5 things to know about Mike Turner’s soon-to-be ex-wife Majida Mourad Turner

Published: Friday, May 19, 2017 @ 5:07 PM

Dayton area Congressman Mike Turner and Majida Mourad were married on Dec. 19 at Westminster Presbyterian Church in downtown Dayton. Photo by Cydney Hatch with Afton Photography
Dayton area Congressman Mike Turner and Majida Mourad were married on Dec. 19 at Westminster Presbyterian Church in downtown Dayton. Photo by Cydney Hatch with Afton Photography

It seems love did not last long for Congressman Mike Turner and his second wife.  

Married less than two years, the former Dayton mayor has filed for divorce from Majida Mourad Turner.

>> MORE: Dayton Congressman Mike Turner files for divorce

Turner and his former wife Lori Turner have two daughters, Jessica and Carolyn.  They divorced in 2013.

Mike and Majida Turner were married during a private ceremony on Dec. 19, 2015, at Westminster Presbyterian Church in downtown Dayton.

 

Congressman Mike Turner poses for a photo with his fiancee, Majida Mourad, and his daughters Carolyn, left, and Jessica at the Dayton Art Institute’s Art Ball 2015 on June 13.

Here are 5 facts about Majida Turner you may not know. 

She’s a beauty

The Toledo native was named one of the 50 Most Beautiful People on Capitol Hill in 2015.

The “proud Ohioan” eschews traditional workouts at the gym for activities that keep her out and about, such as bike riding.

“I don’t like to feel like I have to work out,” she explains. “I like to just go out and be active.”

She has a background in politics and government

Majida was a member of President George W. Bush’s transition team staff and was aide to former U.S. Rep. Sonny Bono, R-Calif., and then his wife former U.S. Rep. Mary Bono, according to the Columbus Dispatch. 

From 2001 to 2005, she was a senior advisor for the U.S. Department of Energy. In that role she focused on the United States Department of Energy international relations in the Middle East, Australia, Russia and a host of European and Asian countries, her United States Energy Association bio says. 

She had a long resume

Majida  is  vice president government affairs at Tellurian Inc. (The Abraham Group), according to her Linkedin page. 

She was  vice president of government relations at Cheniere Energy Inc.  when she married Turner.  That role is still listed as current on her Linkedin page. 

She is listed as an honorary board member of The American Foundation for Saint George Hospital in McLean, Va. 

Salad and Diet Coke are her things

Majida told the Hill that she is really into family — and her lifelines are “salad and Diet Coke.” 

>> MORE:  What you need to know about Mike Turner’s bride-to-be

She was on Turner’s arm

Majida was her congressman husband's date at community events like the Dayton Art Institute’s annual Art Ball. 

Rep. Mike Turner with then fiancée Majida Mourad at the 2015 Art Ball.(Amelia Robinson)

Congressman Mike Turner and his wife Majida were married Saturday, Dec. 19 at Westminster Presbyterian Church in downtown Dayton. From left to right Charine Mourad, niece of the bride, the bride and groom, Carolyn Turner, daughter of the groom and Jessica Turner, daughter of the groom. Photo by Cydney Hatch with Afton Photography(Cydney Hatch with Afton Photogra)

15 things everyone battling cancer must do

Published: Saturday, October 21, 2017 @ 6:00 AM

On July 14 — two days before her double mastectomy and the day before her son, Kier Dorman of Cincinnati, was deployed — the pair went skydiving at Start Skydiving, 1711 Run Way, in Middletown, Ohio. CONTRIBUTED
Contributing Writer
On July 14 — two days before her double mastectomy and the day before her son, Kier Dorman of Cincinnati, was deployed — the pair went skydiving at Start Skydiving, 1711 Run Way, in Middletown, Ohio. CONTRIBUTED(Contributing Writer)

To those embarking on the cancer journey, know there is hope. You will find strength you never knew you had. You will grow in patience, love, faith and gratitude. You’ll learn what’s truly important and how to more deeply savor every moment. You will inspire others to do the same.

