Author Lisa Eva Gold On Overcoming Chronic Fatigue

Posted on 30 January 2017 by LeslieM

By Rachel Galvin

On Jan. 18, Lisa Eva Gold gave a talk about Chronic Fatigue at the Deerfield Beach Woman’s Club. This author of A Will to Survive ~ A Women’s Journey Through Chronic Fatigue, inspired guests by talking about how she was able to overcome the Chronic Fatigue diagnosis and go on to become the author of eight books, an actress, hairstylist, piano teacher, mother and more.

When asked how she first became diagnosed, she said, “I had been diagnosed in 2004/2005 with Mono. Because I had been in my 30s, the medical field states that Mononucleosis after 20 is considered Chronic Fatigue.”

She feels that the disease came on due to stress.

She explained, “I sort of gave up on life, attitude wise. I was worn down by my husband’s addictions to alcohol and his physical ailments. When we are surrounded by toxic people in our lives, they wear us down. It is much harder to stay happy and positive when the people around you are not happy and positive.”

She added, “I am completely cured of this disease. I refused to take medications and healed myself by making different choices in my life, in my lifestyle and in my work. I think everything is connected. You or I could make ourselves sick just by harping on the idea of being sick. We can also make ourselves well. It’s all in the attitude we keep. Positive love and happiness is a state of being. It is easier to be this than to be unhappy and unwell.”

She has another book she is currently working on getting published with Hay House. It deals with her life going back to the 1980s and depression and is titled Ms. Understood. It was originally supposed to be published last year, but she has taken extra time to do additional research. She plans to release it sometime this year.

Asked what advice she would give for people diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue, she said, “Take the quiet time to reconnect with yourself. Tap into who you are. Connect with that passionate side of yourself. We are all trees with many branches. Having hobbies and fun activities outside of the mundane work schedule is not only healthy but a necessity to remind yourself of who you are and what you love. No matter what your age, or where or how you live. Always remember that YOU come first. Your happiness comes from within. You create your own reality.”

For more information on Lisa, visit http://justplayproductions.org.

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JA Uncorked + Crafted VII

Posted on 30 January 2017 by LeslieM

By Rachel Galvin

Junior Achievement of South Florida benefited from another successful JA Uncorked event Jan. 21 at the JA World Huizenga Center at Broward College in Coconut Creek. Created by the Circle of Wise Women, this event was presented by Breakthru Beverage Florida. Guests could sample a wide variety of cuisine from South Florida restaurants and sip quality wines and craft beer. After bidding on items in the silent auction and eating to their heart’s content, guests listened to music by The Edge and kicked up their heels to dance the night away. Visit www.jaworlduncorked.com.

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Wick does West Side Story

Posted on 30 January 2017 by LeslieM

By Rachel Galvin

On Jan. 14, Wick Theatre in Boca Raton introduced the classic West Side Story to a packed audience. The From a slow burn to a raucous rumble, the tale unfolded filled with smooth moves and high kicking action to punctuate the poetic dialogue until its tragic conclusion. If the dancing doesn’t keep you on your toes while watching, then the well-known melodies will warm your heart. The play has added value with its multi-purpose and mobile set pieces that offer just a hint of structure and let the personalities shine rather than be hidden by the window dressing.

The coquettish Maria (played by Mary Joanna Grisso) seems a little too childlike next to the strong-armed and much taller Tony (Thaddeus Pearson). But their tender moments ring true. Grisso steals the spotlight in every scene. Sydney Mei Ruf-Wong also does a fine job as Anita. But this really is an ensemble piece meant to be taken in as a whole with the choreography, by director/ choreographer Charles South and Ryan VanDenBoom, being the real star.

West Side Story runs until Feb. 26. For more information, visit www.thewick.org.

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Laura Duksta Envisioning success

Posted on 09 January 2017 by LeslieM

By Rachel Galvin

With 2017 upon us, many are ready to declare their intentions for the new year. But announcing your goals and making them happen are two different things. There are so many ways to set goals and make good things happen in your life. Many have watched the popular film The Secret (or read the book) and learned about the Law of Attraction but were left feeling that a step was missing. Why did they spend time visualizing but nothing came to fruition? Those who really study these types of self-help practices know that to really transform themselves they can’t just think about things to make them happen, they have to take action. But a first step is not only thinking about something, but also putting it on paper, or creating a “vision board.”

Author Laura Duksta knows all about creating something from nothing and utilizing a vision board to focus her intentions. Today, she is the best-selling author of three books, has traveled around the country promoting her book and travels back and forth between Ft. Lauderdale and Nashville.

