At the heart of Cookin’ Men

Parkview Foundation’s 15th annual Cookin’ Men event took place on Saturday, April 21, and once again brought together amateur chefs, generous volunteers and attendees with an appetitie, for one of the premier fundraising events in northeast Indiana. This night always brings laughs and smiles and best of all, Cookin’ Men strives to raise much-needed funds in support of women’s health.

We celebrated the milestone of Cookin’ Men’s 15th year with a crowd of approximately 1,700 attendees. All were treated to delightful dishes and drinks prepared and served by more than 115 local men representing the community. The generosity, which lies at the heart of this annual gathering, serves to ensure that women have access to quality health care and preventative initiatives. This year was no exception with women’s heart health as the event’s beneficiary.

With nearly $184,000 contributed through the event, this generosity will be used to fund heart health programs and treatment for women in northeastern Indiana. For example, Parkview Heart Institute’s, Her Heart Challenge has helped many women in our area – including Donna Kaiser.

When there is “no prior history” of a specific disease within family genetics, one may not worry about that disease. However, that was not the case for Donna. She was proactive about her yearly mammograms and overall health. In 1999, with no prior family history, Donna was diagnosed with breast cancer.

The cancer was found only in her left breast at the time and was diagnosed as lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS), which can ultimately increase the risk of breast cancer initially. Donna was told at the time that radiation would not be necessary. Six months later, when she returned for a check-up mammogram, she was told the cancer was in her right breast as well – this time ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS).

Donna had the option to choose between chemotherapy and radiation, or a full mastectomy. In October 2000, she had a total mastectomy. Following the procedure, while considered “cancer free”, Donna’s cholesterol began to increase rapidly due to the fact that she had to stop taking certain medications during her cancer treatment. Despite dieting and exercising, she found it difficult to control her cholesterol levels.

In an effort to monitor her heart health and prevent any future cardiovascular issues, Donna’s doctor introduced her to Parkview Heart Institute’s Her Heart Challenge. “I thought, ‘I’m going to do this!’. I need to take care of my heart and I want to learn more about what I can do,” Donna said.

With the statistics in the back of her mind – heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women – Donna was given the resources she needed to fight the odds and stay healthy to lower her cholesterol. She benefited from everything from regular testing and blood work to breathing techniques and gym memberships.

“If I hadn’t been diagnosed with cancer, I wouldn’t have been aware of the whole heart issue. That’s really what led me to the Her Heart Challenge and it saved my life. The team there saved my life,” Donna continued. “One journey led to another and that lead to another. I feel like I am healthier because of Parkview and it’s Her Heart program.”

With grateful and appreciative hearts, we thank everyone for their generosity in supporting Cookin’ Men and the lives it touches. Watch for Cookin’ Men tickets to go on sale February 2019. Be a part of the fun, and be a part of the transformation for a lifetime.

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