Thursday, November 15, 2012

Everyone Loves Quitters

Most people I know tried smoking at least once. Some people got addicted right away and I know from experience it is not very easy to get over it. I fell off the wagon several times, but have been now smoke-free since 1998. Give it another try, today could be the first day of the rest of your smoke-free life!!

Today is the 37th annual Great American Smokeout – a day when the American Cancer Society and others encourage us, our friends, and our family members “to make a plan to quit, or to plan in advance and quit smoking that day. By quitting — even for one day — smokers will be taking an important step towards a healthier life– one that can lead to reducing cancer risk.”
The American Cancer Society says: “Tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the US, yet about 43.8 million Americans still smoke cigarettes — Nearly 1 in every 5 adults. As of 2010, there were also 13.2 million cigar smokers in the US, and 2.2 million who smoke tobacco in pipes — other dangerous and addictive forms of tobacco.”
We all know that it’s hard to quit smoking, but it gets easier with support from others.Call the American Cancer Society at 1-800-227-2345 to learn more about how to quit smoking. Here are some of their helpful tips:

Monday, November 12, 2012

Every Month Should Be Breast Health Month

As you may know, last month was Breast Cancer Awareness Month. But unfortunately, breast cancer can appear any time of year. That's why it's important to do a self breast exam every month, especially as an LBTQ woman. Here is a great cartoon about the importance of regular self-breast exams!
As Mo reminds Harriet, it's especially important for you as an LBTQ woman to be conscious of your breast health. Women who have not given birth before the age of 30 are at a higher risk for breast cancer, as are smokers, heavy drinkers, and women who are overweight. Having to come out to doctors and other health care providers can be a challenge, but it is important to find a doctor you feel comfortable with-- for women over the age of 40 it is recommended to have a mammogram every two years, while women who are 50 or older and/or have any risk factors for breast cancer should get a mammogram annually.
For more information on how to lower your risk of breast cancer, vist or The National LBGT Cancer Network.
If you would like to make an appointment for our upcoming mammogram screening on
Sat. December 8th at the Wildrose, contact Ingrid at
Credit for the graphic in this blog post goes to Alison Bechdel and The Lesbian Cancer Project.

Friday, June 29, 2012

14th Annual LBTQ Rainbow Health Fair

The 14th Annual LBTQ Rainbow Health Fair on Saturday, June 23rd was a wild success! Thank you again to everyone who put their time, energy, services, and passion into this wonderful event!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Congratulations to our Raffle Winners!

This year, we had some wonderful raffle prizes to share! Many thanks to all who donated their products and services.

After health fair participants filled out health assessments, they were invited to enter our raffle drawing. Here are the prizes we awarded:

Four passes to SIFF Uptown Cinema, unlimited movies through the end of the year
Two tickets to a Seattle Storm game
Four tickets to a Rat City Roller Girls bout, plus merchandise vouchers
Two tickets to a Seattle Women's Chorus performance at St. Mark's Cathedral
Two tickets to a film at the 2012 Seattle Lesbian & Gay Film Festival
Two tickets to the Wildrose Tavern's Gay Pride Block Party
One gift bag from Babeland

Congratulations to everyone who won a prize! We hope you enjoy them!

Special blessed thanks to the First Baptist Church for providing a no-cost meeting space!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Thank you, Volunteers!

Many thanks to our lovely volunteers for putting together a fabulous 14th Annual LBTQ Rainbow Health Fair!

Without your support, we could not have pulled this together.

Terr got our Rainbow Health Fair Committee started this year, and created the Google Site we used to stay organized. Liz led the charge on developing our magnificent health fair poster. Mary and Sam spearheaded our fundraising efforts, raising a total of $1,900! Sara Jay provided critical feedback during planning sessions and did some wonderful outreach. Jen was the "Logisitics Wizard" - not an easy role to play! Sam also played an important administrative role in the committee.

We also had six volunteers who helped create a sign for the health fair, managed the music, worked the front desk, helped set up and break down, and more!

