Local Dragon Boat Team Will Race to Fight Pancreatic Cancer This Weekend

dragon boat
Less than a week after Christine Edmonds and her family received the devastating news that her husband, Kevin, had pancreatic cancer, they were on a beach in the Virgin Islands. This is how Kevin was—the type to opt to live life rather than wait for it to end—and it’s why he became the inspiration for A Love for Life, the Philadelphia-based nonprofit that raises funds for pancreatic cancer research. It founded by Christine in December 2012 following her husband’s death.

Kevin’s diagnosis wasn’t Christine’s first experience with this ruthless form of cancer. The year before, she watched as her sister-in-law battled the very same disease, eventually losing a seemingly rigged fight.

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To Do: Running for Answers 5K

We’re constantly running for answers, right?  You want to clear your head, get your heart-rate up and figure out how you can politely ask your neighbors to please stop blasting heavy metal at 3 a.m. EVERY singly day. So, you bust out the running gear and go searching for some answers.

On September 29th, join Running for Answers in a 5K to help answer some seriously important questions for a change. The first annual race supporting the Desmoid Research Foundation was started by Sera Snyder, who was diagnosed with a desmoid tumor at age 26. Desmoid tumors are a form of tumor which can infiltrate vital structures and organs, having devastating effects on the lives of two to four million people each year.

To help fund research for the treatment of these mysterious tumors, register for the scenic race through Fairmount Park here. And, check out Sera’s blog to learn more about the disease.

$30 pre-registration, $40 day-of, September 29th at 8:30 a.m., Please Touch Museum, 4231 Avenue of the Republic, Fairmount Park.

>> Have a local health and fitness event you’d like to share with Be Well Philly readers? Email eleaman@phillymag.com with details.

MANNA’s Meal-Program Study Gets Medical Journal Backing

Attention, medical community: The Metropolitan Area Neighborhood Nutrition Alliance’s pilot study, which looked at the health-producing benefits of its meal program, was recently published in The Journal of Primary Care and Community Health, lending the organization and its work new credibility in the medical world. The study could change everything—or at least the way we treat the very sick.

Here’s why: For over 20 years, MANNA has understood the importance of good, nutritious food. Their bustling state-of-the-art Center City kitchen provides 65,000 free meals per month to clients with serious medical conditions such as HIV/AIDS, renal insufficiency, cancer and diabetes that are tailored to each person’s complex medical needs. Now, they believe, it’s about time that everyone caught up.

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To Do: MANNA Fun Run Series

Warm home-made soup always helps you feel better when you’re down with a cold, right? So, imagine the wonders a nice nutritious meal could provide for those with life-threatening diseases.

The Metropolitan Area Neighborhood Nutritional Alliance (MANNA) is a local nonprofit organization that helps make that happen. They provide nutritious (and yummy) meals to those with illnesses like cancer, HIV and diabetes. As proof of their success, MANNA just celebrating their 10-millionth meal served!

In order to continue raising funds for MANNA, a series of fun runs (three miles) will be held in Center City, Bryn Mawr and Haddonfield, New Jersey this summer. For $25, runners recieve a t-shirt and post run snack, while all proceeds go to MANNA. Register here.

$25, June 27, July 25, and Aug. 15 at 6 p.m, at Bryn Mawr Running Company (828 W Lancaster Ave, Bryn Mawr), MANNA (2323 Ranstead Street, Philadelphia) and Haddonfield Running Company (121 Kings Highway East, Haddonfield).

>> Have a health or fitness event you’d like to share with Be Well Philly readers? Email eleaman@phillymag.com with details.

To Do: Rescue Run 5K to Benefit The Monster Milers

Dog lovers, I would like to introduce you to your new favorite 5K: The Rescue Run, set for September 29th in the Navy Yard and aimed at benefitting and promoting dog adoption in Philadelphia. All proceeds will go to The Monster Milers, which is a totally awesome, local nonprofit that pairs up dogs in Philly shelters with local runners who take them out for jogs through the city. After the race at 10 a.m., there will be a “Rescue Rally,” where you’ll find a few adorable pups up for adoption, local venders and food. Register here.

If you’d rather to toast the Monster Milers with a beer, you can attend the group’s happy hour fundraiser at the Green Room on June 27th.

$25 until July 31st, $30 after, September 29th at 10 a.m., 4747 South Broad Street, Philadelphia.

>> Have a health or fitness event you’d like to share with Be Well Philly readers? Email eleaman@phillymag.com with details.

To Do: “Legalize Love” Fundraiser Yoga Class to Kick Off Philly Pride Weekend

You may have heard the hype surrounding Philly’s 25th annual Philly Gay Pride Parade and Festival taking place this Sunday. But for all you yoga devotees who want to celebrate the occasion by doing tree pose and supporting the LGBT community, join in on this made-for-you Yogahour class at Maha Yoga.

