Friday, 26 September 2014 13:46

Kiera Palmer Raises It Up for Breast Cancer

At first glance, Kiera Palmer seems like an unlikely breast cancer activist. She spreads awareness and raises research funds for this disease that traditionally affects women twice her age. She works long hours in the insurance industry, which doesn't seem like it would allow much spare time for fundraising. She hasn't had the disease herself. And yet, an activist she is. "I did the Susan G. Komen 3-Day Walk four times," she remembers. "I would have a fundraiser every fall for people to donate to the walk." In 2013, she took her passion to the next level by spearheading the launch of The Pink Agenda in Atlanta, a 501c3 nonprofit dedicated to breast cancer awareness and fundraising. "It's like a second full-time job, for sure," she says with a smile. But, she points out, "I'm so passionate about what we're doing that it's not work."

Where does that passion come from? Like many things in life, it started with her mother. When Palmer was just 16 years old, her mother passed away from breast cancer. Cindi Ranke was only 40 at the time, which spurs her daughter's activism today: she works to include young women in the awareness of this disease, knowing that they may be at risk just as early in life as her own mother was.

In the summer of 2013, Palmer was poised to begin her annual fundraising efforts for breast cancer, with October only a few months away. For years, she had been active in awareness walks and held annual fundraising events on her own, but now she was ready to step it up even more. In researching organizations she could get involved with, Palmer came across The Pink Agenda, a nonprofit in New York City affiliated with the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF). "I had never heard about The Pink Agenda, which surprised me, because I try to stay very involved with what's going on. So I read up about it and it kind of hit me – that was exactly what I was trying to do."

writtingTheir mutual goal was, and still is, to include the younger generation in breast cancer awareness. No dull sit-down dinners for this organization: they cater to a 25- to 40-year-old crowd by hosting events with open bars and DJs. At age 30 herself, and ready to get more involved, Palmer didn't hesitate to email The Pink Agenda's president, founder and treasurer – anyone she could find on their contact list. She asked them if they wanted to branch out of New York and bring their efforts into Atlanta, and the answer was a resounding "yes." Palmer was quickly on a plane headed to the BCRF office in New York City.

After a meeting with The Pink Agenda's New York team and Myra Biblowit, president of BCRF, Palmer returned to Atlanta empowered to launch the organization's first satellite chapter. Atlanta Pink Agenda's first big event, Toast to a Cure, happened "basically two months later," Palmer remembers. "It was pretty tough to get the word out and get sponsors on such short notice," but despite those challenges, she managed to pull it off with the support of her company, clients and Atlanta network. The event, which included drinks, music and a silent auction, brought in an impressive $56,000.

Staying true to The Pink Agenda's desire to cater to young breast cancer supporters and victims, a portion of these funds were awarded to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute's Program for Young Women with Breast Cancer in the form of a direct care grant. Increasingly, those young women seem to be all around us. Palmer says, "We have two women on our board of directors who are 31 and 29 who are both breast cancer survivors. We actually have a young woman coming to speak at [Toast to a Cure 2014] who is 30, and she is a three-time breast cancer survivor." And of course, Palmer's mother is never far from her mind – Ranke, passed away from the disease at just 40 years old. "We want people to know that it's not just your grandmother," Palmer says. "This is affecting people you are hanging out with every single day." And unfortunately, according to a study of more than 200,000 women in the SEER database, under-40 women with breast cancer are 39 percent more likely to die from it than their over-40 counterparts.


And The Pink Agenda's answer to that frightening fact is, as they say, to "raise money, raise awareness and raise hell." Bringing this feisty spirit to their important work helps pull in the younger crowd at events like Pink Your Drink, which they held in May at a local bar, or the annual Toast to a Cure, which will be held for the second year on October 16. "If you're going out and you're going to have a good time, come have a good time for something good," Palmer says. To that end, this year's Toast to a Cure includes a DJ, an open bar, a silent auction and heavy hors d'oeuvres. And true to The Pink Agenda's mission and Palmer's enthusiastic, dedicated spirit, it includes the promise of a meaningful good time.





The Pink Agenda awards a check to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation from last year's funds.

Toast to a Cure 2014

Where: Mason Murer Fine Art, 199 Armour Drive, Atlanta, GA
When: Thursday, October 16, 2014
Tickets cost $50 until September 26,
$75 until October 16

Friday, 26 September 2014 13:15

Breast Cancer: Then and Now





With the rapid progression of diagnostic technology, the Internet, social media and awareness campaigns in the latter half of the 20th century, it may be hard to believe that the topic of breast cancer was once taboo in America. But until the 1970s, it was not a disease that women discussed publicly. Then several famous women including Betty Ford, Happy Rockefeller and Nancy Reagan began to discuss their experience with breast cancer, and by the 1980s, many other organizations sprang up to support education, research and treatment. The diagnosis and death rates associated with this disease have changed, too. This month, we're taking a look at breast cancer by the numbers to see how the disease – and our approach to it – has changed through the years.Breast-Cancer-Infographic

As the numbers show, everything from awareness and funding to survival rates and information on genetic influences has improved in the last few decades. As we continue to learn more about influential factors and treatment options, the numbers will only look better from here.

