Culture + Wellness: Feel-Good October

Photo of Smith Tower, courtesy of Northwest Polite Society

As we plunge into a cozy season of gathering and giving thanks, we’re finding plenty of ways to enjoy life while feeling good about our choices, too. We pooled info on some upcoming events that support meaningful causes, and also learned not-to-be-missed tips from local medical experts related to Breast Cancer Awareness Month (toward the end of the article). 

  • Throughout October,  local cycling studio BurnCycle recognizes National Bullying Prevention month by offering free classes to teens (ages 14-18). BurnCycle Against Bullying was created in recognition of the fact that most everyone has a bullying story. Three years ago, the company pledged to use their community of more than 15,000 riders to build a community of kindness and inclusion. All month-long, they’re encouraging riders to sign their “BurnCycle Against Bullying” pledge, where participants promise to be upstanders rather than bystanders.
  • Sheraton Hotels recently partnered with Beautify Earth, a global organization whose mission involves bringing people together through community art. They stopped in Seattle for their initial joint project, and here’s a video of what unfolded. Watch Beautify Earth founders Evan, Ruben and Sergio, as they travel here to inspire engagement with residents and local business owners. Their purpose? “To bring people together to co-create and beautify a neighborhood by creating a large-scale public mural to transform the local Seattle community.”
  • Through October 15, KEXP celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month. Throughout the month they’ve been “paying tribute to the amazing music and community of Mexico, with song selections, live performance spotlights and interviews with local nonprofits serving the Latin American community in Seattle.” KEXP has also been highlighting music from throughout Latin America with special on-air features, podcasts and more.
Photo by Alec Miller, Copyright Pratt Fine Arts Center
  • Refract, the region’s first-ever glass art festival, will unite more than 50 artists and organizations from October 17 through 20 at 75-plus events around Seattle, Tacoma, Everett, Bainbridge Island, Bellevue and Shoreline.  Enjoy parties, new exhibitions, artist open studios, hands-on experiences and live demos. Highlights range from the Museum of Glass’ free opening party for “Transparency,” the nation’s first museum exhibition of Studio Glass works produced exclusively by artists in the LGBTQ+ community, to Artist Open Studios, which offers the unique opportunity to go behind-the-scenes with some of Seattle’s most extraordinary glass artists. A closing night party (October 20, 3:30-6:30 p.m.) at the new Pike Place MarketFront Glass Pavilion is free with an optional tasting ticket. Enjoy live music from Seattle’s electric swing band Good Co., glassblowing and flame-work demos by Market artists and a visit from Janusz Poźniak of the Netflix series “Blown Away.”


  • A new event series (presented by Murano Senior Living, a senior living facility opening in First Hill this fall) features fun social gatherings, with all proceeds going to support selected non-profits. On October 16, for example, See, Sip, Swing comes to Flatstick Pub in South Lake Union, allowing guests to play unlimited rounds of mini-golf while sipping Washington wines and eating Ethan Stowell’s brick-oven pizza. Artist Trust, the event’s nonprofit partner, will have curated art on display throughout the venue. And on the night before Halloween, The Magic of Storytelling, supports nonprofit The Bureau of Fearless Ideas. At Pioneer Square’s historic Smith Tower, enjoy readings by local authors, including Isaac Marion of the Warm Bodies book series, get wowed by local magician Nash Fung, and enjoy food and drinks, too.  
  • This week the new documentary “Tomorrow and The Butterfly” passes through Seattle in an exclusive screening, but we’re hopeful all viewers can access the film soon. The feature-length documentary (filmed in six vignettes) tells stories of sustainability, beauty, tolerance and diversity around the world that converge with Davide Bollati, chairman of professional beauty company The Davines Group, and his vision of business and brand ethos. Be on the lookout for the film, directed by award-winning filmmaker Alessandro Soetje, hopefully coming to Amazon On-Demand after its festival run. (The work is nominated for the Branded Content of the Year award at the MIPCOM in Cannes, France.)
  • October 14 is Indigenous Peoples’ Day, and here are some ways to celebrate around Seattle. On that topic (and speaking of powerful films), on the eve of the monumental raising of a Big House in Canada’s Heiltsuk territory, the Vancouver International Film Festival hosted a special joint screening with Tsleil Waututh and Heiltsuk Nation of the new documentary “Raven People Rising.” The moving piece shares how the Heiltsuk people in the Great Bear Rainforest have stood up to defend their rights and territories again and again (in ways that benefit us all)—and how they’re now “taking power back from regulators asleep at the wheel.” Learn about hosting your own screening here
  • As part of October’s Breast Cancer Awareness MonthPacific Medical Centers is spreading knowledge about the most common cancer in American women—and the second leading cause of cancer death in women. One in eight women is impacted in her lifetime, and treatment is most successful when breast cancer is detected early. Two healthcare providers offer insight into their recommendations and screening advice. (Pacific Medical Centers offers a full suite of diagnostic imaging services.)

Dr. Christopher Smith, MD, FACP explains that women at high risk – because of family history, a breast condition or another medical reason – may need to begin screening earlier and/or more often. Dr. Smith encourages everyone to “talk to your medical provider to be sure about when to start screening.” He also shared that PacMed follows the American Cancer Society guidelines for breast cancer screening.

Dr. Smith’s (Medical Director of Quality and Primary Care Physician) insights for women at average risk for breast cancer:
● Women with an average risk of breast cancer – most women fall under this category – should begin yearly mammograms at age 45.
● Women should be able to start the screening as early as age 40, if they choose.
● At age 55, women should have mammograms every other year – though women who want to keep having yearly mammograms should be able to do so.
● Regular mammograms should continue for as long as a woman is in good health
● Talk to your doctor about the best screening program for you.

Additionally, Dr. Gurpreet Dhillon, MD shares that the goal of digital mammography is early detection, which reduces deaths, extends life expectancy and improves quality of life. “Screening mammograms have reduced the mortality rate from breast cancer by one third while also enabling less surgery, fewer mastectomies and less frequent or aggressive chemotherapy,” Dr. Dhillon said.

Dr. Dhillon’s (Radiology Physician) insights on 2D vs 3D mammography:
• 3D mammography acquires multiple images of the breast at different angles and allows radiologists to see around overlapping structures.
• When women have mammograms and an abnormal finding is detected, they will be called back for additional imaging. Because 3D imaging eliminates most summation artifacts—or overlapping breast tissue that can resemble cancer—that can often show up on 2D imaging, this results in fewer women being called back.
• Additionally, fewer patients will experience short-term anxiety waiting for their second test results.
• 3D mammography lowers recall rate and has higher cancer detection rates over 2D mammography.
• 3D mammography offers a 41 percent increase in detection of invasive cancer and a 49 percent increase in positive predictive value.