• Sheila Levison Feinknopf

    Who was Sheila Feinknopf? She was a wife, mother, friend, community leader, teacher, business owner and someone whose life was cut short by breast cancer that was misdiagnosed by her doctor and breast surgeon. It took 13 months from when Sheila discovered a lump through breast self exam for her to receive the correct diagnosis of breast cancer and by then the cancer had spread to her liver and to her bones. From the newspaper articles and eulogies given at her funeral, it is apparent that Sheila lived life to the fullest and made the world a better place through her presence in it. She wanted to give back to the community and the world in which she lived and she is still doing that today through her fund that was established for educating people about being their own advocate and invested in their health.

    In a speech Sheila delivered to the Capital Club on January 10, 1996, she had some advice to share about what she had learned in her battle with cancer. What follows are some excerpts from her speech that day:

    “…only you can take responsibility to make the changes you want to see in yourself. I have found that no one else can do it for you. Once you decide; however, there are many guidelines to help you. I have all this by necessity! Due to dealing with breast cancer for the last 3 years, I have found these ways to take control of my life.

    You Know Your Own Body – You are the best judge of what you need. We must be responsible to get mammograms, pap tests & do self-examination. If you find a problem make sure you know the options…
    Stress and Negative Energy – one of the biggest blocks to having a healthy lifestyle. it affects us in our work, in our relationships, in our environment, and in our financial situations. Your objective is to have minimum stress and positive energy to focus on a healthy life.

    Ways to reduce Stress:

    • Evaluate what we truly want to do
    • Let people know what you like and don’t like
    • Tell the truth
    • Allow yourself time to regenerate your energy
    • Find personal time
    • Simplify your life – reduce clutter, papers, clothes, and possessions

    Enjoy every day - We have learned the only reality is now! This is not a dress rehearsal. The past is gone and the future is only a possibility.

    Take time to assess your values:

    • Take time for your family & friends (to be helpful and present)
    • Take time to eat healthy
    • Take time to get enough sleep (your body knows what it needs)…

    Show your emotions - smile more, love more, hug more, reach out & be open, let positive things in. Our emotions strongly effect our physical bodies.

    Look at your Spiritual Self – Which goes beyond your religious beliefs – so you can be in touch with your inner self through prayer, meditation, or communing with nature in a mindful way.

    Sheila Levison Feinknopf

    January 23, 1930 - April 17, 1996