But she didn’t always have this life. At age 11, she lost all her hair to Alopecia Areata, which caused her to wear a wig, hiding herself from the world. She withdrew and thought she would never be able to do the things she wanted in life. It wasn’t until her 30th birthday when she decided to give up the wigs and come out as “the bald chick,” a hip moniker that would help in her new life.

Her first book came about when she was praying for her sister, but something told her to pray for her nephew instead. From that experience came the idea for her first book, I Love Your More, an illustrated flip book for kids that focuses on the relationship between mother and son. She self-published it. At the time, she was a bartender in South Beach so becoming an author certainly was a departure and the first step on her journey to finding herself and spreading the message of love around the world, something she had in her heart deep inside when she was a young girl.

One of the manifestations from her vision board had to do with a number — 11 million, which she had put on her board as an intention of how many lives she hopes to touch, how many books would be eventually out in the world. When she switched her publishing to Sourcebooks, at the first meeting, the owner, to the surprise of everyone in the room, said that the vision for the book was 11 million copies sold, a number for which seemed way too large for a first-time writer. But, to Duksta, the number was no surprise; after all, she had it on her vision board.

I love vision boards, because I am a visual person. I have become a big fan of visioning,” she said, adding, “The power of a vision board is connecting your goals and dreams to what it actually looks like in life. One of the key ingredients to achieving your goals and dreams is being able to see it as already so — feel and believe it in your mind and heart, to the point that it draws a tear of inspiration when possible.”

What is a vision board? Usually, it is a poster board with cutout images and words from a magazine or newspaper that you hope to manifest.

Duksta said, “Put that photo-shopped picture of you accepting that Oscar on your vision board, and take five to 10 minutes every day to imagine yourself accepting your Oscar and reciting your speech. What does it feel, sound, look, taste and smell like? Making this real is why Einstein said ‘Imagination is more powerful than knowledge.’

Our mind cannot discern between reality and virtual reality; so placing ourselves into the scenes of our life we wish to manifest puts the Universal Laws of Attraction, Appreciation and Vibration into motion and we draw to ourselves what we think, and thank, about, and resonate with.”

Duksta went on to write two other books: You are a Gift to the World and now I’ll Hug You More. She goes around the country doing book talks and motivational speeches, especially for children.

For more information on this dynamic and inspirational author, visit www.lauraduksta.com.

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Pre-planning a funeral? Kraeer-Becker Funeral Home can help

Posted on 09 January 2017 by LeslieM

By Rachel Galvin

When a loved one dies, there is often shock, disbelief, denial, anger, profound sadness. When the person who has passed has not left their loved ones with their final wishes, conflict can ensue between family members, making the situation even worse. That is why, although it is difficult to think or talk about, doing pre-planning for a funeral is the best and most loving thing a person can do for those left behind, according to Annie O’Mara and Jeff Marsman of Kraeer-Becker Funeral Home in Deerfield Beach.

Planning a funeral after someone has passed is not easy.

O’Mara, the Funeral Director, said, “Putting together a funeral is like planning a wedding in three days.”

She explained that besides picking whether the person will be buried or cremated, there is the selection of the casket, the clothing, the music, whether there will be a luncheon after, etc. There is always the question for those left to do the memorial if they are doing what their loved one who has passed would have wanted.

Having the discussion before it is necessary alleviates that wondering ‘Am I doing the right thing?’ It also allows for a more rational conversation. They get exactly what they want. When a death happens, the family members are in such a state of shock, it heightens the emotions and makes it more difficult. It is a loving gesture [on the part of the person who makes the pre-planning for themselves. It [eliminates] the burden,” she said.

Marsman, the Director of Family Services, said, “No two services are the same. Every family is unique.”

O’Mara added, “We can accommodate everyone’s religion, cultural beliefs and personalities. If it is possible, I can make it happen. There is no right or wrong way. I can make sure it is as special and individual as the person was.”

She has seen it all. She has been at Kraeer for the last 1 ½ years but was funeral director for 11 years elsewhere on the west coast.

She said, “I have cried with a few people. We sometimes laugh. I cannot change what has happened, but I can make the process the best it can be, make the experience easier.”

One of the other reasons, she said, to do pre-planning is to lock in the price.

The last 50 years, the average cost of a funeral has doubled every 10 years…,” she said.

Rates for funerals can run over $7000 said Annie and that is just for a service and economical casket. When you add clergy, an obit, escorts for the funeral procession, a luncheon, etc., it can add up. Kraeer-Becker handles A to Z, including clergy, florist, caterer, cemetery and more. Each cemetery, she explained, has different requirements, which she navigates and explains to the customer.