Many thanks to all who made a contribution!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Message from the YWCA's CEO: Proud to highlight YWCA’s commitment to our diverse community

Gay Pride Month provides us with a timely opportunity to highlight the important commitment that the YWCA makes in providing services to a diverse community of women, men and children – regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

We believe that every person has inherent dignity and worth. This belief guides everything we do at the YWCA: how we work with clients, our policies, our relationships with colleagues, partners and donors. It’s embedded in our mission/vision statement: “We believe that working together we can create a community where all people live in dignity, free from violence, racism and discrimination.”

The LGBTQ community has experienced a history of violence and discrimination, and we believe that standing with our LGBTQ clients, staff, volunteers, board members and supporters is one concrete way we express our belief in the dignity and worth of every human being.

In celebration of Gay Pride Month, YWCA staff and volunteers are looking forward to participating in the 38th annual Pride Parade: The Many Faces of Pride, in Seattle this Sunday (June 24). We hope to see you along the parade route – we’ll be the group dressed mostly in orange!

We also hope you will join us at the 14th annual LBTQ Rainbow Health Fair on June 23 from noon to 5 p.m. at Seattle Central Community College. This fun event features complimentary health resources–from Zumba to acupuncture, massage therapy and nutrition.

These are just two of the events that our YWCA will be participating in that celebrate our rich, diverse community. Please visit us here on or like us on Facebook to learn about the events that we are joining or hosting in the upcoming months.

This blog post was originally posted on YWCA Leadership Blog: Message from our CEO, Sue Sherbrooke.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Rainbow Health Fair: The More, the Merrier!

Over the past couple of weeks, we have partnered with a few more health and wellness providers. The more, the merrier!

In addition to the services and activities we've already posted, expect to see these services at the 14th Annual LBTQ Rainbow Health Fair this Saturday.

Naturopathy & Acupuncture
Kira Baum, ND, LaC is a Naturopathic Physician and Acupuncturist in Seattle. She provides comprehensive holistic health care for most medical concerns. She is dedicated to assisting people in achieving their health goals with the use of safe and effective natural modalities, like nutritional counseling, herbal medicine, and acupuncture.

Les Witherspoon, ND, is a Naturopathic Physician. He will answer questions and provide information for clients about transgender health and gender variant health issues.

Join Beve Kindblade, Nutritionist, for a lively workshop and discussion about nutrition, health, and wellness. She integrates the best of traditional medicine with a natural health approach. Her workshop will be from 3:30pm-4:20pm. Learn about nutritional essentials to take control of your health, renew your energy, and look your best - naturally.

Relationship Skills
NW Network of Bi, Trans, Lesbian and Gay Survivors of Abuse works to end violence and abuse by building loving and equitable relationships in our community and across the country. Join DeAnn Alcantara-Thompson in a relationship skills class from 12:30pm-1:20pm or 1:30pm-2:20pm.

Safer Sex
Health care professional Candace Cantrell, President of Seattle Girls of Leather, will be answering questions about safer sex. Candace has many years of professional and personal experiences in alternative sexuality communities, making her a dynamic educator. Seattle Girls of Leather will also be providing snacks for health fair participants! Thanks, SGOL!!!

Diana Balgaard is a Reiki Master and has practiced Reiki since 1990. Reiki is a divinely guided energy. Your body has its own intelligence. Clients can feel balanced, energized, relaxed, and lighter after a treatment. Diana will provide 10 minute treatments at the health fair.

Susan G. Komen, Puget Sound Affiliate
Elisa Del Rosario and her colleagues from the Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Puget Sound Affiliate are once again joining the LBTQ Rainbow Health Fair. Komen has awarded YWCA Women's Health Outreach with a grant that has provided critical funding for the LBTQ Rainbow Health Fair every year for 14 years. Our local affiliate has always supported the LBTQ community. Representatives from Komen will be available to share information about the local affiliate and the work they do in our communities.

Tarot Reading
Returning is our very popular Beverly Bryant who has read Tarot professionally for over 15 years. Tarot readings can help give guidance and be used for decision making and direction in finances, relationships, or careers.

Also returning is Marla S. Nonken. Marla is a songwriter and performer, who has played at a wide array of venues - from grassroots to political rallies to yoga classes. She plays many genres and styles that focus on healing, emotions, and lightness. She believes that music and sound soothe the soul and offer nourishment.

