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Women of Courage

January 19, 2006, Vol. IV Issue 2

Dear Friends,

You know, I like to write and share with you about things I know. Today, I’m going to share with you about not knowing.

Not knowing can kill you. This is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, and there’s a new campaign to help women detect cervical cancer early. Smart women want to know and their daughters are being encouraged to communicate with their Moms. Speaker and author Mary Marcdante will be leading the way in a new initiative being kicked off next week.

One of the best parts of my job is getting to know the fabulous people who are the speakers I get to represent and share with you and your audiences. I went to a gathering the other night where I tried a new answer to the question, “What do you do?” Answering “I collect motivational speakers,” got more interest than my standard reply. At least people wanted to know more about what that meant!

Then I came home, checked my email and read about the passing of one of those people I’ve come to know and love, author and speaker, Katherine Martin. Sadness overwhelmed me. It still envelopes me as I write this. You never know.

Yours truly,

Mom Doesn’t Always Know …

“You may know everything about HPV (the human papillomavirus), but does your Mom?” That’s the theme for a national media conference organized to educate health and wellness magazine editors about cervical cancer awareness.

Speaker, author and cervical cancer survivor Mary Marcdante will be the featured communication expert and emcee at the conference January 26, 2006, at the Essex House in New York City. She is the author of My Mother, My Friend and Living with Enthusiasm.

Surprisingly, according to a recent survey, when it comes to knowledge about the sexually transmitted infection (STI) that can lead to cancer, HPV, women under 30 know more than women over 30, despite the fact that women in their 30’s, 40’s, 50’s and 60’s can also be affected by HPV and, in some cases, have a greater risk of developing cervical cancer.

The event will explore the communication between mothers and daughters around important and sometimes sensitive topics where the sharing of information can lead to a change in behavior. The dialogue will lead to an awareness of the advancements in cervical cancer screening and prevention, why women over 30 need to know about it and how to make the conversation easier.

A key point in the discussion is the importance of women under 30 encouraging their mothers to ask their doctors for the HPV test along with their annual pap smear. Mary says, “Don’t wait for a crisis to have important health conversations now. This is not about your sex life or your mother’s. This is about preventing one of the most easily detected cancers IF you and your mother get screened properly and early enough. Remember the ‘why’ and practice the ‘how-to’s’ and you could save two lives: your mom’s and your own.”

Mary wrote her book, My Mother, My Friend, following her own mother’s death of ovarian cancer, and her subsequent hysterectomy as a result of the threat of cervical cancer. If you really want to know where Mary is coming from in women’s health, and where she’s been, I would encourage you to go to her website, and download the health chapter of her book (it’s free) and read it. She is frank, funny and earnest, just like she is with an audience.

The facts:
Cervical cancer kills 288,000 women annually worldwide. The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2005, about 10,370 women in the United States will develop cervical cancer and about 3,710 will die from it.

Worldwide, cervical cancer is the second most common type of cancer that strikes women – behind only breast cancer. Cervical cancer is the only cancer with a single known cause – the human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted infection (STI) that 80% of the adult population carries.

Mary is available for Mother’s Day programs and Women’s Wellness events. Give me a call at 503-699-5031 or email

Katherine Martin: Woman of Courage

It is with a heavy heart that I share the loss of one of our speakers and authors, Katherine Martin, who wrote three substantial and brilliant books about courage. She bravely faced brain cancer, and never let on about it in her monthly e-newsletter.

It was about six weeks after attending an event where she spoke here in Portland that I heard about the diagnosis. I wrote about that event in a previous post. It is always a shock to hear that a contemporary, and one that you admire and have befriended, is fighting for her life. And fight she did.

She had been splitting her time between Portland and Orlando, Florida where she and her husband had established a new home. She ended up staying in Florida so I didn’t get to see her since that event in Oct. ’04.

Debbie Rosas, co-creator of Nia had introduced us shortly after I moved to Portland. Memories of brief meetings and performances I attended over the years haunt me. I say performances, because that is something Katherine really loved to do – stage a show. She could provide drama to make her story unforgettable. Sometimes she would start reading a story of courage from one of her books, and then the person it was about would step into the spotlight and tell the rest of the story. Powerful.

In her quiet way, Katherine was an awesome, powerful woman. For her books, she interviewed famous people and she interviewed common folks. She uncovered the unexpected stories of courage beneath their astounding stories. She found common ground. She discovered herself along the way.

Animated, thoughtful, sensitive, spiritual, inquisitive, she was a gifted and sensitive writer and a powerful presenter. I am so grateful she graced my life.

Her books leave a legacy to learn from. Women of Courage, Women of Spirit, and Those Who Dare.  Also on her website, there are letters from her husband, Franc, that are a gift to all of us about  the power in a marriage filled with love and caring.

You Never Know

I’m having a hard time lightening up this issue so how about I promise you some fun in our next issue.

Until next time, be good to yourself for your good health and those you love.

Yours truly,

The Speak Well Being Group specializes in providing exceptional speakers for health, wellness and women’s events. Because we’ve worked with so many hospitals and healthcare groups around the country, we speak your language. Our hand-picked speakers are attuned to your needs and adept at addressing the issues while delivering information in an entertaining way, or simply providing a good time with a light message when that’s the ticket. When you work with us, you’ll come back for more “How are we going to top that?” speakers.

You’ll find many of our speakers on our website,
Or please call anytime and let us assist you: 503-699-5031
The Speak Well Being Group, Lake Oswego, Oregon

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