The plans are guaranteed by the state. If something happens to the funeral home or insurance company, the state will make sure it is still honored. If the funeral home goes out of business, another sister home or associated facility will take it over, she added.

Like the banking industry, we are insured,” she explained. “We [Dignity Memorial] are the largest provider of family services within the country. If you move to California, Texas, Nebraska, [etc., we can transfer the plans]. You don’t have to worry about redoing it.”

Dignity Memorial has over 2000 locations in North America. The Kraeer-Becker Funeral Home in Deerfield Beach is located at 217 E. Hillsboro Blvd. For more information, call 954-427-5544 or visit www.kraeerdeerfieldbeach.com.

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Masquerade Ball

Posted on 27 October 2016 by LeslieM

masquerade102716Photos by Rachel Galvin

This year, the Deerfield Beach Chamber chose a masquerade ball theme for its annual gala event, a fundraiser that benefited the chamber and also helped the local Kiwanis Club. Over 160 guests, dressed for the occasion complete with masks, entered the Embassy Suites and were greeted by gondoliers to the red carpet where they could have a photo taken in front of a Venetian backdrop. Inside the ballroom, there were silent and live auctions, raffle items, a mystery wine game, music and dancing, as well as a three-course dinner. Guests watched an entrancing dance by members of Bobby Rodriguez Productions.

Community leaders came up to receive their “Champions of the Community” awards. This year’s recipients included JWR Construction Services, Island Water Sports, Royal Fiesta, People’s Trust, A&S Total Cleaning, DNA Labs Intl. and Bobby Rodriguez Productions.

Special thanks to the 2016 gala committee: Daisja Brinson, Kirsten Charlson, Tamra Davis, Gordon Vatch, Karen Bartell, Rosina DiBello, Jerry Dubois, Jordana Holden, Dawn Lopes, Kiku Martinson, Claudia Plafsky, Ken Samuels and Charisse Smith.

To find out more about the Deerfield Beach Chamber, and its many events and benefits, visit www.deerfieldchamber.com.

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16th Annual Health & Wellness Expo

Posted on 27 October 2016 by LeslieM

health102716By Rachel Galvin

On Oct. 22, the NE Focal Point held their Health & Wellness Expo for the 16th year. Outside, the Man Van provided checks on glucose, cholesterol, blood pressure and body mass index at no charge by Broward Health Imperial Point. In the Adult Day Services Center, there was free skin cancer screenings by Hecker Dermatology Group, carotid artery screening by Broward Health North and blood pressure screening by the NE Focal Point Health Support. In the multi-purpose room, there was balance screening and body mass index by Nova Southeastern University’s physical therapy department students with Dr. Nof and Dr. Stern, and flu shots by Walgreens.

Deputies from Broward Sheriff’s Office conducted Operation Medicine Cabinet, allowing people to turn in their unused medication. Also in the Multi-Purpose Room, there were plenty of people with tables set up offering information on a variety of health services, including insurance, dental, medical, nutrition, financial, chiropractic, home health and more. Joe Aliotta of Personalized Therapeutics gave massages.

Goldie Louis, provider relations manager of Avenue Supportive Care, said they attended last year as well and said, “This is a good way to network, good interaction with other people.”

This was the first year for South Florida Smile Spa, located in Pompano a company that is always trying to interact with and give back to the community.

This is great. It’s a lively group,” said Dr. Nicole Berger. “We like to be involved as much as we can. We donate money to schools, do walks for charities…. We give seniors who don’t have insurance discounts. We try to reach out to the community,” said Dr. Berger, who has been in practice for 12 years, but will have been in her Pompano office for eight in January.

It’s been a wonderful day. The weather is gorgeous. I am grateful for the support of the vendors. Our mission is to keep people healthy, active. Early detection and health prevention are keys to good health and wellness. Today provided that opportunity,” said Donna DeFronzo, director of Senior Services.

New Recreation Coordinator for the Senior Center Dania Bernard, who is taking over from Tamara Sutton, took pictures of all the activities. Bernard has had a background in everything from being a flight attendant to event planning. She had an opportunity to work with her mom, who was a nurse, to help a patient who lived with them. Bernard sees this new role as a great way to combine her love of helping the elderly with her skills in event planning.

Recreational Coordinator of the Alzheimer’s Center Ann Sico served as the emcee for the day. Besides the tables to browse through, there was also ballroom dancing, line dancing and hula dancing to watch and door prize drawings. Guests enjoyed refreshments, including muffins, hamburgers, hot dogs.

