybon on the myths and mysteries of cancer, and eating habits by dietitians Jennifer Kane and Robin Sirochman. Attendees also posed questions about their own medical experiences and those of their friends and family members.
Lunch and a keynote speech by Wilmington humorist Celia Rivenbark followed the series of discussions. Formerly a journalist with the Wilmington Morning Star, Rivenbark currently writes a weekly humor column for the Myrtle Beach, S.C. Sun News and has published several books.
“We Southern women always take care of everybody, sometimes at the expense of our own health and certainly our own sanity; it is just how we’re built,” Rivenbark said. “The idea that ya’ll would come here today on this beautiful Saturday and look for ways to improve your own health, physical, mental, spiritual, is simply impressive. I’m here today to remind you that when life gets particularly challenging and stressful, a sense of humor can help you survive. That and really good prescription drugs.”
A native of Duplin County, Rivenbark’s subject matter touched on many facets of life below the Mason-Dixon line, such as the Southern penchant for storytelling and gossip, devotion to college basketball, eccentric family members, and relocated Yankees.
“We embrace the crazy,” said Rivenbark. “When I write about my crazy Southern relatives, ya’ll, I do it with pride. And if some of them ever learn to read I’m going to be in big trouble.”