Luncheon of Hope returns after four year absence

By Ken Kellar
Staff writer

For the first time in more than four years, the Luncheon of Hope is returning to offer a lunch full of togetherness, learning and more.

Traditionally held every two years by the Rainy River District Breast Health Network, the Luncheon of Hope has been missing in action since 2019 due to the onset and lingering impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, on Saturday, October 28, 2023, and taking place for the first time since October 2019, the Luncheon is going ahead, and Elizabeth Leishman-Fortes, a registered nurse and chair of the RRDBHN, said that the event will once again be what attendees expect of it.

“The Rainy River District Breast Health Network is a group of ladies that has existed prior to me even joining, and I’ve been on about 10 years,” she explained.

“It’s a network that was set up just to bring awareness to breast cancer and women’s health, essentially. This is our first Luncheon of Hope since before COVID, so we’re excited about it. We usually have a lunch, there’s a penny table and we have a speaker who presents whatever topic is relevant at the time.”

This year’s speaker is Annabelle Reimer, a nurse practitioner out of Winnipeg, Manitoba, who will be presenting on the topic of hormone health, specifically related to women and the changes they may expect as they age and approach and experience menopause.

“We like to present a topic that may just help enlighten or bring interest to people, maybe make them a little bit more curious about the topic we have chosen to have presented,” Leishman-Fortes explained.

“As a woman, and an aging woman – and luckily I can say aging because I feel that I am lucky to be aging, it shouldn’t be a negative thing– but as we age, we will inevitably go through these hormonal changes that will lead us to be postmenopausal, and everybody experiences those vastly different, and oftentimes there are symptoms happening and women aren’t even aware that that’s actually what is happening. This year, with Annabelle, that’s kind of an area of specialty for her.”

Topics of presentation in the past have not necessarily been strictly related to health, and Leishman-Fortes again just stressed that they hope to bring in presenters who can teach attendees to the luncheon something they may not have otherwise known that could benefit their lives in some way.

Outside of the presentation, the Luncheon will also have a meal to be enjoyed, as well as some other activities to take in, such as a penny table and special quilt raffle.

“We do have a penny table, and we will still gladly accept donations for our penny table,” she said.

“We also have our quilt that the Cabin Country Quilt Guild has made for us, they have made us a quilt for many, many years, and we will be raffling that off at the luncheon as well.”

There are still tickets available both for the luncheon itself, as well as the popular quilt raffle. Leishman-Fortes said representatives of the Rainy River District Breast Health Network will be at the market in Couchiching First Nation this weekend to sell tickets. Tickets for the luncheon can also be purchased at Northwoods Gallery and Gifts, The Place, Shoppers Drug Mart, RefleXion Studio and at the specialist clinic at La Verendrye General Hospital. Tickets are $30 each.

The luncheon is set to begin with a mix and mingle at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, October 28, 2023, at La Place Rendez-Vous, with the luncheon being served at 12:30 p.m. and the speaker following soon after that. Leishman-Fortes said that the event will be a fun afternoon to spend with friends, and encourages those interested to buy a ticket while supplies last.

“Get out, get your ticket, and come and have a nice afternoon with friends,” she said.

“People can reserve a table by calling 274-4817 but they have to have a group of 10. We can’t hold seats for five people on the table. If they have 10 friends they want to get together, and they want to hold a table, we can reserve only for tables of 10.”