SALAMANCA — One group of women at Thursday’s A Girl’s Night Out event said they always attend the program because a couple of them are cancer survivors and enjoy spending time with each other.
The ninth annual Night Out, held at the Seneca Allegany Casino Event Center in Salamanca, drew 600 women from both New York state and Pennsylvania, said Steve Jackson, foundation president of Olean General Hospital. The event was conducted by the Olean General Hospital Foundation and the Bradford Regional Medical Center Foundation of the Upper Allegheny Health System.
The featured speaker for the evening was Kate Duffy, a Los Angeles-based actor, writer and coach who has starred in a number of independent features and television pilots and performs on “Jimmy Kimmel Live.” She is also a keynote speaker, facilitator and storyteller.
While visiting with women attending the 28 vendors at the health fair portion of the event, Duffy and Jackson shared thoughts on the evening.
“I do some comedy touring and some inspirational talks, and I also do some corporate leadership training on coaching,” Duffy said. “It’s a little mix of all of that.”
Duffy noted that her evening presentation centered on key lessons she learned from her father when he was very ill, and has since recovered.
“I spent about two years with him and during that time I really learned some lessons on how to live more purposefully,” she recalled. “Hopefully, there will be some comedy (in the presentation), but also some life lessons will come out of it.”
Duffy observed that women in general are trying to find ways to connect, such as at events like A Girl’s Night Out.
“As leaders out there, I think women are looking for connections to support each other more than ever before,” she continued. “It’s really exciting, actually.”
Duffy said she had also worked with the School of Business students at St. Bonaventure University during her trip to the area, and enjoyed that, as well. She noted the dean of the school, which has a number of female students, is Dr. Matrecia James.
“It was kind of great to see a woman in charge there,” Duffy remarked. “Especially in the School of Business, because you typically don’t see that as much.”
Women who commented on the event included Kathy Pachla of Olean, who said she attended all of the events in the past.
“This is my 10th year as a cancer survivor, I had breast cancer,” Pachla shared, noting a friend who is also a cancer survivor attends, as well as other friends who include Mary Flynn of Olean. “It’s a good time out … it’s ladies night out and we enjoy each other’s company.”
Rose Dean of Smethport was at the event with her friend, Nancy Graham of Bradford.
Dean said this is the second time for her to visit the event, and convinced Graham to attend for the first time.
“The entertainment was excellent, the food and speakers were good and everything was wonderful,” Dean said of the previous event she attended.
Vendors at the event included Kristin Ronan and Kandi Goodreau of The Pavilion at BRMC in Bradford.
“We went through a ton of brochures (on Fall Prevention Tips) because they all want to know about fall prevention,” said Ronan, who is admission coordinator for The Pavilion.
Goodreau, rehabilitation director, of Port Allegany, said she had visited with a couple of women from her community, as well as surrounding communities interested in learning more about rehab programs.
At the OGH Maternity table, vendors Mary Stevens, a unit clerk, and Judi Scott, registered nurse and director of Women’s Health Services, said they, too, had a good response from attendees.
Stevens, of Olean, said she had attended the event before, but this was the first time for her to work at a booth.
“We had a free give-away here and people went through it like that,” Stevens said. “Our give-away is already gone.”
(Contact reporter Kate Day Sager at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter, @OTHKate)