>> PERSONAL JOURNEY: The gift of cancer: Why I’ve never been luckier 

 Here are 15 things I’ve learned in my journey that I share with you — 15 things everyone with cancer should know and do.

1. Laugh — a lot. 

Humor can increase the antibody IgA (immunoglobulin A), helping fight disease. Vigorously amuse yourself. The boob jokes never got old. Neither did the hair jokes. At one point during chemo, I looked like Powder, that bald, pale-faced kid with ESP from the ʼ90s movie. I now have super-short hair, and the easiest Halloween costume ever: Eleven from “Stranger Things.” 

2. Cry — a lot. 

This is a wild and emotional ride. Peer support from the women I met through the Noble Circle Project helped immensely, and I’m still seeing a therapist. Writing in my journal also helped me unpack and process the many feelings, some of them surprising, that arose.

3. Know that everything is going to be OK. 

Call on your faith, beliefs, support network and everything that will help you stay positive and focused on healing.

4. Accept and appreciate your journey for what it is.

No one’s is the same. Be kind and patient with yourself and understand your body will heal in its own time.

Friends wore bald head caps from Foy’s costume store during Kristen Wicker’s head-shaving shindig at Derailed Hair Salon in the Oregon District. Pictured left to right: Katie Wedell, Alexis Larsen, Anthony Shoemaker, Kristen Wicker, Amelia Robinson, Mindy Finch, Amy Forsthoefel. CONTRIBUTED(Contributing Writer)

5. Rally your crew. 

One of my BFFs set up an account on Lotsa Helping Hands to organize a meal train, flower brigade and other opportunities to help me out, as well as give updates on my progress. When people offer to help, make sure you have their contact info — and don’t be shy about calling upon them. People truly want to help you, and it brings them joy to do so. It’s a win-win.

6. Gather your caregivers. 

Identify your primary non-physician caregivers, such as a spouse, partner or friend. Provide them with your physicians’ contact information, a schedule of your appointments and details about your type of breast cancer so if you go down, they can step up with all the info they need in hand.

Kristen Wicker (right) shortly after going bald and her partner and primary caregiver, Matthew Leclaire, at home in Dayton. CONTRIBUTED(Contributing Writer)

7. Plan your coming out. 

Decide with your family how to tell others about your diagnosis. I had my hair cut short and when people complimented me, I’d say something like, “Wait until you see my wigs” as a way to lightheartedly break the news. Once my family knew, I posted something on social media — with a plea for all women to check their breasts and get regular mammograms.

8. Consider a fundraiser. 

I was resistant to this idea at first, but one of my BFFs created a Go Fund Me campaign and it’s been a lifesaver when it comes to those medical bills. Breast cancer is a very expensive venture.

9. Be your own best advocate. 

You are in charge of your body and care. The human body and medicine are so complex, there’s no way every doctor can know every single thing. Do your own research on credible websites and read books by those with the best credentials. I spent a lot of time researching, asking about and trying such complementary therapies as massage, acupuncture, aromatherapy, meditation, yoga, nutrition, supplements and the Qigong I learned through Noble Circle. You also can get a temporary handicap parking tag if you develop mobility issues.

>> 10 things that truly helped me through my cancer journey

10. Get organized. 

Even if you just put stuff in a pile and sort through the details later, keep all your medical bills and records in one place. You might have a nurse navigator who can help walk you through the journey as well. You’ll be loaded up with a lot of information at your first appointment. Don’t get overwhelmed: Call on your support network to help you sort through and read everything.

11. Be patient with and love on yourself. 

I had to drop all volunteer work, which was difficult for me to do. But I now know there’s no way I could have kept up. Your No. 1 job now is healing.

12. Ask lots of questions. 

Do your homework before doctor’s appointments and come with a list of questions. Lists of suggested questions are on breast and other cancer websites. Always ask, “What can I do to help myself?” Take notes at each appointment and record your conversation with your docs. Bring one or two family members or friends along to milestone appointments. They often think of questions you’re too overwhelmed to imagine and remember things you forget.

