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The 2nd Annual Praise Café Brunch & Fashion Show

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Praise Cafe Brunch & FashionAs I scurried into the Praise Café a little behind schedule and still warm from the unforgiving sun, WDAS deejay Doug Henderson’s voice was already booming off of every wall in the room. The greetings had been made, the musical selection had been played and the food was blessed and ready for serving but spirits were still high and more merriment was ready to emerge. 

The 2nd Annual Praise Café Brunch & Fashion Show was not only a function to honor men involved in breast cancer awareness, but also came off as a success story; a “Rocky” story of sorts. Among the cancer survivors, or “fighters,” in attendance was Anita T. Conner, the sweet-as-pie founder of GETDC (George E. Thorne Development Center) and initiator of the Praise Café. 

“Years ago my doctor told my family that I wouldn’t be here telling you my story,” she shared with the attendees as she stood at the podium. Owing to her triumph over the big “C,” Conner has a purpose to fulfill through events like this one. 

Praise Cafe Brunch & FashionSaturday’s program, which has grown three times since the past year, is just one of Conner’s ventures to empower and inform through areas of finance, education and health. This time, the objective was to fellowship, offer encouragement and give recognition to those who are making strides in the fight against breast cancer, like a few good gents. “We couldn’t do it ourselves,” Conner told Philly2Philly.com. “We really need to recognize the men because they are awesome and plus it helps them to be better caregivers.” 

The men were held with high regard, but the message was not gender-specific. “We all need each other in order to survive and that’s with anything that we’re going through,” said the certified public accountant by day. “This is a community-based event. It’s an issue that is really affecting our community and we all need to be informed and support each other.” 

Praise Cafe Brunch & FashionTwo years ago, Anita’s daughter Kerri Conner was also diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. Kerri, who is the author of the children’s book ‘My Mommy Has Breast Cancer, But She Is OK!’ went through high dose chemotherapy treatments, a double mastectomy, 30 radiation treatments and reconstructive surgery, but wore a smile brighter than most and sang the praises of a few who helped her along on her journey. “There would be no way that I could’ve gotten through what I’ve been through without the men in my life,” Kerri told the crowd. “The many runs to Baskin-Robbin’s for chocolate chip ice cream, all the times they told me I looked beautiful even when I didn’t have any hair, my nails blackened and my skin had darkened…to them I say thank you.” 

The program’s keynote speaker Reverend Charles W. Quann of Bethlehem Baptist Church had no problem bringing it all home and putting things in perspective. “As you see here today, cancer doesn’t have to be a death call. It can be a wake up call. It can be a call to make like meaningful because sometimes we major in minors,” the preacher exclaimed, as he made the smooth transition from keynote speaker to a reverend with a message. “There is no time for us to bicker and argue about mundane things. We do a lot of complaining. ‘I have a toe ache.’ ‘It looks like it’s going to rain.’ Your life can change in a moment.” The intensifying high temperature that day didn’t seem so bad.

Upcoming Event: 

Praise is the Cure - 5th Annual Weekend of Hope, Health & Healing 

Saturday, October 2, 2010 – Sunday, October 3, 2010 

Free mammograms, workshops and more 

For more information visit www.GETDC.com.