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Herlong to speak at Healthy Woman Celebration

Women of all ages often struggle with health issues, self-esteem problems and a laundry list of other concerns. On Sat., Feb. 21, motivational speaker Jane Jenkins Herlong is visiting the Camellia City to echo Mark Twain’s old words—the human race has ever only had one weapon against hardship, and that’s laughter.

Herlong will serve as the keynote speaker for this year’s Healthy Woman Anniversary Celebration, and her message is one that she hopes will impart lessons and laughter alike.

As a motivational humorist, Herlong said that her goal is to tell funny stories with a point.

“I learned the value of laughter from my mother.  My mother was so funny,” Herlong said.

“She dealt with some pretty tough stuff in her life.  My brother is a crack-cocaine addict, and he’s been married six times.  My mother called one time and said ‘your brother is weak-minded.’  I said ‘yeah, you think?’ She said no, ‘w-e-e-k.’ I thought about every wife he had, and every one of their initials was a day of the week.  Monday is Maurine, Tuesday is Terry, Wednesday is Wendy.  And then she got to Sunday and said that thank God Sunday is a day of rest.”

Herlong’s signature brand of humor is well documented in her own works, which include an Amazon best-seller in her latest book, “Bury Me with My Pearls.”

The women of Greenville will hear a different message, inspired by her program, “Bare Feet to High Heels and the Flip-Flops in Between.”  The program will highlight the power of humor in dealing with life’s biggest problems, including many which lie beyond our control.

“For many of us, we think of our health and it can be very scary when the doctor calls and says that your mammogram is suspicious—that just strikes fear in women,” Herlong said.

“Along with our health needs, life is just really like that.  I think the beauty of Healthy Woman is that they can help us go around those details when life flips on us if we just keep up with our health needs and we are proactive.  My sister developed breast cancer and died of heart problems because she did not have a mammogram.  And that is just the most unwise you can do for yourself and your family.”

In women’s defense, Herlong said that she and others have a tendency to put themselves on the backburner for the sake of others.

But she added that Healthy Woman is a bit like the flight attendant’s message on an airplane that one should secure one’s own oxygen mask before helping others; it’s a constant reminder that women should take care of themselves first.

And in that regard, laughter is often the best medicine of all.

“We have to learn as women to handle life’s events with a sense of humor,” Herlong said.  “And if you don’t, you’re going to be miserable.  If you can laugh, I don’t care how tragic it is—and this is sounds really bad—for those who have been down a tragic road, it’s not funny.  Through time, you will learn to smile and you’ll learn to deal.  And that’s just God giving you a hug and saying it’s going to be OK.  If you can get to that point going through awful things that happen—and no disrespect meant to anybody that goes through tragedy, sadness or hardship—when you can lighten up about things or look back and laugh about certain things, that’s just healing.”