Self Defense & Kung Fu
Michelle McVadon has been teaching self defense and Kung Fu (from Seven Star Women's Kung Fu) for 25 years. She holds the rank of Chief Instructor, has 5th degree black belt in Kajukenbo Kung Fu and 3rd degree black belt in Aikido. Her class will be from 2:30pm-3:10pm.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Join us at the Rainbow Health Fair on Sat., June 23rd!

Statement from Patricia Allen-Lehman, our Rainbow Health Fair poster woman.
One of my personal goals in life was to be able to help all women empower their lives in every way. Without good health we cannot achieve our dreams. I was so pleased when Liz Latham (Documentary Film Producer and Rainbow Committee member) asked me to participate in this project.

As a side note… I am wearing my mother’s cap and uniform. She was the first African American R.N. in the city of Seattle. She passed away July 26th, 2011.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Discover the many health and wellness providers at Rainbow.

Try out different health services at the 14th Annual Rainbow Health Fair! Services will be provided by a wide array of alternative and traditional health care providers. We are excited to bring these experiential services to the community, empowering YOU to regularly and actively take care of your health and well-being!

Regular Rainbow participants Renee Benedict and Lorrie Wallace of Emerald Gate Acupuncture will give treatments for rest and relaxation, especially good for those with stress-filled lives.

Kathryn Tooker, acupuncturist and Chinese herbalist, will provide acupuncture and information about Chinese medicine.

Chiropractic Care
Dr. Connie Amundson will provide chiropractic screenings to regain and maintain health through gentle state-of-the-art chiropractic wellness care.

Donna Dover, who is with Seattle Counseling Services, will talk with you about mental health and chemical dependency. She will provide referrals, resources, and self-care information.

Energy Healing
Linda Rasmussen is a certified Bio-Energetic Synchronization Technique (B.E.S.T.) Elite Master. She will provide short healing sessions, helping people learn non-force energy balancing procedures, using the power of the mind.

DaKara Kies returns with Heart Point Healing, which taps into the deepest wisdom of your heart and set your body and mind free.  Maria Vallianatos brings back her Amethyst Bio Mat. Come and feel the energy of this wonderful healing tool.

Health Exams
Lois Thetford, Physical Assistant at NeighborCare, and Dr. Kim Van der Zee from Swedish Medical Center, will be providing health exams. Exams will include blood pressure checks and Body Mass Index (BMI) assessments.

Heart Health
Hope Heart Institute will provide 20 people with cholesterol and glucose health. Through education and medical advances, Hope Heart Institute makes the number one cause of death more treatable and preventable.

Hepatitis Testing
Millions of people have hepatitis and don't know it. Find out your status by getting tested. Testing will be provided by Hepatitis Education Project.

HIV Testing
Amber Tejada is a HIV/STD Prevention Counselor at Gay City Health Project, promoting wellness in the LBTQ community. She will provide HIV testing, information, and resources.

Kristin Rivas, C.Ht., is a certified and licensed Hypnotherapist. Her passion for hypnosis was born from a life-saving experience. Learn about the benefits of hypnosis.

Try out the benefits of massage with one of our returning licensed massage therapists. Karen Naguma focuses on digestive and reproductive issues, E. Houston LeBrun focuses on pain relief and restoring well-being, and Zoe Abigail Bermet helps your body and mind achieve a deep state of relaxation.

Karen, Houston, and Zoe will be joined by Everest College massage therapy students.

 YWCA Women's Health Outreach conducts a mobile mammogram screening for income eligible people 40 and over, who are un- or under insured, under the WBCCHP . The mobile mammogram coach from Swedish Hospital will be on site, with Allison Novins, ND, as the medical provider on board, providing breast exams and pap tests.

Dr. Letitia Colston's practice includes a special interest in health care for sexual minorities, women's health, digestive and mental health. She will provide health exams.

Physical Therapy
Jutta Schneider, PT, emphasizes health and wellness through a strong exercise and manual therapy-based approach. She will provide screening and assessments.

Friday, June 1, 2012

A Rainbow of Information on Health & Well-Being

Past Rainbow Health Fairs have hosted an information table full of educational resources for our community. This year, we will be hosting more than 25 exhibitors, each with their own table of information and materials. We'll have a diverse selection of information on topics ranging from ovarian cancer to coming out classes, to sleep health! You can even register to vote and adopt a new pet!

