Tag Archives: erie

Help fund HOPE: Support the American Cancer Society

Let’s fund RESEARCH to SAVE LIVES!

Let’s fund PROGRAMS to provide SUPPORT.

Let’s fund HOPE to show LOVE.

Will you join me in providing much-needed donations to help fight back against cancer?

tl;dr: I’m raising funds to help support American Cancer Society research, programs and services. Make a $20 donation here.

Have more time? Keep reading?

COVID-19 and cancer

COVID-19 safety measures kept millions of us safer during the height of uncertainty over the last few years. But the ripple effect on cancer screenings is alarming, according to a recent American Cancer Society study.

In the survey conducted between 2018 and 2020, past-year breast and cervical cancer screening prevalence declined by 6% and 11%, respectively.

“The study is the first of its kind and confirms that breast, cervical and colon cancer screenings dropped during the pandemic with millions of screenings missing in 2020,” the peer-reviewed Journal of the American Medical Association wrote in its story.

Why is this relevant? The American Cancer Society focuses efforts on screening education and outreach. Supporting the American Cancer Society will help more people get screened and educated on the risks of cancer and preventative measures.

18 million cancer survivors

A new American Cancer Society report shows 18 million Americans with a history of cancer were living in the United States as of Jan. 1.

That’s great news!

But, that means more research is needed to better understand and support people living with cancer.

“As the population of cancer survivors continues to grow and age, there is an increased need for guidance for health professionals, caregivers, and patients on how to manage late and long-term effects of cancer and its treatment, maintain healthy behaviors and limit financial toxicity,” said Kimberly Miller, scientist, surveillance and health equity science at the ACS, and lead author of the study. “In addition, the survivor population is increasingly diverse, and further resources are needed to ensure equitable access to survivorship care.”

Study: Racial disparities in cancer treatment and survival suggest large inequalities in access to care

That same American Cancer Society study found that there are substantial racial disparities in treatment.

For example, according to the study, receipt of surgery is substantially lower among Black patients than white patients with non-small cell lung cancer, 49% versus 55% for stages I-II and 16% versus 22% for stage III, according to the American Cancer Society.

One of the largest racial disparities occurs in the treatment of rectal cancer, where 41% of Black patients with stage I disease receive proctectomy or proctocolectomy compared to 66% of white patients, according to the American Cancer Society.

Treatment disparities are exacerbated by later-stage diagnosis in Black people than in white people for most cancers, with one of the largest disparities for uterine corpus cancer (59% vs. 73% diagnosed with stage I disease, respectively).

“More evidence-based strategies and equitable access to available resources are needed to mitigate disparities for communities of color,” Miller said.

So, what can you do? What can WE do?

With YOUR support, the American Cancer Society is making a difference in the fight against cancer through research grants that help to uncover better ways to treat cancer, find cancer and help people with cancer live better lives.

With YOUR support, the American Cancer Society is helping to fund programs and services that provide support to cancer patients, their families and, really, all of us.

Among these programs includes the organization’s 24/7 cancer support line, which offers a live human available any hour of the day to answer any questions you might have about cancer. You can call 1-800-227-2345.

See you Saturday in Erie!

Visit the American Cancer Society Relay For Life of Erie County between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. June 25 at Liberty Park in Erie, Pennsylvania!

See the events schedule!

WHY I RELAY…

This year marks my 26th year as a participant, supporter and volunteer with the American Cancer Society. What began as a way to celebrate and remember the life of my grandmother has grown to celebrate, remember and honor far too many other people who have been impacted by cancer.

Your support will help fund research, programs, services, information — and it will help fund hope.

‘I don’t have to apologize for letting go or choosing things in the name of my peace and healing’

I did something this week that was long overdue: I stepped away from all of my volunteer and extracurricular activities.

I stepped back from volunteering* with an organization I’ve been heavily involved with for more than 25 years.

I officially resigned from a nonprofit board position, stepped back from a few other nonprofits where I’ve offered assistance or volunteered and said no to some recent asks for my help in other activities.

And it feels good.

(Continue reading below the Instagram post.)

Being forced last year to pause so much helped me take a hard look at what I was spending my life doing. Like a lot of you, I said “yes” far too much.

I’ve been going hard at volunteering for nonprofits for way too long. For many years, I tried to keep track of my hours spent volunteering and I easily racked up anywhere from 1,800 to 2,600 hours a year volunteering.

I’ve put so much time in, and I just needed to take a break — something I’ve been trying to do for a few years now. But every time I found myself with extra time, I found some nonprofit group or activity to fill its void. I’ve said “yes” too often just thinking it would be a simple ask, and it usually wasn’t.

The ongoing global pandemic has taught me that I need to slow down and live my life.

The nonprofit groups will continue. The other activities will go on.

When I’m ready, I’ll find my way back into volunteering — either for groups I’ve recently hit pause on or new endeavors.

There’s a song from one of the greatest musicals — “Avenue Q” — that I often am reminded of: “For Now.” The lyrics go: “Nothing lasts. Life goes on, full of surprises. … Except for death and paying taxes, everything in life is only for now.” This pause is only for now.

What led me to this decision that, from the outside, seems drastic? As I said earlier, it’s been a long time coming. When doing any kind of volunteering, I think of another “Avenue Q” song that goes: “When you help others, you’re really helping yourself.” Helping nonprofit groups began to feel like tasks mounting with no end in sight — and I started to feel as though I wasn’t helping myself.

