Support Connection Director Kathy Quinn

 

Support Connection Executive Director and Club Fit Member Kathy Quinn

Support Connection Executive Director and Club Fit Member Kathy Quinn

In this day and age, turning a negative into a positive is definitely a reason to celebrate. This October, local nonprofit Support Connection is celebrating the 20th anniversary of its first Support-A-Walk for Breast & Ovarian Cancer. This grassroots event today draws close to 10,000 participants, and laid the foundation for the organization itself, which opened its doors in the Roma Building in Yorktown Heights in September of 1996.

One of the driving forces behind Support Connection is Executive Director and Club Fit member Kathy Quinn, who was inspired to get involved after attending that first walk in 1995 in support of a close friend who was undergoing treatment for breast cancer. She found out about the walk while researching support services for her friend, and was moved by the turnout, which quadrupled the expected numbers from 200 to 800. She reached out to walk organizers Nancy Heller and Rich Adamski, and together with other supporters came up with the idea to use the funds raised to start up Support Connection as an educational and emotional resource for breast and ovarian cancer patients. The rest is history. “The unique thing about our organization’s model is that all of our professional Peer Counselors are cancer survivors,” says Kathy. “When we began, our idea was to give patients access to others who had gone through the same experience, and could truly understand their situation.” Support Connection has stayed true to that model to this day.

“Because we work very hard to operate within a very modest budget and use volunteers to assist with fundraising and outreach, nearly 90 percent of all funds raised goes directly to funding our free, confidential programs and services. I am blessed every day to see what a difference is being made, how a difficult situation can be helped by offering an anchor to someone in need.” Today, the number of support groups has grown to twelve, and services are offered nationwide. What started as a local resource is now an educational and emotional support system for thousands, with well over 5,000 people benefitting from the services offered to date. In our area, many take advantage of the one-on-one and group counseling, wellness seminars, toll-free educational teleconferences, and social workshops offered, including a yoga class held on Saturdays at Club Fit Jefferson Valley, for which Club Fit donates space.

“Club Fit has been a staunch supporter for many years, also sponsoring our golf outing,” says Kathy. “It’s really wonderful how they promote good overall health throughout our community, to all populations and age groups. Our survival is based on the support we get from local individuals and businesses like Club Fit.” Kathy, a Shrub Oak resident, is passionate about Support Connection’s mission, often working nights and weekends. “It’s so rewarding to see the end product of the work we do,” she says. “I come back every day for that reason.” She also devotes time to her husband, four children and two grandchildren, and tries to take time to take care of herself, using the Fitness Center and Aquatics Center at Club Fit. “I now understand the value of places like Club Fit, not just for the cancer patient, but also for the entire family,” she says. “Going to the gym is a step in the right direction for anyone physically, but it’s also a great stress reliever for those either going through or supporting a family member or friend going through cancer treatments.”

As successful as Support Connection has been, there is still much work to be done. “Our ongoing challenge is that while people value the support we provide, they don’t put a dollar amount on it,” says Kathy. “So much of the money that is raised in other nonprofits is used to fund research, but the emotional support our programs provide is also so critical in a cancer patient’s journey.” Kathy’s friend Isabel, who was the reason for Kathy attending that first walk, passed away not long after Support Connection was established, but Kathy considers her the inspiration that keeps her going. “Every day I work in loving memory of Isabel,” she says. And at every walk, the thousands of participants and volunteers are working and walking to honor those who have won as well as those who have lost the battle against breast and ovarian cancer.

For more information on how you can get involved or how you can access the services offered by Support Connection, visit www.supportconnection.org, or call the Support and Information Hotline at 1-800-532-4290. You can also register for or make a donation to this year’s Support-A-Walk, to be held at FDR State Park in Yorktown Heights on Sunday, October 5th, on the website. If you have never attended, Kathy highly recommends that you come, if just to experience the camaraderie. “As big as our event has become, the wonderful thing about it is that we are all there as one big family, celebrating and paying tribute to loved ones and letting people dealing with cancer know we are walking right beside them.”

