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Gulfport women-owned businesses give back to women’s health

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GULFPORT, Fla. — You might not realize it while walking through Downtown Gulfport, but so many of the businesses in the area are owned by women.

Throughout the month of October, they decided to team up and give back to a local charity that’s been life-changing for women: The Sonia Plotnick Women’s Health Fund.

“It was Women in Business Month for October, and it was also Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so we thought, ‘What if we combine the two?'” said Brenda McMahon of Brenda McMahon Gallery.

From fashion to artwork to tacos, if you made a purchase from a Gulfport women-owned business this fall, you were also giving to an important cause.

“We’re a good group of ladies that work together and help each other and help the community,” said Melissa Loven of Qi Crystal Energy.

This week these business owners presented the Sonia Plotnick Women’s Health Fund with more than $2,000 worth of donations.

“I’m so happy to be able to tell the world about it. Anyone who feels like they are not sure what to do when they are diagnosed with cancer, they can reach out and get some help,” said Echo Bartlett of Gulfport Brewery.

“We believe all women should be able to have access to health care no matter if they can afford it or not, so this donation is going to help us continue to do our work,” said Karen Johnson, Vice Chairwoman of the Sonia Plotnick Women’s Health Fund.

Sonia Plotnick died of Breast Cancer in 1964, but her daughter Phyllis still lives in the community today. The charity has been around for the past 26 years helping over 3,000 women.

“Mom, we’re doing our best,” Phyllis said.

Zaiya Artisan Market owner Jill Rice used her most popular jewelry as a way to fight back against the disease she knows all too well.

“The reason it is so personal for me is because my best friend of 45 years is going through cancer treatment right now,” said Rice.

Rice said she couldn’t be prouder of her fellow female business owners.

“We have the ability to change the world, we have the ability to make the world a better place, and it’s an honor to do my small part,” said Rice.

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