Linthicum Health Fest, set for Saturday, will honor spiritual healer


September 09, 2001|By Rosalie Falter | By Rosalie Falter,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

MARY GITTINGS Christiansen died in 1994, but her spirit lives on at the Linthicum Health Fest.

"It was my friend's dream to see traditional and alternative medicine come together under one roof. She always talked about opening a healing center," Cathy Ulrich said of Christiansen. "She believed God came through human touch to heal."

The Health Fest, in its fifth year, will be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday at Lindale Middle School, 415 Andover Road.

Christiansen, who described herself as a spiritual healer and metaphysical minister, grew up in the Glen Burnie area. She and Ulrich, owner of Head to Toe Beauty Salon in Linthicum, were friends for more than 25 years.

Christiansen's death at age 44 of a lifelong illness had a strong effect on Ulrich. Trying to cope with the loss of her friend, Ulrich said, she talked to clients in her beauty salon about Christiansen's idea of combining hospital treatments with alternative healing.

"Mary spent a lot of time in the sterile environment of a hospital, especially as a young teen-ager, and thought there should be something more offered to people who are sick," Ulrich said.

Several clients agreed that it was a good idea. They might not have been able to open a center, as Christiansen envisioned, but they came up with the idea of a one-day health festival bringing together different approaches to healing.

Lynne Marie McGowan, a local massage therapist and one of the four women who started the festival, said she was willing to help right away.

"The day we talked about it, Cathy and I got in a car and drove around looking for a place to hold this type of event," McGowan said.

They settled on the local middle school. From that first year, when they weren't sure how to go about planning such an event, the festival has grown into one of the best and most well-organized ones in the county.

Each woman has jobs in planning for the event. Ulrich said she checks with the school to ensure that the facilities are available and is a liaison with North Arundel Hospital. McGowan mails letters and coordinates the vendors. She also sees that signs are placed in the community and lays out the floor plans for the hall so that things flow smoothly.

Joyce Gigliotti and Nancy Fox fill out the planning team. Gigliotti, as treasurer, handles table rental for groups that participate. Fox delivers more than 7,000 fliers to area schools. She also solicits gift certificates from restaurants for use as door prizes.

North Arundel Hospital will team up with local health professionals to offer screenings, wellness displays and educational information. The free screenings are for cholesterol, colon cancer, pulmonary function/pulse oximetry, blood pressure, anemia and dental problems.

The health professionals and community businesses will offer consultations and provide demonstrations of supplemental and alternative therapies. This will be the time to learn about acupuncture, chiropractic, holistic medicine, herbs, shiatsu, the birthing center and women's wellness, infant massage, elder care, magnet therapy, sound therapy and intuitive counseling.

Admission is free, but some readings and counseling sessions require a small fee. In "animal communication" sessions, Ulrich said, pet owners bring photos of their pets and receive diagnoses of the animals' ailments. An aura photographer will be on site for a fee.

Some items will be for sale, such as handcrafted crystal jewelry.

"One of the factors that started us down the path is that people don't know what is around," Ulrich said. "They have questions, and they don't always know what alternate therapies are out there. Here they can actually see demonstrations and get information."

Local community organizations will sell food and beverages during the event. They include Woman's Club of Linthicum Heights, Linthicum Lions Club, Rotary Club of Linthicum, AARP, Performing Arts Association of Linthicum, Chesapeake Center for the Creative Arts, Pascal Senior Center, Hospice of the Chesapeake and Sarah's House.

Booth space is available for nonprofit community organizations and churches.

Information: 410-859-5954.

Honor for Alarmers

Members of the Ferndale-based Anne Arundel Alarmers Association are looking forward to an invitation they received from CSX as a thank-you for their help during the train tunnel fire in downtown Baltimore.

They are invited to a bullpen party and the game between the Orioles and the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

Bill Sieglein, a member of the Alarmers, said 20 to 25 men and women from the group will attend. The Alarmers are one of several volunteer canteen units that helped during the emergency and are invited to the event.

Quilters plan party

Friendship Quilters will celebrate the first meeting of the new season with a pizza party at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at St. John Lutheran Church, 300 W. Maple Road.

The agenda includes discussion of a quilt show scheduled Sept. 22 and 23 at Marley Middle School and fabric swapping.

Also to be discussed is the Sit and Sew session to be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at the Linthicum library. The session is for anyone with unfinished sewing projects who wants to join others to work on projects.

Friendship Quilters meets the second Thursday of each month from September to June.

Information: Lynn Kampe, 410-766-6010.

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