A friend suggested that nonprofit work should still — at the core — be fun and fulfilling.

The other day, I ran across a post on Facebook with the quote posted above. I found Yasmine Cheyenne’s Instagram account to give her proper credit. But that quote (“I don’t have to apologize for letting go or choosing things in the name of my peace and healing”) really resonated with me. It’s OK to let go.

* Besides, did you really think I could completely step away? I’m still going to raise some money for the American Cancer Society because I signed up as a team captain and don’t want to have a zero-dollar team. But I’m going to do it with as little effort this year. And I still plan to help with a journalism group.

Of course, with an ongoing pandemic, there is little to fill this large chunk of time with. And maybe that’s for the best for now.

I stayed at a hotel during COVID-19 and …

Navigating life in a global pandemic isn’t easy — we all know that.

After spending a week in Erie dog and house sitting for friends, I wasn’t quite ready to head back to my house, where I — like many other people in their own homes — have been cooped up nearly 24/7 since mid-March.

So I opted for my favorite Erie hotel: the Sheraton Bayfront.

Upon arriving, I noted face mask signs on the revolving door, social distance markers on the floor, plastic glass at the check-in desks and at least two hand sanitizer stations in the lobby.

But what stuck out was the lack of guests moving about without wearing masks. These people were not social distancing and were lingering for far too long — especially as the lobby, restaurant and bar were not set up as the spaces typically are.

I scurried to the elevator after checking in. I wanted to use the Marriott Bonvoy mobile key instead of having to stand in the lobby, but the app was being problematic and required me to see the front desk.

So, once at the elevator, I realized I was given a room on the second floor (I’ve only ever had higher floors). I would soon understand that this was a great thing.

I made sure to be the only person going up. But once I exited, I noticed a set of doors that were closed, meaning guests had to touch the door. And in the few seconds I was there, several people came and went through those doors.

But on the other side of the doors was the door to my room. And the main doors were separating guest rooms from conference space, which meant I had access to the main staircase, which meant I did not need the elevator again. Win!

Inside my room, I wiped down high-touch surfaces with disinfectant wipes that I brought. The room was not much of an issue for me — especially after doing a lot of reading in the days leading up to my stay about the spread of COVID-19 in hotel rooms and through air systems.

I did have to go back downstairs two separate times — once to retrieve items from my car and another to get my Grubhub order.

Both times, there were more people without masks than with them walking through the lobby and outside. That made me quite uncomfortable as any one of these people could be infected with or without knowing.

We’ve learned more about how masks are incredibly important to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

One of my biggest issues was the cost of the room. With the pool and fitness center closed and the hotel decreasing some of its other services, I paid what I normally would pay for a room. And all I got for it was heightened anxiety while in communal spaces — and I had to disinfect high-touch surfaces on my own to make sure it was properly done.

Will I stay in a hotel again during COVID-19? Probably, but certainly with increased precautions.

Some mostly common sense tips to helping to protect yourself while staying in a hotel:

  • Wear a mask. It’s the least you can do to help protect the hotel workers and other guests. Wear your mask outside of the hotel as well as inside, and keep it on until you enter your room.
  • Bring your own disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer. Seems obvious, but it’s easy to leave them in your vehicle. You’ll want them on you so you can easily disinfect surfaces and clean your hands as soon as you get into your room.
  • Limit your time in the lobby. Right now, hotel lobbies aren’t for lounging or getting work done near the fireplace or gorgeous view. Do that in your room. Treat the lobby like an airport concourse — just keep moving.
  • Use mobile check-in and a mobile key if offered. This can help limit your time in the lobby waiting to check in. I am particular to Marriott Bonvoy, and try to only stay at Marriott properties (this includes Sheraton brands now, too) when possible. Their mobile key is great when it works correctly.
  • Pack light. If you don’t need all of your clothing and items in the hotel room with you, consider leaving them in your vehicle or at home. This will help you keep account of what you have and also help for the next bullet point.
  • Find the stairs. If you’re able to walk a few flights of steps, it might be the better option. This is not only to help protect you, but we all know what elevator delays in a hotel can be like — especially around check-out time. Packing light can make it easier to use the steps.
  • Limit your time outside of your room. Chances are, most hotels have closed their pools and fitness centers, and — if not fully closed — have probably decreased the amount of seating capacity in a restaurant or bar area. And except to get ice, there probably isn’t a need to linger in hallways. But if you do, mask up.
  • Bring light snacks, drinks. If you know your hotel room will have a small fridge, consider drinks to keep in there instead of ordering room service, visiting the hotel’s convenience corner or getting ice. Keeping small snacks on hand also helps to limit your time in common areas and can help keep staff out of the hallways (which helps protect them). I’ve read that hotels that typically offer light food services (club lounges, breakfasts, etc.) have either temporarily done away with those services or have moved to individually wrapped items. In addition, hotels have likely limited menu options for restaurants and room service. If you don’t eat meat, like me, you’ve likely found hotel menus (and some limited menus from standalone restaurants) to be quite frustrating.

Erie unseated as snowiest U.S. city … for now

As of earlier this evening, all that separates the top two snowiest cities is about 5 inches.

But earlier today, Worcester, Mass., unseated Erie as the snowiest city (of at least 100,000 people), according to GoldenSnowglobe.com.

Worcester also is the first city to hit 90 inches of snow this year, the site says.

But there’s still time, and we all know that it doesn’t stop snowing in Erie until at least mid-April.