13. Keep a journal. 

Whether verbal or written, digital or on paper, this is a good place to take notes from appointments and keep a list of medications, vitamins and supplements. Mine included blood pressure readings, daily notes about how I felt, poems and emotional purges.

14. Eat well and exercise.

It can be a struggle to get out of bed some days, but keep physically active as much as possible. Take advantage of available fitness resources. Focus on eating a healthy, whole food diet, avoiding sugar and processed foods.

15. Create a morning ritual of hope. 

Even on the days when I felt like dog poo, I tried to start with a positive affirmation or prayer. Sometimes, that was simply telling myself, “I’m going to have the best day possible and love myself today.”

Contact contributing writer Kristen Wicker at kristenmariawicker@gmail.com.”

The gift of cancer: Why I’ve never felt luckier

Published: Saturday, October 21, 2017 @ 6:00 AM

Kristen Wicker (left) and her partner and primary caregiver, Matthew Leclaire, on June 7, the last day of her chemo treatments at the Kettering Cancer Center. Kristen is holding a medal one of her closest friends gave her that day. CONTRIBUTED
Contributing Writer
Kristen Wicker (left) and her partner and primary caregiver, Matthew Leclaire, on June 7, the last day of her chemo treatments at the Kettering Cancer Center. Kristen is holding a medal one of her closest friends gave her that day. CONTRIBUTED(Contributing Writer)

I’m lucky to be on a breast cancer journey.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s nothing I’d recommend or wish on anyone, ever. I’m lucky because my journey is giving me the opportunity to press the pause button, look at the still frames of my life — and create a new story moving forward. Surviving breast cancer is unleashing in me a new superpower to savor every day with absolute gusto.

Not that it’s easy. I had a sobbing fit just before I started writing this. For real. All that feeling — whether it’s pain so intense you’re in a blackout or the emotional heartbreak of losing an intimate part of your body — is exhausting.

I found my lump during the 2016 holiday season. I knew it wasn’t good: It was too big. It was too hard.

A mammogram was quickly followed by an ultrasound followed by a biopsy. My diagnosis came Friday, Feb. 3, 2017, in an auto-generated email containing the words “malignant” and “carcinoma.”

I had my first doctor’s appointment on Valentine’s Day. The time between diagnosis and that first visit was excruciating. I scheduled myself every minute of every day in an attempt to stop my brain from going down those tunnels with no cheese at the end, to not think about how bad this might be and even about dying. To not over-Google “invasive ductal carcinoma.”

I brought two BFFs and a long list of questions to that appointment. The doc came in the exam room, sat down and matter-of-factly sketched out the course of treatment (and even a little boob diagram) on a sheet of paper.

I learned my cancer was triple negative, which sounds like a cool heavy metal band name, but really is a bully of tumor that wants to eat through your body fast like Pac Man. I’d need four months of dose-intensive chemotherapy, starting in just a couple of weeks, followed by either a lumpectomy or mastectomy.

She told me this is one of the worst versions of breast cancer, but that everything would be OK, that the treatment protocol is well-researched and well-known. That I would be cured.

And so it came to pass. I’ve been officially cancer free since Sept. 1, 2017. Hooray!

>> 15 things everyone facing cancer must do

>> 10 things that helped me through my cancer journey

Alexis Larsen (right) takes a turn shaving Kristen Wicker’s head during a head-shaving shindig at Derailed Hair Salon in the Oregon District. CONTRIBUTED(Contributing Writer)

Getting there, of course, was a see-saw of adventures. I thought chemo would be a great weight loss and costuming opportunity, with a wig for every mood. My friends surprised me with a head-shaving shindig at my hair stylist’s, and I learned I look really sexy bald. But I gained weight and only wore my wigs twice.

Amy Forsthoefel (left) takes a turn shaving Kristen Wicker’s head during a head-shaving shindig at Derailed Hair Salon in the Oregon District. CONTRIBUTED(Contributing Writer)

Many days, I barely had enough energy to drag myself through the actions. It was an exhaustion that strangled me at a cellular level. I sometimes had pain I likened to a migraine in every one of my bones.

