LIPS Luncheon Offers Hope to Many Women

Recently the Ladies in Philanthropy went to lunch at the beautiful Howey Mansion in Howey-in-the-Hills. Some 250 women attended, eating in the Courtyard Garden and avoiding the sun with lovely pink umbrellas.

While the event was delightful, the purpose was serious as the Leesburg Regional Medical Center LIP group are leading a network of community-minded women who want to change and save lives in the community.

Raising money for women who cannot pay for mammograms is an on-going effort of the organization especially during the month of October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness month.

“The luncheon and silent auction raised enough money for 120 free mammograms,” said Ted Williams, president of the Leesburg Regional Medical Center Foundation and vice-president of Central Florida Health.

The American Cancer Institute describes a mammogram as an X-ray picture of the breast which can detect abnormal findings leading to early detection of breast cancer. This procedure has saved countless lives through the years since the first mammogram in the late 1950s by Robert Egan at the Anderson Cancer Center, University of Texas.

While many women are covered by medical insurance for this life-saving procedure, and encouraged to begin having them after age 40, many are not covered. A typical full-price mammogram can range from $80 to $120 or more according to Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina.

While mammograms have been called in question for problems such as false-positive results and even different readings resulting from different radiologists, the overwhelming evidence is that mammograms have and will continue to save lives because of their ability for early detection for women who may or may not have signs or symptoms of breast cancer.

“This is the sixth annual LIPS Luncheon,” said Joa Harpster, special events coordinator for the LRMC Foundation. “We plan to have many more.”

Guest speaker was Kris Haukoos, a nurse practitioner who survived breast cancer, shared her story. Closing remarks were given by Lynne Winker from the Central Florida Health Board.

A live butterfly release was then held in honor of all those who are and have been affected by breast cancer, sponsored by Cornerstone Hospice and Palliative Care.

A self-guided tour of the intriguing and outstanding Howey Mansion designed by Ms. Katherine Cotheal Budd was an added bonus. The mansion was constructed between 1925 and 1927 at a cost of $250,000, was as tasteful as the dessert served by Arthur’s Catering. Most intriguing was the Speakeasy, or Prohibition Basement, refurbished and open to all.