Friday, July 17, 2015

Benefit will aid alternative cancer clinic

Breastfest tomorrow will help level the playing field by aiding low-income women with cancer

Beer and breast cancer.

Not exactly a combination that slips into a comfy mental corner or trickles off the tongue  easily.

But it’s an important combo, especially since an all-volunteer Breastfest tomorrow will provide, according to Marin County's website, “endless eats and bottomless cups.”

It’ll be the 15th year for the benefit event, which will take place from noon to 4 p.m. at the Marin County Fairgrounds (after a few years at Fort Mason in San Francisco).

Jenn Procopio, who co-founded the festival in 2000 at what was then called the Larkspur Landing shopping center and is now known as the Marin Country Mart, reports that 100 percent of the proceeds will benefit the nonprofit Charlotte Maxwell Complementary Clinic.

Jenn Procopio
The clinic’s core mission, according to its online information, “is to provide relief from the terrible side effects of cancer and its treatments (pain, nausea, fatigue and loss of appetite), to enhance immune function, and to better the quality of life for women battling cancer.”

Besides, in effect, leveling the playing field.

Low-income U.S. women, adds the clinic's website, “are four times more likely to die from their form of cancer than those living above the federal poverty line.”

Tomorrow’s festival, which includes 38 microbreweries that will be pouring samples, should push the donation total past the half-million dollar mark.

Live entertainment will be provided by Kingsborough, a Santa Rosa rock band.

The clinic, with one office in Oakland and another in San Francisco, acts as a safety net and provides free alternative-medicine treatments and other services for poor women with cancer.

Its treatments include Chinese and Western herbs, massage and nutritional therapies, guided imagery,  acupuncture, and homeopathy in general.

The clinic also provides transportation and social services, educational workshops and organic foods.

Procopio, general manager at Marin Brewing Company, got involved with Breastfest (whose admission is $55 in advance, $65 at the ticket booth), when her mom was fighting breast cancer and she discovered that health plans only rarely covered alternative treatments for side effects.

I, Woody Weingarten, clearly remember my wife’s immersion in alternative treatments — as well as traditional Western medicine — when she had breast cancer.

The truth is, she’s still using the same Chinese herbs that first were prescribed 20 years ago.

Her story, and mine as prime caregiver, are contained in my new VitalityPress book, “Rollercoaster: How a man can survive his partner’s breast cancer.”

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