I finished chemo June 7, and next on the to-do list was surgery. Since the chemo withered my tumor to little bits, I could choose between a mastectomy and lumpectomy. I got to make the decision about what to do with the bad breast. For me, it was a no-brainer, even though I deliberately considered the pros and cons of all options. But with a 30 to 45 percent chance of recurrence if I chose a lumpectomy, plus the need for weeks of radiation, I opted for a double mastectomy and breast reconstruction.

Kristen Wicker relaxes at home in Dayton during her cancer treatment. CONTRIBUTED(Contributing Writer)

Still, that surgery on my knockers was a knockout to my whole body. For weeks afterward, I lay in a geriatric sleep recliner, moaning in pain, stumbling around with plastic drains hanging like ugly tentacles from my body. I spent days back in the hospital with an infection and nearly two months feeling too lousy to leave the house.

I’m still in the breast reconstruction process and have what are basically empty plastic water bottles stitched inside my chest. Every week, I visit my plastic surgeon to have the bottles filled with saline, slowly stretching my skin. Yet this year, I’ll have another surgery to exchange them for the real fake thing, my implants. I’ll be honest: I’m looking forward to new-fangled, perky, bigger breasts. I consider it one of my silver linings.

>> Panera offers tasty way to support breast cancer initiatives

Kristen Wicker (right) shortly after going bald and her partner and primary caregiver, Matthew Leclaire, at home in Dayton. CONTRIBUTED(Contributing Writer)

So even though I’m cancer free, I’m still on a cancer journey. I use a cane sometimes to get around and have all-over body pain every day, often feeling as if I’ve been in a rough-and-tumble fight. I still have the infamous chemo brain fog: It’s pretty incredible I have the concentration to tell you my story, and I keep scrolling back to remember what I’ve written. For real.

But I’m sticking to what’s been my mantra throughout: This is only temporary.

Kristen Wicker (left) and her son, Kier Dorman of Cincinnati (right) during one of his visits. When Dorman would visit his mom, they sometimes would walk in downtown Dayton as Wicker was able. CONTRIBUTED(Contributing Writer)

Indeed, most days I’m grateful to be alive and for the many blessings I continue to receive. The support lavished on me by family, friends, co-workers and even strangers takes my breath away. 

I’ve feasted on spoils from the World’s Greatest Meal Train, surrounded by flowers and cards and other gifts. I’ve received treatments from friends who are healers and relaxed in a beautifully landscaped garden my friends created. I’ve made new lifelong friends, strengthened family relationships and spent more time with the people who matter most. 

Despite allergies, I even fell in love with and adopted a cat who started hanging out in our backyard, knowing I needed some animal therapy.

>> Pink Ribbon Girls leader shares inspirational story on TODAY

Bee Gee, a cat Kristen Wicker adopted during her cancer journey despite allergies, pictured with some of the many flowers Wicker’s friends helped her plant. CONTRIBUTED(Contributing Writer)

I have good health insurance, an understanding and accommodating employer, and have received top-notch care by professional and reassuring doctors, nurses and other healthcare pros. I have a beautiful home in a terrific neighborhood and a partner who’s been by my side every step, even during the middle-of-the night sob fests and truly gross tasks.

Focusing on the upside was a key survival strategy for me, as was frivolity. Whenever I was physically able, I went on mood-lifting expeditions: brunch and a matinee at the Schuster, a night at Ladies Arm Wrestling, two days in nature at Cave Lake in eastern Ohio, a week making art at my dining room table while my best friend from high school visited. I went skydiving with my son — two days before my double mastectomy and the day before my son, a U.S. Marine reservist, was deployed.

On July 14 — two days before her double mastectomy and the day before her son, Kier Dorman of Cincinnati, was deployed — the pair went skydiving at Start Skydiving, 1711 Run Way, in Middletown, Ohio. CONTRIBUTED(Contributing Writer)

I’ve been keeping a journal, and it includes more than a dozen pages of thank you notes I want to write and a list I titled “gifts of cancer.”

This is why I’ve never felt luckier in all my life than I do now.

