Lake Norman Magazine

Staying Strong and Giving Back

Pink Breast Cancer Ribbon
Pink Breast Cancer Ribbon Getty Images/iStockphoto

Mammograms are a MustIn an effort to raise money and provide 50 uninsured Lake Norman women with mammograms, Fifi’s Fine Resale in Cornelius is hosting 50 Days of Pink through Oct. 31. The brainchild of Julia Austin, owner of Fifi’s, 50 Days of Pink features special discounts and promotions for shoppers. These include a Bling Your Bra event, a pink window-decorating contest, donations for pink items purchased, and a special day of pampering, including massages and special treats, on Oct. 13. “I have lost friends to breast cancer, many of them young mothers,” says Austin. “We feel this cause could make a difference and help save lives through early detection with mammograms. We plan to make this an annual event.” To help plan and promote the campaign, Austin tapped Lee McCracken, a local writer, entrepreneur, and breast cancer survivor, who patented the sassy slogan, “Yes, Ma’am! Mammograms Are A Must.” McCracken’s “Yes, Ma’am” T-shirts are available for sale, and Oct. 3 she will debut her inspirational new memoir, A Prayer and a Pink Pedicure, with a book signing at Fifi’s. A portion of the proceeds from her T-shirt and book sales will help fund the 50-mammogram goal. McCracken says the 50 Days of Pink enterprise is particularly important as recent studies have shown that regular mammogram screenings reduce breast cancer death rates by about 30 percent; meanwhile, in North Carolina, only about 50 percent of women between 40 and 45 have had a mammogram in the past two years. “Any kind of illness doesn’t define who you are and no one with a cancer diagnosis should go through it alone,” McCracken says. “The diagnosis transforms the way you look at life and how you want to live your life going forward. There is a newfound joy in living, and you want to give it back.”For details, go to or

Surviving Choppy Waters Healing Dragons, a competitive dragon boat racing team, was launched in 2009 to inspire, encourage, and support those battling cancer. It also gets women out on the lake, where they can enjoy the camaraderie of others in the outdoors. Jan Kuhn, president and team captain, is a 21-year breast cancer survivor who says paddling is spiritually and physically therapeutic.“I used to run and cycle,” says Kuhn, 58. “But Dragon Boating got me into a team sport. It’s a full-body workout, and the motion involved also helps women with breast cancer.”Dragon Boating is an ancient sport founded in China 2,000 years ago in which 20 people paddle a boat while a drummer helps maintain the rhythm and pace. The Healing Dragons, founded by Randy and Lori Crow, practice twice a week at Ramsey Creek Park in Cornelius and compete in six races a year in locations ranging from Washington, D.C., and Chattanooga, Tenn., to Orlando, Fla. They paddle from 200 to 2,000 meters, and members are battling or have battled various types of cancer, from melanoma to pancreatic. Ten team members are breast cancer survivors.“We have 30 members in all stages of cancer survivorship,” Kuhn says. “This group makes you realize your life is not over just because you have had cancer—you can still be active and strong and make some wonderful new friends.”For details, go to

The Mane IdeaLosing hair can be traumatic for women undergoing treatment for breast cancer. To help them cope and provide a temporary solution, Lake Norman Regional Medical Center in Mooresville recently founded the area’s only wig bank.“A wig can cost $200 and up, and we want to help the many women currently undergoing chemotherapy or preparing to start whose insurance doesn’t cover this,” says Mitzie McCurdy, director of community outreach for LNRMC. “These wigs are free, and we also have turbans and head scarves available.”LNRMC, which accepts donations of new or gently used wigs, currently has more than 50 wigs available and another 30 waiting to be cleaned and styled by a professional cosmetologist who donates her services. The new wig bank is in the imaging center, adjacent to the hospital.“Breast cancer is not only emotionally traumatic but also financially traumatic, and this type of service is like a love gift—it can add some sweetness to your life when you’re in the midst of battling cancer,” says Carol White, a 15-year breast cancer warrior and coleader of the Lake Norman Breast Cancer Support Group.For more information call 704-660-4859.