From Skin Care to Mental Health, AFC summer event showcases holistic approach 

Rafaela Prifti 

Albanians Fighting Cancer (AFC USA), a Boston based advocacy group and patient care service non profit, hosted its summer 2024 event at the Marriott Quincy on Saturday. Tailored as a comprehensive approach to health, “Cheers to Summer” featured career specialists with bona fide medical credentials who support the AFC that helps patients affected by the disease thanks to its sponsors, ticket sales and small donations. 

In her presentation at Saturday’s event, Dr. Lorena Dollani, MD, a dermatology specialist from Washington DC,  spoke about the dangers of and prevention from UVA and UVB radiation. One practical tip, she said, was to “apply two finger length worth of a broad-spectrum sunscreen (preferably mineral based formulas) on your face; rain or shine.”  Going for a skin check when it is time for the annual visit at the doctor’s office or even checking the UVA index regularly on the phone should be part of our daily care routine, she added. And because sun burn does happen, especially during the summer especially at the beach, Dr. Dollani said that the Cortisone creams are very effective. 

Then, getting a reading of the room where three generations of Albanians were listening attentively, she said with a smile: “Yes, yogurt works too! Provided that is full fat and sugar free.” Upon hearing the popular folk remedy applied traditionally by Albanian mothers for sun burns, the guests erupted into laughter and applause.

Transitioning to the critically important topic of mental health, Dr. Ermal Bojdani, MD, a psychiatrist with his own practices in New York, trained at Harvard Medical School and Columbia University Presbyterian Hospital, summarized his own career trajectory by stating: “If you want something done your way, then open your practice. (Hap kliniken tende!) President of the Mental health Optimization Collaborative, Dr. Bojdani opened three family-operated practices in New York in order to address the two frequent issues that he defined as individuals not  knowing where to ask for help and then how to cover payments. Dr. Bojdani’s nonprofit helps people access and navigate the healthcare system, notoriously ill equipped for mental health needs. 

Noela Kokomani, board member of AFC, pointed out that thanks to Telemedicine the specialists like Dr. Dollani, Dr. Bojdani and others are accessible to all patients across the country. It worth checking with your medical insurance participate with your health insurance about this beneficial  feature of Telehealth.  

Nicola Kasimati, a health care practicer with 3D Aesthetic Marina Bay, Quincy, invited participants to raise any specific concerns about the care routine or products they are using. Her office staff had brought samples of cremes, moisturizers that are part of the skin daily maintenance. 

Having the specialists at hand for any questions and free consultations was much appreciated by the attendees, who were at ease with their inquiries including post-menoapusal spots, moles and stress related situations.

Now in its fifth year, AFC’s medical professionals, specialists and supporters span across the country and abroad. 

“Last Saturday event helps with raising funds that provide more assistance and coverage for applicants who have passed hundreds by now,” said the AFC President, Roberta Nashi. Thanking the speakers,  guests and sponsors, she added: “We are making strides towards fighting cancer with courage and hope.” “While we do it, we can also wear a smile on our face as we say Cheers!” said Dr. Albana Mihali, MD, FACP,  the AFC Board of Directors member and initiator of the luncheon. 

“Being here means talking care of one another, because hard times happen to anyone,” said Silvi Karoli Dinka of Boston. ” This is how we build a community that will be there for you when and if you need it,” said she. Silvi and her teenage daughter, Katerina came early at the venue to volunteer with setting up the white clothed tables while both of them helped lay out, by the side doors of the patio,  some self help books, AFC T- shirts, hats, book notes, DVDs of last year’s fundraising concert by the renowned Albanian soprano Inva Mula and pianist Genc Tukici.

PS The author is a member of AFC USA support team