I’m thankful, of course, to be a breast cancer survivor — but being a survivor has made me so much more. I’m a better woman, one who’s creating for herself and those around her a more joyful life.

>> Ways to join the fight against breast cancer

On March 1, during her first time receiving chemo at the Kettering Cancer Center, Kristen Wicker colored what she felt was a very appropriate page in her dirty words coloring book. CONTRIBUTED(Contributing Writer)

To those embarking on this journey, know there is hope — always — and hilarity throughout. You are fierce and courageous with the strength to tell cancer who’s boss. You will grow in patience, love, faith and gratitude. You’ll learn what’s truly important and how to more deeply savor every moment. You will inspire others to do the same.

Contributing writer Kristen Wicker thanks her friends, family, co-workers, and the organizations and downtown businesses that are supporting her during her breast cancer journey. She could not do this alone. Dayton truly is a tremendous and wonderful community. She invites readers to contact her at kristenmariawicker@gmail.com.”

10 things that truly helped me during my cancer journey

Published: Saturday, October 21, 2017 @ 6:00 AM

Friends wore bald head caps from Foy’s costume store during Kristen Wicker’s head-shaving shindig at Derailed Hair Salon in the Oregon District. Pictured left to right: Katie Wedell, Alexis Larsen, Anthony Shoemaker, Kristen Wicker, Amelia Robinson, Mindy Finch, Amy Forsthoefel. CONTRIBUTED
Contributing Writer
Friends wore bald head caps from Foy’s costume store during Kristen Wicker’s head-shaving shindig at Derailed Hair Salon in the Oregon District. Pictured left to right: Katie Wedell, Alexis Larsen, Anthony Shoemaker, Kristen Wicker, Amelia Robinson, Mindy Finch, Amy Forsthoefel. CONTRIBUTED(Contributing Writer)

When folks learned I’d been diagnosed with breast cancer, their first response was almost always to offer help. Not everyone diagnosed knows what she might need or wants help from others — but I did. One of my BFFs joked I was going to become too lazy to ever do anything for myself again. I fear that may have actually happened.

Here are some things that helped me and ideas for how you can help others during a breast cancer journey.

1. Visit.

It gets lonely when you’re home sick, especially after the initial surge has waned. Indeed, the feelings of isolation and missing out were perhaps the most difficult part of this whole journey for me. Please, don’t just drop by — schedule a visit if possible. And know it might be canceled at the last minute, even as you’re ringing the doorbell. Many of us on breast cancer journeys don’t know how we’re going to feel from minute to minute, and even carefully made plans sometimes have to be rescheduled. Offer to be an on-call visitor: It’s nice to have people willing to visit on short notice when you need a lift. I wish I’d created a code word to text my BFFs, something like “goose poo,” that would mean, “Someone visit me now: I’m on the floor in my jammies sobbing.”

2. Randomly drop off something loved.

One of my absolute very favorite things is fresh flowers and receiving them really perked me up. For others, a fave thing might be chocolate or scented lotions. Whatever it is, bring it to us — but please don’t expect to visit when you’re dropping off. We might be sleeping, in too much pain or just not in the mood to talk.

>> 15 things everyone battling cancer must do

Kristen Wicker relaxes at home in Dayton during her cancer treatment. CONTRIBUTED(Contributing Writer)

3. Share healthy food.

If a meal train has been organized, use it to avoid “over-fooding.” We received so much food, especially at the beginning of my journey, we had to move “buy fridge for basement” from No. 27 on our to-do list to No. 1. Drop off portions in several small containers so some can be frozen. The meal train also will help you learn what the person likes, as well as what she can’t eat. During chemo, many of us can’t eat raw food, such as sushi or even salad, or anything spicy. And while there’s certainly a temptation to eat nothing but macaroni and cheese and beer during chemo, our bodies need healthy whole, rather than processed, food.

