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Women With ACause to Name Its Honorees: Six Women Will Be Picked From 22 Finalists for Championing a Worthy Cause.

May 23, 2008

By Zak Minor and Kathy Van Mullekom, Daily Press, Newport News, Va.

May 23–WOMEN WITH A CAUSE — an annual celebration of women who champion a cause to improve the Williamsburg area — will announce May 30 its six honorees from a group of 22 finalists.

This year’s finalists are Kitty Beatty, Jeanne Black, Reba Bolden, Jan Michelle Brown, Ingrid Brown, Jane Medlin Burton, Carolyn Cloninger, Sally S. Craig, Margaret Cullivan, Ginny Dittman, Lindy Dunn, Mary Beth Gibson, Sarah Kadec, Kimberly Kay, Patricia McCormick, Liz Moore, Ann Buckles Orteig, Nancy Paschall, Sue Pearce, Lois Polifka, Robyn Sulanowski and Catherine Upton.

The following women were honored in 2007 for their work in the community:

–Mary Brewer of Williamsburg is a health counselor at Patriot’s Colony. Having worked for 30 years in medical social work in Williamsburg/James City County, Brewer creates a customized health care plan for each patient that includes family feedback and allows patients to live their last years with dignity and purpose.

–Sally Derrig of Gloucester Point has a passion for horses and their relationship with individuals with special needs. This passion has led her to volunteer at Dream Catchers, where she was once the executive director. Dream Catchers is a therapeutic riding center in James City County.

–Gert Berthiaume of James City County is a retired hospital employee staffing specialist who now volunteers as manager of the Sentara Williamsburg Regional Medical Center Auxiliary’s free mammogram and bone density programs. In 1998, Berthiaume designed and implemented the auxiliary’s free mammography program at Sentara Hospital to provide free mammograms to women in the community without health insurance. Combined with the bone density program added in 2000, more than 1,300 patients have been seen.

–Judy Knudson of Williamsburg is the retired executive director of Olde Towne Medical Center. The center, a public-private nonprofit agency that provides cost-effective health care to uninsured, Medicaid and Medicare patients in greater Williamsburg, opened in 1994 under Knudson’s leadership. It has given medical and dental care to more than 14,000 patients annually and employs 30 staff members supported by 65 volunteers.

–Debbie Smith of Charles City County works with Hope Exists After Rape Trauma — HEART. A rape victim in 1989, Smith helped establish the Forensic Nurse Examiner Program at Sentara Hospital and became an ardent advocate of the use of DNA analysis to solve crimes at the local and national level.

–Suzi Williamson of James City County survived breast cancer and now helps those who have lost their hair due to cancer treatment. After her own treatment, Williamson realized that she had accumulated a larger collection of hats and wigs that she no longer needed and thought others could use. She collects hats, scarves and wigs through donations and as “The Hat Trader” opens her home and heart to women who go through chemotherapy-induced hair loss.

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Copyright (c) 2008, Daily Press, Newport News, Va.

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