AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m.But by the end of the morning, all participants were enriched to the brim, hugging each other, laughing, enjoying – and looking forward to the ninth annual conference in the fall of 2009. (Mark your calendars!) But all this mental stimulation was just the beginning. With so many women in the captive audience, it was only fitting that Cathy Alessandra and Linda Wenglikowski, event co-chairwomen, would add an opportunity for serious shopping into the mix with a lineup of accessory boutiques. Because proceeds from this year’s conference go toward the hospital’s breast cancer programs, the keynote speaker, appropriately, was cancer survivor and entertainer Ann Jillian. To add to the spirit of gratitude, two women were honored by LCM with major awards. Foundation president Joseph Zanetta awarded the 2007 Mary Potter Humanitarian Award to LCM benefactor Marie Crimi Roser, a 10-year member of the board of trustees and former vice chairwoman of the $50million legacy campaign. “I wish I could say `Please, please support Little Company of Mary Hospital,’ but that would be preaching to the chorus,” she said, adding, “I have gotten so much more from the other volunteers than I have given.” If you didn’t make it to Friday’s wildly successful eighth annual Women’s Wellness Conference, “The Power of Pink” at the Torrance Marriott Hotel, give yourself 20 lashes for missing a chance to celebrate being alive with 600-plus radiant, wonderful, blessed, “smokin’ hot” South Bay sisters. In a single morning, attendees of the daylong benefit for Little Company of Mary Community Health Foundation found inner peace by living in the present, learning about spiritual well-being through dream therapy, discovering how to live in harmony with teens and learning how to have sensational skin (depending on which two seminars they chose to attend). What’s more, they learned how to avoid identity fraud, discovered the secret of a flat tummy, and even learned “how mama got her groove back.” No wonder a number of attendees take a mental health day off from work to give themselves this day of fun, friendship and fulfillment. The only stress was deciding which programs to attend. Imagine having to choose between your soul and your sex life, your teen and your identity. Next, Beverly Wishon, director of the hospital’s Medical Staff Affairs, introduced Kathy Harren, LCM chief nursing officer, as winner of the 2007 Sister Nancy Boyle Award for Excellence. In accepting the award, Harren quoted a former executive of Nike who left to “find himself” and traveled the impoverished areas of the world. “What he learned,” she said, “is millions of people in the world would do anything to do this good work, and we are the lucky ones.” She added that good work is never done alone. “It has to be done shoulder to shoulder with others.” Following lunch, Jillian, 57, spoke with great humor and candor – even throwing in a well-tuned rendition of “Amazing Grace.” No, Jillian may no longer be that blond beauty with the big eyes, the bob and the bangs. But she’s just as lovely on the inside. “I know, I know. I’m not as blond, not as young and not as thin, but I am here, baby,” Jillian said in her opening remarks, to a burst of applause. “Without faith and a good sense of humor, we couldn’t get through much in life.” Among her words of wisdom, Jillian acknowledged that “challenges and transitions” are what it takes “to survive and thrive.” She credited her parents, who escaped from Lithuania on a ship headed for America during World War II, for her strong faith. And she acknowledged Betty Ford for pointing out that it is OK to cry, but not for too long. “My motto is: After you pray, accept, adapt and then move on and live your reward,” she said. Following an hour’s talk laced with witty one-liners and recollections of celebrities including Bob Hope and Johnny Carson, Jillian took questions. Regarding having reconstructive surgery after a mastectomy, she said she opted not to, but respected those who do. “Who we are comes from within. The rest is cherries on the cake,” she said. “Given the choice between looking again into my son’s eyes and losing an inch or two (she pointed to her breast), I’ll take life.” Meredith Grenier 310-540-5511, Ext. 494 [email protected] local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!