The Center City studio is hosting a Legalize Love fundraising yoga class on Friday, June 7th, from 5 to 6 p.m. Instructors Shawn and Justicia DeClue promise a rockin’ yoga class taught to the Latin beats of DJ NiiLO. All proceeds benefit Equality Advocates PA, which works to legalize same-sex marriage in Pennsylvania. More info about the class is here.

Suggested donation $20 to $100, June 7th at 5 p.m., 1700 Samson Street, sixth floor, Philadelphia.

>> Have a health or fitness event you’d like to share with Be Well Philly readers? Email eleaman@phillymag.com with details.



To Do: 5K Run/Walk to Help Stroke Victims

If running a 5K can help somebody else, why not do it? The 19th Annual Dr. Howard Mazer Memorial Strides for Stroke is a community event that helps the Delaware Valley Stroke Council (DVSC) “provide education and research into the causes, treatment and prevention of stroke.” So far, DVSC has helped over 20 hospitals in Pennsylvania and New Jersey become Joint Commission Certified Primary Stroke Centers to help stroke patients. That, my friends, is awesome.

The run starts bright and early on Sunday, June 9th with registration at 7 a.m. and the run/walk starting at 8:30 at the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Register here as an individual runner or start a team to get your friends in on the fun.

$25 race entry plus a $2.50 sign-up fee, June 9th at 7 a.m., Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Pwky, Philadelphia.

>> Have a health or fitness event you’d like to share with Be Well Philly readers? Email eleaman@phillymag.com with details.

To Do: Rihanna Ride at Flywheel in Center City

If you’re a Flywheel fanatic and Rihanna fan, I’ve got your double-time fix right here. Center City’s Flywheel studio is hosting a charity ride on Wednesday to benefit Court Appointed Special Advocates of Philadelphia (CASA), whose mission is “to train and support community volunteers to advocate for the health, safety and well-being of abused and neglected children.”

Flywheel will provide a rockin’ Rihanna playlist during your ride (“Only Girl in the World” is a perfect workout anthem), raffles for Lululemon and Athleta gift cards, and treats from Fuel. In exchange, you’ll cough up a $25 donation for CASA. That’s fair, right?

Register for the event by going to the CASA site and clicking “donate”; on the donation page, type in “Flywheel.” Just make sure to print out the page, which serves as your ticket to ride (rejoice in the reference, Beatles lovers.)

$25 donation, May 22nd at 7:30 p.m., Flywheel Center City 1521 Locust Street, Philadelphia.

>> Have a health or fitness event you’d like to share with Be Well Philly readers? Email eleaman@phillymag.com with details.

Could MANNA Save the Health-Care System?

Stanley Wilson is first cook at MANNA, a meal program where dietitians work closely with chefs to provide meals for the critically ill. Photo courtesy of MANNA

Sue Daugherty will never forget the day she got the phone call. Crying, the woman on the other end explained to Daugherty that she fed her daughter popcorn for lunch. A breast-cancer patient, the woman often found herself too exhausted to cook.

Daugherty is the executive director of the Metropolitan Area Neighborhood Nutrition Alliance (MANNA). MANNA provides medically appropriate meals—three a day, free of charge, meeting very specific dietary needs—to people who are at acute nutritional risk and battling critical illnesses such as cancer, renal disease and HIV/AIDS. It serves 950 patients and 75,000 meals a month in nine counties in the greater Philadelphia region.

MANNA provides a crucial, lifesaving service—that’s why Daugherty got into the work to begin with. But as she and her team recently learned, MANNA’s work could do an even greater good, if given the chance: it could bolster health care’s bottom line.

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Un-Scrooge Yourself: Why It’s Good for You to Give Back

As 2012 draws to a close (I know, when did that happen, right?) and you’re thinking about your end-of-year giving, consider this: giving back isn’t just a good thing to do—it’s good for you, too.

“Health-wise, giving has been shown to release brain chemicals and hormones like endorphins and oxytocin, which both promote positivity and euphoria,” says Alyson Nerenberg, a licensed psychologist in Chestnut Hill. “Basically, you’re getting a lot of positive feelings.” And those feelings come with an impressive list of domino effects: an act of giving can lower stress levels, improve mood, increase self-esteem, strengthen social ties, and even help you live longer.

Of course, if you’re giving of yourself you’re probably not in it for your own benefit, but knowing how it can boost your own health might just help you to give more often. Nerenberg encourages her clients to use this time of year to plan their giving for the year ahead. “Start by asking yourself , ‘What do I believe in? What can I do to make my place in the world feel better? What pratical causes am I committed to?'” she says. You can start small by supporting a friend in a charity run, volunteering one Saturday a month at a soup kitchen, or reading to kids at your local library. The idea is make your giving more intentional—you know, so you don’t find yourself at the end of the year frantically writing donation checks.

If you want to get on the horn and are looking for some deserving charities to get started, here are eight in the Philadelphia region doing good work. Read on for ways you can get involved.

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