- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 29, 2008

They call themselves the 60-Mile Men, the name of a nonprofit begun in 2007 by a single man in Michigan taking part in a 60-mile endurance walk over three days to raise funds on behalf of breast cancer research. The idea morphed into a national crusade that has produced a 2009 calendar featuring men from various U.S. cities posed and smiling ever so discreetly in the almost-buff.

Yes, these are poster boys who willingly give a nod to the movie “Calendar Girls,” which inspired their project. The 2003 British comedy was, in turn, based on the true story of a group of Yorkshire women who produced a nude calendar to raise money for leukemia research under the auspices of a local charity. Proceeds after costs of the men’s $20 calendar go to charities that benefit from the annual Breast Cancer 3-Day Walk, which takes place at different times in different localities around the country.

The calendar includes a smiling Larry Roshfeld, 49, of Rockville, a technology industry executive, as “Mr. October” who walked this year both in the District and Philadelphia.

An estimated 200,000 women are said to be diagnosed with some stage of breast cancer each year as well as about 2,000 men, notes the group’s Web site, www.60milemen.org.

Vote for Amex winner

Jay Smith, 58, of Falls Church, learned two weeks ago that his project had been voted the winner in an unusual contest sponsored by American Express for community-minded card members seeking to make a positive impact in the world. The $1.5 million award is decidedly a mixed blessing and one he most likely would rather not have had.

Titled Alzheimer’s Disease: Early Detection Matters, the project Mr. Smith entered grew out of his own experience seeing his wife Patty, 54, struggle for two years to get her own case diagnosed correctly because, in his words, “when somebody is young [medical personnel] dismiss it because it is perceived to be a disease of old people.”

Five finalists shared $2.5 million for projects entered in the online initiative, which had 221,000 card-member registrants. More than 176,000 votes were cast over a three-month period.

Mr. Smith will work with the Alzheimer’s Association in applying the sum, which he says is “to educate doctors and others about the importance of early detection. We aren’t spending research dollars, but raising awareness. … Early detection allows for more time to have some quality of life and make decisions about health care. It kind of changes your priorities.”

Owner of a public relations firm, Mr. Smith has his wife with him at home, where she is in what he calls the “moderate stage” of the disease.

Cook-ins and music

DCCentral Kitchen is holding a series of what it calls Crock-Pot Community Initiative Workshops to teach clients how to better use food-stamp dollars to create nutritious home-cooked meals in the face of rising food costs. Today’s session takes place in the SOME Barnaby House; the next two will be Thursday and Nov. 7 at other locations.

Workshops include a slow-cooker demonstration as well as a tasting and food-preparation tips. Donated slow cookers will be given away during the sessions.

Meanwhile, Shepherd’s Table in Silver Spring, one of the area’s oldest resource centers for people in need, served up its 1 millionth meal on Oct. 21. For the nonprofit’s 25th anniversary, Nov. 8, the organization plans A Tribute to Acoustic Music at the newly renovated Eisenhower Theater in the Kennedy Center. Tickets range from $40 to $75. Shepherd’s Table is a comprehensive volunteer service organization that offers medical care, free apparel and, of course, plentiful meals daily - more than 4,500 meals to about 148 individuals in January alone.

Hillwood’s military call

The District’s Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens, 4155 Linnean Ave. NW - former home of the late top Washington hostess Marjorie Merriweather Post - has put out the call to soldiers, veterans and their families to enjoy a full afternoon of activities “on the house” Nov. 9 in honor of Veterans Day.

The event - with donations expected from other members of the public wishing to attend - commemorates Miss Post’s longtime support of American soldiers and veterans of war over a 50-year period. Her projects included financing a Red Cross hospital in France in World War I and lending her yacht to the Coast Guard in World War II.

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