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Pam Grier Receives the "Champion of Challenges Award"

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By Lea Michelle Cash

The Wellness Community has several locations stationed throughout the Southland. However, the Wellness Community located in West Los Angeles is the largest cancer support organization worldwide.

Celebrating its 28th anniversary this year, programs include support groups, individual counseling and education on complex cancer related topics as well as assistance with stress reduction & exercise programs. Its mission is ensure that all people impacted with cancer are empowered by knowledge and strengthened of actions.

Recently, on August 7th the organization gathered together community and friends to raise money towards helping people regain control of their lives, reduce feelings of isolation, and restore hope regardless of their stage battling their disease, because all services at the Wellness Community Center are free. Individuals come from all over Southern California, and the 3rd annual fundraising goal was aimed towards hiring an African American therapist on staff at the West Los Angeles location.

Their goal was achieved, as many stepped out at the Cicada Restaurant in downtown Los Angeles to support the outstanding organization fundraising mission. The gala evening belonged to shutting down cancer.

The event co-hosted by entrepreneur and businessperson Joe Williams and his wife Kathy, celebrated the bravery and survival for African American cancer survivors, and honored those who have fought valiantly, but lost their battles.

One such person was the late public relations icon and entertainment veteran, Pat Tobin who died of colon cancer. She was honored posthumously with a presentation and award from legendary balladeer, Howard Hewett, a personal family friend of Tobin’s. The award was given to Pat’s daughter, Lauren Tobin and her grandson.

Actress, Pam Grier, the “Champion of Challenge Award” honoree spoke after the acceptance of her award. She has written a book detailing her journey with cancer. When she was diagnosed with cervical cancer, it had spread to another organ, and she was given 18 months to live. The title of her book is “Foxy: My Life in Three Acts.” Before her presentation, renowned oncology surgeon, Dr. Ronald Hurst, delivered a keynote address. Both speakers related their wellness message from the heart stating, “Fear, is the greatest cause that many people will died from cancer.”

They both pointed out to the listening audience that health care screenings are very important. They produce early interventions, and unquestionably saves lives.

Celebrities who attended the event were Camille Winbush, the legendary Keith David, renowned artist Synthia St. James, Councilman Bernard Parks and comedian Luenell.

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