2007-02-09 / Columnists

On The Beach

Extend Your Kindness, Extend Your Health
Commentary By Beverly Baxter

Commentary By Beverly Baxter

BEVERLY BAXTER Ever extend a kind gesture or go out of your way to offer a truly selfless deed and notice how good it makes you feel? Well, according to the American Medical Association, altruistic activities such as volunteering or philanthropy actually render significant health benefits in that such actions, that make us feel good about ourselves as human beings, physically make us feel good because our brain floods our bodies with endorphins, peptide neurotransmitters that produce a "natural high" and an overall feeling of well-being. In other words, according to the study, those who find time to give of themselves to causes that are greater than themselves, that benefit those other than themselves, actually live longer, healthier lives.

Perhaps you've pondered the fleeting notion of how nice it would be to volunteer at Peninsula Hospital Center as a member of the Auxilians, only to talk yourself out of it by deliberating that you haven't the time; it's a "west end sorority" that "wouldn't have you as a member"; or that you have nothing to offer. However, as the peninsula's population continues to swell and there is an increasing demand for our community hospital to meet these challenges, so too do each and every one of us share an individual stake and have a part to play in ensuring that our hospital meets our needs.

Long perceived as a private club for the "ladies who lunch," the Auxilians have evolved to mirror the diversity of our community. They are comprised of professional men as well as women, from throughout the peninsula, and retirees who wish to remain active and relevant in their community; they are actively engaging a younger demographic for whom the hospital will serve for many years to come.

Joan Coogan, an enthusiastic Auxilian, recently called me to explain why it's so important to become involved and lamented how she wished she had only become involved sooner. "I had this intimidating notion that it was a stuffy group of affluent women with lots of time on their hands, women with whom I had little in common," said Coogan. "Yet, from the moment I walked into my first meeting, I was treated with such a warm and welcoming spirit. They immediately made me feel that I had something worthwhile to contribute and they seemed grateful for my presence."

As a fundraising arm of the hospital, the Auxilians host a myriad of events. Among these are the popular Holiday Boutique and Book Sales in the Lobby. Their combined endeavors have enabled the Auxilians to present a recent check for ten thousand dollars at last year's Annual Public Address. This money will specifically assist and enhance the new Mammography Suite.

Under the leadership of Co-Presidium Sheila Schwartz and Anne Levine, the Auxilians set a selfless standard of volunteerism to which we are could all aspire. They are smart, giving and pro-active in their constant quest to improve the community's access to quality healthcare. The Auxilians meet on the first Tuesday of every month from noon to 1 p.m. in the Meditation Room at Peninsula Hospital Center's Rehabilitation and Extended Care facility. They host interesting speakers who are renowned in a myriad of medical topics such as Type 2 Juvenile Diabetes, Nutrition, Cardiology, Oncology, Asthma, Traumatic Brain Injury, Stroke prevention, etc...You are warmly invited to attend.

***While I am grateful that my parents who winter in Palm Beach were not effected by the tornado, my dear friend Mary Dever Kelly, who winters at The Villages in Central Florida, recently called me to convey that while she and Jim are doing well in the wake of the catastrophic tornado that whipped through their community, nearly 1,000 homes were destroyed. Many Rockaway residents have retired to The Villages and some were devastated, as were the many who moved from the Gulf Coast in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, only to be devastated again. The Kelly's are doing all they can to help those who were not as fortunate; and knowing the Kelly's, their neighbors have a very good friend. Happy and healthy birthday wishes to Mary and her twin sister Peggy.

***For all of you who adore and appreciate the artistic talent and kind humanity of Patrick Clark, I am delighted to tell you that Patrick has relocated his Stained Glass Studio to a brand new space in what was the former Palm Garden, located at 114-24 Rockaway Beach Boulevard. Owen and I are delighted that the space is being used as an artistic haven and we welcome Patrick and his lovely Labrador, "Corona"!

***Sightings! Soooo good to see Desi O'Leary out and about recently after having endured double hip replacement surgery. Keep on truckin', Desi! Equally nice to see the King Clan out celebrating Jack's 80th Birthday at The Steakhouse. It was quite a night at The Steakhouse on Super Bowl Sunday night when Owen gave an impromptu serenade for Gloria and Freddy Castro. The Castro's, of Neponsit, have been married for 33 years and Gloria still boasts that she married the best looking man in Canarsie!

***Welcome to our world! Congratulations to Danny and Jacqueline Foster, owners of Boardwalk Bagels, on the birth of their son, Daniel Gerard, who was born on December 27, weighing 7lbs. 6oz. And of course, congratulations to Councilman Addabbo and his wife Dawn on the birth of the couple's second beautiful daughter, Arianna Nicolle, born on January 9 at New York Hospital-Flushing, weighing 8 lbs. 3oz. It's also a day on which another special lady was born: Happy Birthday Teresa Baxter!

***Ooh Baby, Baby! Liz and Kevin Breslin eagerly await the arrival of "Beach Baby Breslin" who is due to make its debut any day now. Liz's sisters, Danielle Smith and Corrine Jones, hosted a wonderful Baby Shower for Liz at Russo's on February 3 where more than 125 women showered Liz with love and the most beautiful baby gifts. I was seated at Liz's table, celebrating the occasion with Rose Hughes, Lorraine Agoglia, and good friends, Trish and Cathy. Liz, looking big, bouncy, and so very beautiful, is an inspiration and this is her time to shine. I also extend my deepest, happiest wishes to Maureen Smith, Liz's mother, who is about to become a grandmother for the very first time and who wears it sooo beautifully well!

***See you...On the Beach!

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