Supportive Strides

In 1984, Massachusetts cancer survivor Margery Gould Rath wanted to celebrate fellow cancer survivors by raising funds for the American Cancer Society. With a committee of fellow survivors and other volunteers, Margie created a “move-along-a-thon” called Making Strides Against Cancer. The first event, held in Boston, drew 200 participants and instantly became an annual city tradition. In 1993, the event officially became known as the American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, attracting 4,000 walkers at events in Boston and in Manchester, New Hampshire. Since then, Margie’s vision has inspired 10 million walkers to participate in Making Strides events in more than 300 communities across the country, raising more than $594 million to fight breast cancer. Margie remained a dedicated Making Strides volunteer until she lost her battle with cancer in 2001. This year, Atlanta’s Making Strides walks take place at Centennial Olympic Park on October 25 and in Marietta on November 1.
– Courtesy of the American Cancer Society,

30 Days of Pink

Many more local events and products support breast cancer awareness and research throughout October! Find them on p. 42.

Editorial Resources
Evelyn Barella, American Cancer Society –
Anita Johnson, MD, FACS, Cancer Treatment Centers of America –
Jeralynn Scott, WellStar Kennestone Women’s Imaging –
April L. Speed, MD, Just Breast, LLC –
Jayanthi Srinivasiah, MD, DeKalb Medical –
Cati Diamond Stone, Susan G. Komen of Greater Atlanta –
Lynn Baxter, MD, Northside Hospital –
Laura C. Taylor, WellStar Douglas Hospital –

The music is bumping, and you're sipping your favorite cocktail, exchanging glances with someone tall, dark and handsome across the room. The lights flash on signaling "last call," but you're not ready to leave the crowded club. Oh, wait. We're talking about a different kind of clubbing.
This month, we've rounded up some of the best and most welcoming clubs in Atlanta. From bookworms to barbecue lovers, there really is a club for everyone. These active groups keep the heartbeat in our city, allowing people of all ages to come together and bond over a common passion. Let's go clubbing, Atlanta.


001The Wine Cellars Wine of the Month Club

Whether you have an untrained palate or you fancy yourself a wine connoisseur, it's easy to get stuck drinking the same familiar wines over and over. The Wine Cellars Wine of the Month Club will keep things fresh, though, featuring two new wines each month and holding member-only wine tastings. "Member-only wine tastings often feature winemakers and always feature tastings with higher-end wines," says Reneé Rowe, the group's president. Monthly memberships cost $39.99, but discounts are available if you pay to join for three, six or 12 months at a time. Plus, Rowe says, members receive a monthly newsletter. "The TWC Newsletter includes information on featured wines, recipes, gift features and more."

Fun Fact: You are allowed to bring one guest to the monthly tastings, or you can purchase a membership for a friend. Just make a note of "gift" in the comments section when you order online, and your friends will be ready to wine and dine right along with you.

Insider Info: The Wine Cellars also hosts two large galas each year, which are catered and feature special tastings of more than 30 high-end wines for their members.

Details: 1295 W. Spring St., Suite 100, Smyrna, GA,


002Atlanta Over 40

If you're looking for the perfect blend of social and professional networking, the Atlanta Over 40 club might be for you. Darrah Brustein, the group's founder, says, "The people who attend are of the same mindset and are attracted to events that allow them to enjoy great conversations without fear of being sold something or being hit on, like might happen at a singles event." Events consist of three-hour happy hours, giving you a chance to explore and mingle through a high-energy crowd.

Fun Fact: No memberships for this club! Just come to any events that fit your schedule.

Insider Info: This group grew out of the success of Atlanta Under 40, so if you don't meet the age requirement for Atlanta Over 40, you have another great option to have fun and network.



003Atlanta BBQ Club

Have you ever attended a "meating" in Atlanta? Here's your chance. Every month, the members of the Atlanta BBQ Club meet up at a local barbecue spot to eat, chat with the owner of the restaurant and receive a tour of the smoker and kitchen. Live like a true Southerner and attend some awesome events like The Atlanta BBQ Festival held every year. "Everyone loves barbecue, and it brings people together for good food and good memories. Hog heaven on earth," says Bob Herndon, the down-to-earth club president.