Welcome to our new guest blogger and Club Fit family, Joy Cain!

Joy Cain

Published Author and Guest Blogger, Joy Cain

Joy Cain joined Club Fit in 2001 as a member, then five years later was hired to work in reception at Jefferson Valley. After six years behind the reception desk, Joy left it to return to her first loves, writing and editing. Joy also enjoys going to the movies, listening to gospel and R&B music, and reading the occasional trashy novel. Now once again a member of Club Fit, when she isn’t swimming or taking a yoga class, Joy can be spotted on the tennis court in search of that elusive down-the-line passing shot. Sadly, she hasn’t found it yet.

Our newest project keeps with our mission of going green: Net-Works Project

As a company, Club Fit is committed to making environmentally responsible decisions when it comes to our business operations and choices in products. We are happy to fill you in about the latest project we have started at Club Fit Jefferson Valley! We are having new carpeting installed. Not only is it a nice change, but the carpeting itself is made of recycled fishing nets through a project called “Net-Works.”

Here’s a little more about the project straight from the source: “The innovative collaboration of Interface, Inc. and the Zoological Society of London, called Net-Works™, has been created to tackle the growing problem of discarded fishing nets in some of the world’s poorest coastal communities. By establishing a community-based supply chain for discarded nets, Net-Works aims to improve the livelihood of local fishers while providing Interface with an innovative source of recycled materials for its carpet tiles.” (Source: Net-Works Project)

Carpeting Net-Works

Carpeting Net-Works

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Visit www.interface.com to learn more about their products and Net-Works.

Five things you can do to help prevent childhood obesity

habits begin early

habits begin early

Did you know that one in five children is overweight or obese by age 6?
You can help.

As parents, your role as a mentor and educator for your child are essential influencers in their lives. Help them learn habits that prevent childhood obesity and can keep them healthy for life.

Focus on a few goals:

1. Physical Activity: Provide 1-2 hours of physical activity throughout the day, including outside play when possible.
2. Screen Time: Try and limit screen time to no more than 30 minutes per day.
3. Food: Incorporate fruits or vegetables at every meal and eat foods closest to the original form
Ex> potato instead of mashed potatoes, or potato chips.
4. Beverages: Provide access to water during meals and throughout the day, and don’t serve sugary drinks. For children age 2 and older, serve low-fat (1%) or non-fat milk, and no more than one 4- to 6-ounce serving of 100% juice per day.
5). Sleep: Be sure children get adequate sleep. It is essential for proper functioning. At least 8 hrs. Per night.

If you are looking to get your children involved in sports, fitness and other great activities that will keep them active, visit Programs for infants, kids and teens at Club Fit Jefferson Valley and Programs for infants, kids and teens at Club Fit Briarcliff for information on some of the things we offer.

Just how important are our habits?

A recent viral video, “Rewind the Future”, has inspired us to write about the importance of healthy habits from the beginning of life.
We asked Fitness Director, Susie Reiner to share some thoughts with us and this is what she had to say . . .

“This video is a stark reminder of the importance of embracing a healthy lifestyle not just for ourselves but for the people we care for in our day to day life. Wellness is a lifelong commitment to maintaining and improving the human body and in essence, its resilience to aging. In most instances, we are responsible for our own health and sooner or later succumb to the facts that a well-balanced diet and regular physical activity enhances our lives more than indulgent food and sedentary habits. When bringing children into the world, as this video depicts, it is a slippery slope to letting unhealthy habits reign supreme in a child’s life. It is the parent, guardian, schools, community, and youth programs’ responsibility to establish a healthy environment for children to flourish in. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that more than one third of the United States’ population is obese and the chances of an adult being overweight or obese is greatly influenced by the behavioral habits instilled with them as a child and adolescent. We have the power in our own lifetime to change the quality of life for the next generation through consistent efforts to support a healthy lifestyle. Including fitness and lifestyle activities in a child’s life and developing a healthy relationship with wholesome food is crucial at an early age. And remember, it is never too late to make a change; health complications can be prevented by taking small steps to a longer future.”