The Amerejuve-sponsored 2014 Bayou City Step Challenge 5k was truly about the challenge: the goal to spread awareness about PCOS, the mission to support women who have it, and even simply the challenge of the course.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, or PCOS, is a condition that affects an estimated 10 percent of women, many of whom go undiagnosed. The condition is often characterized by cysts on the ovaries and hormonal imbalances that can cause a wide array of symptoms, including infertility, weight gain, skin conditions, excessive hair growth, hair loss, and others. The condition has also been linked to increased risk of stroke, diabetes, and heart attack.
Among the hundreds of participants at the Bayou City Step Challenge was Karen Smith, for whom the event carries significant personal meaning.
“My daughter deals with PCOS, so we’re big supporters,” she said.
In learning about PCOS, Smith has gained a unique perspective, including the importance of nutrition. As a high school teacher, she says she’s also seen more young women being diagnosed with the condition.
Her advice to those who find out they or a loved one have PCOS is to get involved.
“Do the research, be a part of anything that supports it,” she said, and she particularly emphasized the importance of nutrition in helping to manage PCOS as well as community support.
Smith attended the 5k last year in support of her daughter, but she did not walk because of her knees. This year, she walked alongside her daughter on two artificial knees which have allowed her to become more mobile and active again, making the event a major milestone for both mother and daughter.
“I’m going to send my doctor a card with pictures,” she said.
The overall winner of the 5k Run was 12-year-old Heather Welsch. Welsch said she had never heard of PCOS before the event, but she had learned more about it. An avid runner, she was drawn to the unusual “Step” portion of the 5k, which begins at the Houston Downtown Aquarium and includes stairs as part of the course.
“It sounded fun,” she said. “I’ll come back next year.”
Welsch, who has been running for four years, said she’s drawn to running because “It’s a big adventure. I like the scenery. It’s really fun.”
Amerejuve MedSpa and Cosmetic Surgery, a sponsor for the event, also brought a team to the run and walk. Elena Frost, an esthetician and laser hair removal technician at Amerejuve’s Galleria location, was one of the top runners in her age category.
This year was her first time attending the event, and she was impressed by the fun atmosphere and sense of community, including group dancing and stretching.
“It brings everyone together,” she said. “It was fun. I liked that it was up and down for the stairs.”
For Frost, the event also taught her about PCOS.
“I learned a lot of women have that. It’s not being diagnosed, and this even is going to help bring awareness,” she said.
Hundreds participated in the event on October 12th, which was the rescheduled date for the event after concerns about flooding on the course prompted event organizers to cancel the original September date.
“Despite that we had to cancel, we had a good turn out,” said Lisa Benjamini-Allon, founder and president of the PCOS Foundation, which puts on the event. “The event went really well. … I’m looking forward to next year.”
The PCOS Foundation’s mission is to provide resources and support for women with PCOS as well as raise awareness about the condition, both among the general public and the medical community. In addition to the annual 5k, the PCOS Foundation also organizes an annual free information symposium and monthly support groups.
Read more and view photos in The Amerejuve Insider Vol. 2 No. 4. For more information about PCOS, visit www.pcosfoundation.org. To schedule a consultation at Amerejuve MedSpa for laser hair removal or other services, call (713) 960-6262.