Fun Fact: Atlanta boasts the highest ratio of barbecue restaurants per capita of any other city in the nation, and we're the only city in the U.S. with a barbecue club. Even more reason to join!

Insider Info: The Atlanta BBQ Club offers an app for iPhones called "Atlanta BBQ Club Locator." No matter where you are, you can always find some delicious barbecue nearby.



004Big Peach Running Co.

From the newest newbie to the most seasoned running veteran, you will find a home at the Big Peach Running Co. Their "no runner left behind" policy ensures that you will get fit, stay safe and have fun. "We always have someone leading the pack for the faster runners as well as someone at the back of the pack to make sure no one gets lost or is left behind," says Karen Kaye of Big Peach Running Co. The group offers various distance runs – anywhere from one to six miles on a given day. Long distance runs are offered Saturday mornings for those training for half or full marathons. To join, just show up for their runs whenever you're available.

Fun Fact: You don't have to be a runner to join the club. Big Peach Running Co. embraces walkers, day hikers, racewalkers, run/walkers, folks just getting started and those with a lot
of experience.

Insider Info: Be sure to sign up for their weekly e-newsletter for an insider's look into special activities and updates.




005Atlanta Sport and Social Club

Remember recess? The Atlanta Sport and Social Club serves active adults interested in playing sports, having fun and staying active. You can either sign up as a free agent or sign up with friends as a team. Don't worry – you don't have to be a prior Olympian to join the league. Think of it as a great way to meet new people and add some variety to your exercise routine.

Fun Fact: The club hosts ATL Field Day, giving the adults of Atlanta a chance to get down and dirty and vie for the title of "King of the Field."

Insider Info: The club's demographic mainly includes adults from ages 24 to 35. About 60 percent of participants are male, and 40 percent are female. Not bad, ladies!



006Alliance Française d'Atlanta

Indulge your sophisticated side by considering a membership with Atlanta's premiere provider of French language and culture. This nonprofit organization is supported by its members, requesting just $5 a month to join. Have an itch to get out of town? Practice what you've learned and join the group in one of their organized trips to a French speaking country. "It's like a little slice of France in Atlanta," says Wendy Robertet, communications director of the club, and people of all backgrounds are welcome. "I love meeting people from all over the world who share my affinity for the French language and culture," Robertet says.

Fun Fact: Classes are available for students as young as 12 months old. Your toddler can join the BeBe Alliance class and start her cultural experience early.

Insider Info: The club has two locations, Midtown and
Roswell, making it accessible for both the ITP and OTP crowd. Class sessions usually run for 10 weeks, with three hours of language learning per week.



007Atlanta Outdoor Club

Need some fresh air? Get off your couch with the Atlanta Outdoor Club, founded in 2000 for Atlantans ages 21 and up. This organization hosts more than 200 outdoor events each year, including urban hikes on the BeltLine, camping in Georgia's state parks and rafting or paddling trips on the Ocoee. Jennifer Howle, the group's vice president, says, "Being able to leave behind the stress of work and day-to-day life to connect with nature is priceless." In addition to the connection with nature, you can't beat their activities in terms of fitness. "I have seen people drop 50 pounds and go from being able to barely hike a mile to scaling a mountain with ease," Howle says.

Fun Fact: Membership is free! Simply join online to begin registering for events. There may be occasional fees associated with specific trips, but most of their events are free.

Insider Info: Before signing up for an event, check out the difficulty rating online. Even if you're enthusiastic, you don't want to get stuck in an event that is more demanding than you expected.



008Midtown Review Book Club

Get swept away by a love story or wrapped up in a mystery novel at the Midtown Review Book Club. This book club's attendees are low-key, welcoming to new members and always up for a good discussion. Monthly meetings usually include 10 to 20 members sitting down for dinner and drinks at a local restaurant, followed by two questions: "Did everyone read the book?" and "Did everyone like the book?" Then the conversation takes off from there. The organizer of the club, Dana Barrett, is a former independent bookstore owner with a passion for books, authors and readers. The organization attracts people of all ages from diverse backgrounds who share a common love of reading and are open to discussing important topics, and the voluntary membership fee is just $24 per year.

Fun Fact: The club often hosts local or visiting authors to join in and deepen the discussion.

Insider Info: In addition to monthly meetings, the group posts about book signings, author visits and more on their Meetup page, so you can keep your finger on the pulse of Atlanta's literary scene.



So whether you're interested in food, fitness or good old-fashioned fun, these Atlanta clubs can deliver. Join in today!