NE Focal Point is located at 227 NW 2 St. in Deerfield Beach. For more information, call 954-480-4449 or visit www.nefocalpoint.org.

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Get ready for Halloween at Costume World

Posted on 20 October 2016 by LeslieM

costume102016By Rachel Galvin

Halloween is just around the corner, which means it is time to get a costume. Wondering which one to choose? You may want to take a peek into Deerfield’s Costume World. Begun originally more than 40 years ago, this entity not only has costumes to sell, but also to rent. In fact, they are the largest distributor of costumes in the United States. If you have seen a theatrical performance, there is a good chance that the costumes within it came from Costume World. Owner Marilyn Wick also runs the Wick Theatre in Boca Raton so is using many of the costumes for her own actors and actresses.

As far as the retail store, they have a large selection of theatrical makeup, wigs, costumes for adults and kids and more.

When asked what is popular this year, Jadeane Deems, who is in charge of the theatrical division, said “Being that it is an election year, Trump and Hillary masks are popular. People follow what’s hot in movies and TV. Suicide Squad is a big deal. It is the 50th anniversary of Star Trek [so character costumes are popular]. Pikachu is huge again [thanks to Pokemon Go]. Star Wars is big. Pirates never go out of style. Pirates of the Caribbean brought it to the forefront.”

Ready to get your costume? Costume World is located at 950 S. Federal Hwy. in Deerfield Beach. They are open seven days a week from 10 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday through Thursday. They may be extending their hours until 9 p.m. soon. For more information, call 954-418-0308 or visit www.costumeworld.com. In addition to the store here, they also have retail stores in Pittsburgh and Dallas.

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Tabz 4 Charity: LHP’s Lexi Masciarella gives back

Posted on 14 October 2016 by LeslieM

tabz101316By Rachel Galvin

Lexi Masciarella first started collecting pop tabs in 2nd grade when students at her school were collecting them to donate proceeds to the Ronald McDonald House. In 5th grade, this North Broward Preparatory student became the head of collection of pop tabs from her class and proceeded to ask her neighbors, grandmother’s bowling team, anyone who could collect them to help her in her quest to get the most pop tabs. She ended up filling a 50 gallon drum with what she had collected.

I wheeled the drum into the auditorium and spoke at the assembly. I was interviewed by Channel 7. It was great.”

When she asked her mom how much money that was raised from them, she was told $80. “That’s not enough,” she thought, only $80 for all of her efforts. She knew she had to find a way to make more money for the cause.

I became enthralled with collecting them and how you could help someone so easily,” she said.

A couple of months later, she came up with the idea of the bracelets, which she sold at a 6th grade charity fair. She made $100 and was sold out within the hour. Seeing that making $100 an hour was much better than her earlier endeavor, she figured out she was onto something.

The bracelets at first were unable to be adjusted and were sharp and could cut people so she proceeded to make some modifications. She began getting demands for certain colors and types, and added charms and beads, completely transforming them into something new.

Now, five years later, this now 16-year-old has raised $10,000 so far. She has worked with organizations like Deerfield Beach’s Zonta International, which gave her a Rising Star Award, as well as Brandeis University and the JCC in Boca Raton.

She recently was at Zonta’s Festi-Fall at St. Ambrose Catholic Church. Next, she will be at Westminster Academy in Ft. Lauderdale on Nov. 4-5 for their Christmas Boutique.

During Hurricane Matthew, I was making pop tab bracelets,” said Masciarella, who started a non-profit organization for her cause called Tabz 4 Charity.

It takes me about 30 minutes to make, including cleaning the tabs, filing them down, putting them together with charms. It is like second nature now,” she said.

She not only gives to Ronald McDonald House, which provides a “home away from home” for families of sick children so they can stay together during the illness, but also other charities who approach her. She may give 60 percent to Ronald McDonald House and 40 percent to the other charity, like to help Susan G. Komen, for example.

The Ronald McDonald House is important to me,” she said. “In 5th grade, I went to the house [to see how the money was used] and I met a little boy named Rahiem. He was 5 years old and had Leukemia but you would never have guessed. He had the biggest smile and the most energy. He was the sweetest boy. I was probably 10. He was always there with his mom and brother. We became super close. He changed my life.”

She learned a lot more about strength from witnessing it firsthand as she watched his mom and brother. Unfortunately, after being in remission and moving back home, he ended up passing away recently, but she will carry on his story forever and remains close with his family.

Talk about having a different point of view on the world. Through knowing him and his family, I got to know strength and compassion,” she said.

