PRCC Women’s Health Symposium gives women information and pampering

Published 3:30 pm Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Kelly Swanson, speaker at the Pearl River Community College Women’s Health Symposium, spoke Saturday, January 28, to about 350 women who packed Crosby Hall on the Poplarville campus for the sixth annual symposium.

Swanson, an author who lives in North Carolina, told the audience she comes from a long line of women who did what was expected of them.

“Your world could be falling apart but as long as your shoes and purse matched, you were fine,” she said. But life doesn’t neatly match a list of expectations, she said.

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“You are not the readers of your fairy tale,” Swanson said. “You’re the authors. So pick up that pen and write a new chapter.”

The symposium also featured a presentation by Deanna Favre, an art walk, free health screenings and information booths and a panel of four doctors who answered questions about women’s  health.

PRCC started the Women’s Health Symposium in 2007 to bring information, basic health tests and some pampering to women in South Missisisppi.

Deanna Favre, who attended PRCC on a basketball scholarship, has become an advocate for breast cancer patients and research. The Favre4Hope Foundation has donated more than $5 million to selected charities.

“In life we cannot always choose the changes that come our way,” she said. “But we can choose our responses. For you this day I pray your journey will mean something.”

Favre, chief executive officer of the Favre4Hope Foundation and wife of former NFL quarterback Brett Favre, shared her life story, including coping with her husband’s addiction to  pain killers, the sudden deaths of her father-in-law and her brother and her own battle with breast cancer.

“More than anything, cancer taught me not to take life for granted,” she said. “It is in our own difficult times that Brett and I have found hope in helping others.”

“The more we can concentrate and work on our health is great,” PRCC President Dr. William Lewis said. “But without the knowledge, we can’t do it. We hope the program we bring to you  today will bring energy to your life, will bring health to your life and help you prosper.”

Dr. Richard deShazo, known as Dr. Rick on the Mississippi Public Broadcasting Southern Remedy radio show, moderated the panel discussion. Others taking part were Dr. Allyn Bond of University Medical Center and Southern Remedy; Dr. Virginia Crawford, health care services director at the University of Southern Mississippi; and Dr. Melissa Holland of Hattiesburg Clinic.

PRCC nursing, medical laboratory technology and cosmetology students were out in full force. Health screenings were offered through Camellia Home Health and Hospice, Forrest General Home Care and Hospice, Hattiesburg Clinic, Highland Community Hospital, Mississippi Department of Mental Health, Pearl River School District speech and language pathology, Poplarville Family Chiropractic Clinic and Wesley Medical Center.

Each woman received a “Pearl Ball” necklace and a workout bag emblazoned with the PRCC logo as gifts.