This year's health fair will take place from noon to 5pm on Saturday, June 23rd - exhibitors will be there the whole time!

Come with questions, ready to learn how to be financially, mentally, and physically healthy!

Many thanks to all our exhibitors!

Here is a list of what will be available:

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Get Active at the Rainbow Health Fair!

Never before has the Rainbow Health Fair hosted exercise activities! This is the year!

The health fair will be held at Seattle Central Community College on Saturday, June 23rd, and so we have much more space available to help you get in touch with new and fun activities and exercises. We will provide a diverse selection of activities to choose from, including:

Zumba is a Latin dance-inspired fitness program. Instructor Jennifer Cepeda leads classes at Youngstown Cultural Art Center in West Seattle.

Contra dancing!
Contra dancinrefers to several partnered folk dance styles in which couples dance in two facing lines. Lots of fun! Dancing will be led by Seattle Rainbow Contra Dance. They also lead regular dances - be sure to check their website.

Tamara the Trapeze Lady will lead us in stretching exercises. Get ready to twist and turn! She was one of the first trapeze artists in Seattle - leading to a local revival. She has also developed her own style of stretching, gives trapeze classes, and regularly performs.

Nia is a sensory-based movement practice that draws from martial arts, dance arts, and healing arts. These classes will be led by a group of Nia teachers, including Deborah Davis, Sarah Love, Jena Hennessey, Randee Fox, and Allison Wright.

Booty Camp!
Booty Camp is a community oriented, holistic, outdoor women's fitness program. Designed for every ability level, Booty Camp helps women feel confident and strong in their bodies.
We hope you find something new to help you de-stress - something to support the overall health of your body, mind, and spirit. Try out free classes at the Rainbow Health Fair to see what these activities are all about!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Are LBTQ women at risk for HIV?

Tonya Rasberry has gotten used to telling her story. As a Peer Advocate for BABES Network-YWCA, it’s her job. She’s gone around to schools and spoken at public events – telling diverse audiences about how she became a woman living with HIV, and what her life is like now.
Last week, Edge magazine published an article about Tonya, highlighting that Tonya was no less at risk for HIV infection, despite the fact she is a lesbian woman of color.
“When Eric and I were together we shared a lot of things,” she continued, “including partners. … I was always attracted to women and of course I wasn’t going to get a complaint out of him when it came to me living a bisexual lifestyle,” she explained. “Not once did I consider the fact that maybe he also had a private life of his own, and no matter what we were doing behind closed doors neither one of us thought we would have HIV/AIDS affect our lives the way it has.”
Many women who have sex with women don’t realize that they are also at risk for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, according to Kim Chronister, M.A., a therapist at AIDS Services Foundation. “According to my research, HIV can potentially be transmitted by exposure of the mucous membrane (i.e., the mouth) to vaginal secretions,” she said. “Also, shared penetrative toys may be a means for transmission of infected vaginal secretions, according to the CDC. In my therapeutic work with women who have sex with women, simple steps that these women can take to lower their risks of being infected may seem obvious, but unfortunately are rarely taken.”
Tonya calls for dialogue among communities of women to address the risk of HIV for LBTQ women: “I believe that just having the conversation about HIV/AIDS in our [lesbian] community is unbelievably crucial, because as long as a sexually active person is talking about those sensitive subjects it will help us alleviate some of the stigma that surrounds this topic.”
On June 23rd, BABES Network-YWCA is joining the YWCA Rainbow Health Fair and will have information on HIV/AIDS and the psycho-social support services they provide. HIV testing will also be provided by Gay City Health ProjectHope you can make it!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

June 23rd is the Pride Date to remember!

14th Annual LBTQ Rainbow Health Fair - save June 23rd!
Join us for a fun, vibrant, active, and informative health fair the Saturday of Pride! It’ll be bigger and better than ever before, at Seattle Central Community College.

Saturday, June 23rd
1pm – 5pm
Seattle Central Community College
1701 Broadway

Peer providers will share their services, including acupuncture, massage, energy healing, Zumba, stretching with Tamara the Trapeze Lady, HIV testing, cholesterol checks, naturopathic consultation, coming out services, mental health education, and a wonderful laughter session provided by our own Ingrid Berkhout. Stay tuned for a comprehensive program overview closer in early June.