Masciarella is president of the Ronald McDonald House at her school and continues to sell bracelets for the charity. She currently has 150 made and ready to sell. Her mom says they are all over the house, but she doesn’t seem to mind.

I think it’s great. I am inspired by her. When she came and showed me the bracelet at first, I thought this is great. The more she kept doing and creating, she was thinking outside the box. I thought, ‘How smart.’ She has come so far. If we all did our little thing [to give back], how great things would be in the world. Lexi was inspired to do for someone else. It has become bigger than she even anticipated.”

For more information, visit www.tabz4charity.com.

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Cancer Grads Share their stories

Posted on 14 October 2016 by LeslieM

grads101316By Rachel Galvin

Cancer comrades Aniela McGuinness and Nora McMahon didn’t resonate with the idea of being a “survivor” of Cancer. In an effort to find a term that better fit how they felt, they chose Cancer Grad and their website www.CancerGrad.org was born. Aniela, who made it through Breast Cancer, and Nora, who went through Ovarian Cancer share their stories and give important information on their site.

Aniela

Before this, Aniela recorded the entire process of her Cancer from the very beginning on her YouTube site – MyBreastChoice. Her mother had Breast Cancer at age 46, and at 63 she died from Ovarian Cancer. She had the BRCA1 gene mutation so Aniela decided to get tested too and, at 25, found out that she also had it. With that knowledge, she got checked every six months with a Mammogram and then a breast MRI with the plan of getting her breasts and ovaries removed by 35 (much like Angelina Jolie).

Being a model and actress, and always wanting to educate people, she decided to document her journey as she planned to have her operations performed. While filming one of her episodes of My Breast Choice, she discovered “live” on camera that she actually had Breast Cancer (Stage 1). That was two years ago on Sept. 30. She was 31 years old. The raw video is heartbreaking to watch.

The story of her diagnosis, the procedures that followed and her rollercoaster of emotions was written down and transformed (with the help of co-director/ director Tony Rivera) into a one woman show called I Don’t Have Cancer, which she performed in several locations, including Boca Raton.

She shared every step of the process through her videos, including waking up after surgery, discovering fashions that are more comfortable after surgery and how to make her own drain bag holder. She talks straight about the process, the ups and downs, what worked and didn’t work for her, and how she conquered Cancer with laughter and love.

Aniela had a skin-sparing double mastectomy and 12 sessions of chemotherapy (four sessions of Adriamycin/Cytoxan and nine session of Taxol). She didn’t have to do radiation because she chose to give up her nipples. Afterward, she decided to get a complete hysterectomy as well, just in case.

My doctors and I chose a very extreme course of action. Most people would do much less, but with my age and family history I didn’t want to risk it,” she said.

You might recognize Aniela. She is in the Autonation, Think Pink, commercial, which is currently running on TV.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Now is the time to go get a mammogram!

Nora

Prior to her cancer diagnosis, Nora was very active. She was a three-time marathon finisher and raised money for organizations like the American Cancer Society, Alex’s Lemonade Stand and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s oncology department. She was a semi-professional dancer, held a green cord in capoeira, and participated in sports like track and field, volleyball, swimming, softball and basketball, and others.

Then, at 39, she started noticing symptoms. She was tired all the time. She blamed it on her new job. Her lower abdomen felt bloated with pressure and she was constantly running to the bathroom. Eventually, she got it checked out and the doctor noticed something was wrong. She had two ultrasounds – a regular and a vaginal ultrasound and found she had two large masses. One was the size of a grapefruit. The other was the size of a volleyball. When she had major surgery to have them removed, they discovered she had Stage 1C3 Ovarian Cancer. Luckily, it was still confined to the ovaries. She underwent four months of chemotherapy.

Pap Smears do not detect Ovarian Cancer,” she said, encouraging people to get a CA-125 blood test, which is part of the process toward diagnosis.

She lists some of the risk factors for getting Ovarian Cancer as women who have never had children, never have used oral contraception, have had children after the age of 30, have the BRCA1 gene, or have had certain other types of cancer and medical issues. Nora thinks her risk factor may have been from her having Endometriosis. Her mother also dealt with Cancer in her eye. She knows there is always a chance the Cancer could come back.

She suggests visiting www.ovariancancer.org for additional information, as well as looking at www.Gilda’sClubSouthFlorida.org. Gilda Radner, an actress and comedienne known from Saturday Night Live, lost her battle with Ovarian Cancer in 1989. September was Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.

Check out Cancer Grad to see more about these two inspiring and strong women and find out more information about their journies. Visit www.CancerGrad.org or email them with any questions at info@cancergrad.org.

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