New women’s group initiates aftercare support service

When Mary Ann Krezan was being treated for Hepatitis C, she saw first hand the lack of support services here for woman suffering from the disease.

Mary Ann Krezan (front) and Jason Ackerman of Lipo Laser Spa (left) are helping organize the first Hep C support group for women in Kelowna. The first meeting will take place at the business

When Mary Ann Krezan was being treated for Hepatitis C, she saw first hand the lack of support services here for woman suffering from the disease.

So now, with the creation of the valley’s first support group for women with Hep C, the Kelowna resident has teamed up with the owner of a local health and esthetics spa to provide aftercare services for female patients.

“There is such a stigma attached to Hep C,” said Krezan, who contracted the disease 35 years ago from a blood transfusion but whose illness was not discovered until two years ago.

Hep. C is transferred via blood and is often— but not only—spread through the sharing of dirty intravenous needles during illegal drug use. Krezan said as a result many patients are treated as if they brought it on themselves. She said often, it is assumed patients are drug addicts. But that is not always the case.

Hep C is a blood-borne pathogen that damages the liver. Given that the liver is the filtering system for the body, it can lead to many other problems, illnesses and even death. But medical treatment is available.

The treatment, however, takes a toll on the body.

Regular symptoms of Hep. C can include severe fatigue, skin rashes, aches and pains and loss of appetite. The treatments, similar to those offered to cancer patients, carry whole range of debilitating side effects including nausea and hair loss.

The new support group, in addition to helping increase public awareness and education about the disease, will also have a social component to counter some of the side effects of treatment. The Pamper Me is what Krezan is helping organize.

It will offers spa services to help women recovering from the often harsh medical treatments needed to fight Hep C.

Similar to chemotherapy treatments for cancer, the treatments Hep C patients must undergo often result in hair loss, painful blisters and rashes and joint and pain.

And that’s where the Pamper Me program comes in.

Krezan has teamed up with Jason Ackerman, the owner of Lipo Laser Spa, a Kelowna facility that will offer Hep C patients use of its array of equipment that can ease the symptoms associated with the pain of Hep. C.

Equipment such as the low level lasers, vibration machines, healthy lights, esthetic procedures, massage and even wigs can help women feel better physically and about themselves as they go through their treatments.

“We want to help women regain their confidence and help them renew their self-esteem because that will help them get better faster,” said Ackerman.

He said he volunteered use of his business after hours because it’s important local companies give back to the community.

He said he also hopes his example will spur other business, especially thiose in the downtown area, to get involved with similar community-based programs.

The Hepatitis C support group is being organized through the Hep C clinic at Kelowna General Hospital.

The group’s first meeting is Wednesday, Feb. 9, at Lipo Laser Spa, 454 Bernard Ave., starting at 5:30 p.m.

For more information, call Donna Zukowski KGH Hep C clinic at 250-862-4435.

awaters@kelownacapnews.com

Just Posted

Community Leader Awards: Coach Dean Kennedy

Kelowna Capital News Leader of the Year series on those that give back to the community

Snowfall warning between Merritt and Hope

As much as 20 centimteres of the white stuff is expected along a stretch of the Coquhialla

Double book launch in Kelowna

Authors Sharon Thesen and Erin Moure read from their new works Thursday at library

Westbank Opry announces Christmas show

West Kelowna music fans are encouraged to bring a food donation to help the less fortunate

Giants ground Rockets in WHL action

Vancouver builds early lead, never looks back in 6-1 win at Langley Events Centre

Drones used in search for clues about missing women

A volunteer search party was supported by professional drone operators

Vernon poet makes poetry prize shortlist

He’s been involved with the craft since the ’70s, gaining recognition along the way

LIVE: BC Liberals kick off leadership debate in Nanaimo

Candidates’ forum is at noon at Vancouver Island Conference Centre

Pen High Lakers make strong showing against KSS Owls

Penticton Lakers fought hard through to final set

Gallery celebrates long history of art appreciation

Gallery Odin, at Silver Star Mountain, is gearing up to open their 16th annual Winter Exhibition

WATCH: Thousands gathering in Abbotsford for Const. John Davidson funeral procession

Celebration of life to follow at Abbotsford Centre at 1 p.m.

Warriors end seven-game road slide with win in P.G.

West Kelowna bounces back from lopsided loss to the Vees a night earlier with victory over Kings

Mellof, Koffski top Superleague of Curling

Stolairus Aviation sits at 4-0, while Raymond James is 4-1 in Kelowna Curling Club action

Back-to-back wins for the Vees this weekend

Penticton Vees take down Capitals 10-1

Most Read