4. Keep in touch.

Send cards, emails, texts, social media messages and make calls. Several friends, family members and co-workers sent me cards on the regular, and every card I received brightened my mood. We almost had to buy more furniture where I could prop my cards. I also loved receiving drawings from my friends’ kids. Nothing says “happy” and “live to the fullest” like a child’s coloring. Send anything funny, no matter how corny, that elicits a laugh. Anything hopeful and inspiring is great, too. Just hearing from folks and knowing they were rooting for me was so empowering. During some of my less-than-optimistic moments, I’d re-read the cards on my mantel and scroll back through Facebook posts and texts. It would remind me I had an A-list team walking with me.

5. Help with chores.

Grocery shopping, cleaning, laundry, yard work — all the things you just love to do at your own home can be especially hard for a cancer patient to complete. One of my neighbors would text me as she was headed to the grocery, and I’d reply with a list and then just repay her. My yard will never look good as it did this summer after a crew of friends helped with landscaping and planting.

On March 1, during her first time receiving chemo at the Kettering Cancer Center, Kristen Wicker colored what she felt was a very appropriate page in her dirty words coloring book. CONTRIBUTED(Contributing Writer)

6. Give from the heart.

I now have a collection of things I will always treasure from friends I just adore: a hand-knitted shawl, a rock with the word “courage,” artwork, stuffed animals, a thin silver bracelet with “never give up” stamped on top and one with a bead for each of my Noble Circle sisters, a medal with a pink ribbon that reads: “I kicked cancer’s butt: What’s your superpower?” I also received Reiki, restorative yoga and meditation sessions, and a foot massage from friends who are healers. A list of books, movies, TV shows and anything to stream on Netflix you love and think we might enjoy is also a useful and thoughtful gift. 

>> Ways to join the fight against cancer

7. Offer rides.

I couldn’t drive for long periods of time thanks to being on pain medications or just being in pain. Some of my trips to doctor appointments turned into lunch or shopping dates, adding a dose of fun to something that is anything but.

Kristen Wicker (left) is taking her first-time wig shopping seriously with friends (L-R) Mindy Finch, Alexis Larsen and Amelia Robinson at Beauty Outlet, 4599 Salem Ave. CONTRIBUTED(Contributing Writer)

8. Make a play date.

Offer to take us out for some fun times so we can get out of our Hobbit hole and back into the real world. My adventures included pedicures and manicures, lots of wonderful meals, and attending a poetry class, festivals and art exhibits. Invite us out to do things you think we’ll enjoy, but that aren’t too physically taxing. If we can’t get out of the house, bring the adventures to our door. For example, two of my main gals brought over brunch stuff and cooked for me one day when I was really sick. It was such a relief to laugh with them without having to leave the comfort of my sleep recliner.

9. Help with organizing.

One thing’s for sure: Cancer patients have a lot of paper, whether it’s bills, receipts, care instructions or manuals about caring for wigs. It’s almost too much for one brain, especially one in a chemo fog, to process. Staying on top of things is tough when you’re sick. One of my friends helped gather addresses for thank you notes (which reminds me I still need to write those … ) and another created a Lotsa Helping Hands page for me to organize the assistance I needed to come out strong on the other side.

Kristen Wicker (right) shortly after going bald and her partner and primary caregiver, Matthew Leclaire, at home in Dayton. CONTRIBUTED(Contributing Writer)

10. Offer to help the primary caregiver.

Whether a spouse, partner, friend or family member, it’s likely one or two people are doing the bulk of the dirty work. And it’s definite those folks are stressed, too. My partner went to a lot of rock shows, played cards and went to movies with his friends to blow off steam. Drop off something for the primary caregiver along with those flowers. 

When is Beggars Night in your city?

Published: Friday, October 14, 2016 @ 11:20 AM
Updated: Thursday, October 12, 2017 @ 8:44 AM

No Tricks, Just Treats: How to Have a Safe Halloween

It's almost time to gets the kids out for this year’s Beggars Nights (aka trick-or-treating).

It's time to plan your perfect costume, grab a bucket for all of those treats and be adorable. 

>> RELATED: Halloween Guide 2017

We've compiled Beggars Night dates and times in communities across the region.

When is Beggars Night in your community?

>>> FOR KIDS: Halloween fun for the kids all month long

>>> FOR ADULTS: More than 10 of the best Halloween events (for adults)