The first Be Aware Women’s Fair was held in October of 2010 with the Super Survivor Program founded the following year. Proud Mason City gal and Memorial Medical Center System Director of Patient Experience, Tiffany Lowers is the brains behind the annual event. Tiffany, a wife and mother of two, has been with Memorial Medical Center for 17 years. Eighteen21.com spoke with Tiffany to find out why she founded the Be Aware Women’s Fair and Super Survivor Program and what you can expect.
What is the Super Survivor Program and Be Aware Women’s Fair?
The Super Survivor Program is a way to recognize breast cancer survivors whose cancer journeys have been an inspiration to others. We randomly select three nominations and then try to recognize and spoil them leading up to and the day of the fair. We take them shopping for a new outfit, out to lunch, for a photo shoot, and for pampering at BJ Grand Salon & Spa. The Be Aware Women’s Fair is a day devoted to women’s physical, financial, and emotional health. It’s not your ordinary health fair. While having more than 26 different free health screenings last year, we had more than 120 local businesses who sold products, provided information, donate items to our raffle, and provide free services. Along with this, the event featured raffles, the Super Survivor reveal, and many shopping opportunities.
Why was the program and fair started?
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the mammography department at Memorial (the department I managed at the time) wanted to do something to bring more awareness to breast health and something to celebrate women and women’s health.
How does the program benefit participants and the local community?
It's a great way to bring awareness of early detection and prevention of breast cancer and the importance of women’s health. It is also an opportunity to share the story of three amazing survivors; every year we select our ‘supers’.
Why did you become involved in the program?
It started as an idea I had shortly after becoming manager of outpatient imaging and was initially focused on Breast Cancer Awareness Month and breast health. Once we started working on the idea, it grew way beyond just breast health and into a focus on how important it is for women to take a time out from our busy lives and take a day for ourselves. We are so busy taking care of everyone else that we often forget about how important we are. This one-day is all about taking care of you. My main goal is to make sure it is not another boring health fair and that over the years it does not become stagnant. The day is energizing, full of spirit and support for the girls, and fun.
What do you feel is the most important part of this program and the fair?
For the program, it's an opportunity to share the stories of three awesome women who have battled cancer and won. For us, we can take time to pamper them and show our support. For the fair, it's a day to give the busy supermoms, grandmas, aunts, nieces, businesswomen, and awesome ladies in the community a chance to have a day for them. Whether it be for shopping, checking in on their health, roaming the building by themselves or with their friends, learning about new opportunities and community businesses – whatever it is – just enjoy the day that we work hard to put together for them.
Are there any misconceptions or assumptions that you would like to debunk?
We call it the Women’s Fair, but we encourage men and children to attend as well. The screenings are free and for people of all ages and the exhibitor booths are for people of all ages to enjoy. Many of our raffle items would appeal to men more so than women, so we encourage the men to check out our raffle booths and try their luck by purchasing some raffle tickets. For the Super Survivors, the drawing is random, so if you have nominated someone before and they haven’t been chosen, nominate them again.
How can those interested in joining the program get involved?
There are many ways to get involved. Businesses can sign up for exhibitor booths. We are always looking for volunteers to help the day of the event, and we will be accepting nominations for Super Survivors June 1 through noon June 30. All of these opportunities can be viewed on our website at BeAwareWomensFair.com.
Is there anything else that you would like to share or feel that we should know?
We partner with the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk, which is the same day and held at the Commodities Pavilion. Walkers receive free entry into the Be Aware Women’s Fair.
The Be Aware Women’s Fair is set to take place on October 21st from 9am to 2pm at the State Fairgrounds at the Orr Building. For more information please visit BeAwareWomensFair.com, Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/MemorialsBeAwareWomensFair/, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org