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    Healthy Relationships, A Healthier You

    (RIVERSIDE, Calif.) – A young Black woman who survived breast cancer at an early age will highlight a conference that will motivate other African-Americans to take charge of their health.
    Nikia Hammonds Blakely is the keynote speaker for the free Healthy Heritage Wellness Conference, taking place from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 26 at California Baptist University, 8432 Magnolia St., Riverside. The conference offers speakers, information booths and interactive sessions aimed at improving the overall health and well being of the Black community.

    The theme of this year’s conference is “Healthy Relationships, A Healthier You.”
    “Good relationships are essential to our happiness and emotional well-being,” said Phyllis Clark, event organizer. They influence everything from hypertension to age-related health issues.”

    Hammonds Blakely was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of breast cancer when she was just 16 years old. She spent that summer undergoing radiation treatments and several surgical procedures, but after several months the cancer went away and has not returned.

    “I was terrified when I learned I had cancer,” she said. “After God delivered me from this, motivating other people to take care of their health became my passion.”

    Now 29, Hammonds Blakely is a member of the Susan J. Komen Foundation’s Young Women’s Advisory Council and speaks throughout the world on the issue of women’s health and African-American health. She also serves as a national ambassador for Circle of Promise, a division of the Susan J. Komen foundation working to improve the high incidences of and poor survival rates for Black women with breast cancer.
    And she does this all while serving as an assistant director for marketing and alumni relations at Ivy Tech Community College in Crown, Point, Indiana and pursuing her Ph.D. in organizational management.

    “Maintaining healthy relationships is not easy, but it can be done,” Clark said. “The Healthy Heritage Wellness Conference 2008 will provide tools and resources to help develop and maintain these relationships.”

    According to a San Bernardino County Department of Health report, African
    Americans in San Bernardino County die 13 years younger than whites. Many African American lives are shortened by illness such as diabetes, high blood pressure (hypertension), heart disease, HIV/AIDS and cancer.

    The Healthy Heritage Wellness Conference features speakers who bring a wealth of
    knowledge from the medical, emotional health, faith, and Afrocentric worlds.
    Other speakers are:

    • Dr. E.M. Abdlulmumin, a psychologist at the University of California – Riverside Counseling Center and psychology professor for the Thomas Haider UCR/UCLA Program in Biomedical Sciences at UCR. Dr. Abdulmumin is also the founder and executive director of the DuBois Institute, a recreational and educational program for youth at the Bobby Bonds Sports Complex in Riverside.
    • Charles Fossett III of Montclair, a sociology professor and author of Heartbrokers and Marriagebrokers, two books that explore personal relationships.

    A wellness panel includes Dr. Stephen H. Barag, a physician at Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center, speaking on hypertension and the doctor-patient relationship, Dr. Dave Williams, coordinator of the Riverside County Wellness Program, speaking on the holistic approach to wellness, Chef Anthony Stemley, owner of French Quarter Catering, sharing his techniques to prepare healthy meals and a representative of the Black Women’s Health Project, speaking on Twelve Commandments for Mental Health.
    There are also free screenings for HIV/AIDS, prostate cancer and blood sugar levels, clinical breast examinations and more Clark said.

    The free Healthy Heritage Wellness Conference is organized by a committee, which includes staff members from Riverside County Public Health Department, the American Cancer Society, the Southern California Witness Project, a breast cancer awareness group, Inland Agency, Dameron Communications and many volunteers.

    Sponsorships for this year’s conference are still available. They will include The American Cancer Society, Pharmaceutical and Research Manufacturers of America, Southern California Edison, the Riverside County Health Foundation, Inland Agency, Dameron Communications and Novartis.
    For more information or to attend the Healthy Heritage Wellness Conference call (951) 565-4431 or e-mail hhwcmovement@yahoo.com.


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