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Mid-Hudson Vegetarian Society, Inc.
38 East Market Street, Rhinebeck, New York 12572 USA -  845-876-2626
Vegetarian - Vegan - Animal Rights - Health - Nutrition - Environment

The mission of the Mid-Hudson Vegetarian Society, Inc. is to promote the vegetarian ethic in the Mid-Hudson (New York) region, educate the community and aid anyone in the pursuit of a totally vegetarian (vegan) cruelty-free and healthful lifestyle.


Fall 2001 Issue


"Your tests came back positive." These words sent a shiver through my body. (Later I would think about the millions of others who have heard these same words). I have skin cancer?  How could this be – I eat a healthy vegan diet and get more exercise than most people my age?

Perplexed, I did some research on the Web.  I found that my diet was not a factor in my cancer.  Overexposure to the sun was.  I learned that there are three main types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma (the least invasive); squamous cell carcinoma (which is mid-level invasive – and if left untreated, can become very serious) and the most serious and invasive type of cancer – melanoma.  Maureen Reagan recently died from malignant melanoma.

Fortunately, I did not have a melanoma.  I had both basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma.  I underwent outpatient surgery. Both of my cancerous lesions were on my face (one right between my eyebrows and one right smack in the middle of my nose) so I had to wear bulky bandages on my face for a week. And now a few weeks later, I have a couple of scars and some redness, but soon these will fade.

The majority of skin cancers come from spending too much time in the sun.  So, although I am a vegan, this doesn’t prevent skin cancers from developing in people like myself – who used to bask in the sun for hours on end, but it does give our immune system a better chance at healing and recovering from surgery.

I urge everyone who has had at least two bad sunburns to visit a dermatologist for a top-totoe exam.  Skin cancer, particularly melanoma, has become much more common, possibly because of environmental pollution and holes in the ozone protective layer. Caught in time, skin cancer can be cured.

Just before surgery, I went for my yearly "fix" – the Summerfest.  This annual conference, which is sponsored by the North American Vegetarian Society, always rejuvenates me so much that I call it "my yearly fix." Seven MHVS members attended this year.  We enjoyed five days of delicious vegan meals and workshops galore.  The workshops covered many aspects of vegetarianism, nutrition, animal rights, environmental issues and spirituality. There were cooking classes, lectures by renowned authorities – and, since vegans have more energy – lots of entertainment, including dancing, hiking, exercise classes, and yoga. Even our very own Robbie Schiff did a stand-up comedy routines. This was my sixth Summerfest and I look forward to attending again next year.

Thanks are in order for a MHVS event.  We are grateful to Nirja Kumar for once again hosting and preparing an amazing, authentic Indian dinner. We can’t wait until next year when she promised to do it again.

We had wonderful weather for our annual summer picnic, but it was not as well attended as in previous years. Since we want to please all our members, we would appreciate any suggestions about the kinds of events that you would like us to have.

Yours for another active and satisfying Fall season.

Rachel Schlecht, President

Return to Fall 2001 Newsletter

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