Editorial Resources:
Dana Barrett, Midtown Review Book Club –
Darrah Brustein, Atlanta Over 40 –
Bob Herndon, Atlanta BBQ Club –
Jennifer Howle, Atlanta Outdoor Club –
Karen Kaye, Big Peach Running Co. –
Korey Meek, Atlanta Sport and Social Club –
Wendy Robertet, Alliance Française d'Atlanta –

How do you know when it's time to have the "conversation" with aging parents?
Some signs to look for are depression, recent falls or injuries, long term illness, not being able to take care of activities of daily living (ADLs), weight loss, not taking medications, burning food or leaving on burners in the home.

What are the issues that should take priority?
A majority of seniors are now planning for the future and have discussed or planned their wills and finances. Health care usually takes the back seat to these items because this is an unknown for most seniors unless they have a serious health condition to begin with.

barWhat is the best way to approach the subject of moving to an assisted living facility?
Getting a calendar of activities as well as pictures of the well-appointed apartments can be helpful. It's important to emphasize that they will be moving to a "community" and not a "facility" where they can participate in activities and enjoy living with their peers.

What are some strategies for dealing with a parent who is resistant to change?
Remind the senior that they won't have to worry about their safety or being alone anymore. At Renaissance on Peachtree, there are licensed caregivers available to residents 24/7, and they always have someone to talk to and do activities with. Emphasize how nice it will be not to deal with housework or yard work, and stress the convenience of having someone else prepare their meals every day. We always encourage prospective residents to join us for a meal so they have an opportunity to try our food, meet our staff and mingle with our residents.

restaurantWhat are the most important things to look for when selecting an assisted
living facility for aging parents?

Go to these places unannounced and visit several so you get a feel for what the environment and staff is like. Are there residents in the lobby sleeping, or are they visiting and having fun? Taste the food and look at an activity calendar. Talk to current residents while taking the tour and note the odor and cleanliness of the community. Utilize the Internet to look for comments on the community, or check out the last state survey result. The family needs to feel that the staff and community will keep their loved one safe and well cared for.

Renaissance on Peachtree
3755 Peachtree Road NE, Atlanta, GA 30319 | (404) 237-2323

Debra Taylor is a Registered Nurse and serves as Corporate Health and Wellness Director at Leisure Care.
Crystal Spradley is a Registered Nurse and serves as Health and Wellness Director at The Renaissance on Peachtree.


Friday, 05 September 2014 15:22

What Men Need to Know

It is the most common form of cancer among American men, disproportionately affecting those over the age of 50. While nearly 200,000 men may be diagnosed with the disease in a given year, some may never suffer health problems as a result of it. Still, it remains the second most common cause of death for white, African-American and Hispanic men. We are talking about prostate cancer, which impacts the male reproductive system. The cause of this disease remains unclear. James Hamrick, M.D., chief of oncology and hematology for Kaiser Permanente of Georgia, says it's important for men to educate themselves about prostate health and talk with their doctor to determine if testing is right for them.

What is prostate cancer?
The prostate is a walnut-sized gland in men, located just below the bladder, which produces fluid found in semen. Men suffering from prostate cancer have an abnormal growth of cells in this gland. Cancerous cells in the prostate tend to grow slowly, which is why men who are diagnosed with prostate cancer often die from other causes. Still, early detection of the disease is key to providing treatment for more aggressive prostate cancers.

What are the symptoms of prostate cancer?
In the early stages of the disease, many men experience no symptoms. However, prostate cancer can cause urinary problems. Talk with your doctor if you experience the following symptoms:

  • Pain or burning sensation while urinating
  • Trouble starting or stopping the flow of urine
  • Inability to urinate
  • Frequent urination
  • Blood in your urine

How do I know if I have prostate cancer?
Prostate cancer is often found during a routine rectal exam and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test. High levels of PSA in blood can mean that you have prostate cancer or other issues related to your prostate gland. As a result, your doctor may opt to take a sample of tissue from your prostate to determine if cancerous cells are present. You should talk with your doctor about whether prostate cancer screening is right for you.

Is treatment available for prostate cancer?
Yes. If the cancer is not aggressive, your doctor may choose to monitor its growth over time. However, radiation, hormone therapy and surgery are other treatment options.

Although the cause of prostate cancer is unknown, are there risk factors?
Age, family history and race can impact your chances of developing prostate cancer. Men who are over the age of 50, African-American, or have an immediate family member with prostate cancer are more likely to develop the disease.


James Hamrick, MD
Chief of Oncology and Hematology  |

Dr. James Hamrick is chief of oncology and hematology for Kaiser Permanente of Georgia, the state's largest not-for-profit health plan serving 260,000 members through 30 medical centers across metro Atlanta and in Athens.


Friday, 05 September 2014 15:00

Georgia Urology

Friday, 05 September 2014 14:59

Georgia Urology

Friday, 05 September 2014 14:58

Georgia Urology

Friday, 05 September 2014 14:57

Georgia Urology

Friday, 05 September 2014 14:56

Georgia Urology