The evening of Oct. 23 was a night filled with stories, laughter and sharing as women filled the crevices of Mirbeau Inn and Spa in Skaneateles.
They came to nourish their minds, bodies and spirits at an event aptly named "Nourish Your Mind, Body and Spirit." With the aid of Laura Ponticello, a local writer and columnist, Mirbeau came together with independent bookstore Creekside Books and Coffee and the Carol M Baldwin Breast Cancer Fund, Inc. to present women with keynote speakers, book signings, dinner and events that ranged from guided visualization and meditation to a breast cancer survivor circle.
Prominent survivor Carol Baldwin spoke to the crowd of ladies donned in shades of pink -- the color for breast cancer -- and black.
"I'm a crusader. I don't burn my bra in Washington," Baldwin said. "In fact, I don't wear one."
As actor son Daniel Baldwin stood with his mother at the podium, looking at her gentle face with mock, Baldwin shared her story of medical hardships and how she has overcome them to help others.
Diagnosed with breast cancer 18 years ago, Baldwin said that a lump was discovered during a routine checkup and mammogram. She then went through biopsies, with the grim results that one lump was benign, the other malignant.
She attended her son Stephen's wedding downstate with the knowledge that five days after sharing in the joy of his union, both her breasts would be removed through a double mastectomy.
"I don't intend to give up my way of living," Baldwin said.
Following treatment, Baldwin started the research fund that has raised more than $1 million to date. With the help of her children, area hospitals have been the bearers of good fortune in cancer research.
"It does have some advantage to having famous sons," she said. "They have been a tremendous help, my children."