NEWBURYPORT — Dr. Jane E. Mendez, Boston Medical Center breast surgeon and patient advocate, will be the guest speaker at the YWCA Greater Newburyport's third annual Engaging Communities Luncheon. It will be held Wednesday, March 28, at the Elks Club on Low Street from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Tickets are now available for $50 each. Proceeds will support the ongoing mission-based work of the YWCA Greater Newburyport, including its health and wellness programs. For tickets and sponsorship opportunities, visit www.ywcanewburyport.org or call 978-465-9922.

The theme of this year's Engaging Communities Luncheon is "Health & Wellness: Life Beyond Breast Cancer." According to the Mass. Community Health Information Profile (MassCHIP), breast cancer incidents in greater Newburyport are 123.1 per 100,000 people.

Mendez is an internationally recognized author and speaker on breast cancer disparities, under-served breast cancer populations and cultural issues as related to breast health. She will address these issues as well as the latest medical advances in breast cancer treatment.

Luncheon Honorary Chairperson is Jeanette Beltran, director of Community Initiatives, Susan G. Komen for the Cure Massachusetts.

YWCA Greater Newburyport has been providing health and wellness programs to women and families for over 125 years. Its signature no-cost program "YWCA Encore: After Breast Cancer" offers women who have experienced breast cancer gentle land and aquatic exercises and peer support. This unique program not only helps improve mobility and diminish the pain and physical side effects of surgery, but also offers social support to improve coping skills and reduce anxiety and emotional distress.

The YWCA will also recognize two "Community Champions" at the luncheon for their work with breast cancer survivors. They are Raelene Kukene, a nurse at Riversong Plastic Surgery and facilitator of the breast cancer support group at Anna Jaques Hospital, and breast cancer survivor Nancy McGonegal, an Encore guest speaker and owner of "We Care Breast Forms & Accessories" in Beverly.

The YWCA Greater Newburyport is grateful for the support of this year's Engaging Communities Luncheon silver sponsors: Institution for Savings, The Newburyport Five Cents Savings Bank and Kim Williams and Trevor Miller. The luncheon committee co-chairs are Nicole Chabot, Charna Cummings and Jane Moran.

For more information, drop by 13 Market St., visit www.ywcanewburyport.org, call 978-465-9922, or find the YWCA Greater Newburyport on Facebook.

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