The Swedish Breast Center Mammography Coach will join us on-site for no-cost mammograms. Grace Chapman, ARNP, will also be providing pap tests. Eligible individuals for these no-cost services must be income-eligible, and 40 or over. Insurance is also accepted. To schedule your mammogram and pap test, call YWCA Women’s Health Outreach’s Marilyn Calbert at 206.461.4489.

We are so excited to be holding this health fair again this year, bringing back many interactive and critical health services to Rainbow! We’ll have new partners joining us – bringing us dance exercise, financial education, and Healthy Sleep 101 – for the first time ever!
Over the coming weeks, we’ll share more information about different peer providers and their services. Stay tuned!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Fundraiser at California Pizza Kitchen for Rainbow Health Fair

Have you heard about how you can enjoy a wonderful meal at the Northgate California Pizza Kitchen with your friends AND 20% of your check will be donated to the YWCA Women's Health Outreach Rainbow Health Fair?  Purchases include dine-in, take-out, catering and alcoholic beverages!  This is a fabulous way to nourish the body and the soul. 

We will be onsite during each evening May 15th, 16th and 17th of the event with flyers to present to your server (you need the flyer for 20% of your check to be donated to the Rainbow Health Fair).  Grab a group of friends and make an evening of it!

You can also contact for an emailed flyer.

May 15th, 16th and 17th
California Pizza Kitchen
401 NE Northgate Way, Seattle, WA 98125

Friday, February 24, 2012

Happy Greens to Help You Heal

We always get to hear: Eat more dark leafy greens - good for your health and well-being!!

To get excited about this is a different matter entirely.
After I read this article, I felt inspired to try out a kale chip recipe. It's gotten me all excited again! PCC's article, "The virtues of greens," explains all the reasons why green vegetables are so good for us.

The color green, which has to do with the plant's chlorophyll, has always been associated with healing. When a vegetable has more chlorophyll, its green color comes in a darker shade. To receive the most benefits of greens, eat them raw or gently cooked! The less you cook greens, the more nutrients your body gets.

"The virtues of greens" touches on the different qualities of these vegetables, like prevention of heart disease, breast cancer, and other cancers; the building of stronger bones; and their ability to remove toxins from our bodies. In the words of Karen Lamphere, "research tells us that vegetables, and especially the green variety, are essential for our health!!"

Monday, February 6, 2012

Make a Rainbow Donation this February! (And get matched!)

Breast, ovarian and cervical cancers affects hundreds of thousands of women every year. Many of whom are our sisters, mothers, nieces, aunts, grandmothers, friends or loved ones. Unfortunately, most of you know someone who has been affected by these cancers, or who is being affected as we speak. Fortunately, there is a way you can give back to this cause, right now.

YWCA Women’s Health Outreach is a program that provides peer outreach, culturally-sensitive breast health education, no-cost mammograms, and information on additional health services for our diverse community. The program offers no-cost mammograms, pap tests and breast exams for income eligible individuals 40 and over. We serve those with limited incomes who are medically underserved, regardless of sexual orientation and/or gender identity. We also focus our outreach efforts on women from African American, Latina, and LBTQ communities.

Every year to coincide with the Pride festivities, YWCA Women’s Health Outreach organizes a Rainbow Health Fair for members of the LBTQ community. At these health fairs, we make free health resources and education available to a population and community that is all too often overlooked by our healthcare system. This year, we are hoping to make it the biggest and best health fair thus far. But, in order to do that, we need your help!

If this is a cause that interests you, please visit our YWCA Donations webpage:, and click the “donate” button on the right hand side of the webpage. Once on the donation page, select the designation to be the Health Access Department, and in the comments section of additional information, specify LBTQ Health: Rainbow Health Fair. Note that 100% of your money goes directly to YWCA Women's Health Outreach.

And, in the month of February, donations will be matched dollar for dollar - up to $1,000! Consider a tax deductible gift of $10, $25, $50 or more to support the health of women in the Seattle area!

Thank you and be well.