Ebony Steele


The co-host of a nationally syndicated radio show will visit the Quad-Cities on Friday to headline an event that is part of National Women’s Health Week.

Ebony Steele from the “Rickey Smiley Morning Show” will be a special guest at “Praise to the Women on Their Journey, Educating, Encouraging, Remembering,” which takes place 5-9 p.m. Friday at The Lodge, 900 Spruce Hills Drive, Bettendorf. The annual event is now in its ninth year, said Shirley McLemore, one of its organizers.

Tickets can be purchased from United Neighbors, 808 Harrison St., Davenport, or by calling 563-322-7363.

Steele, a former stand-up comedienne, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007 and joined the Susan G. Komen for the Cure organization as a Circle of Promise national ambassador.

“I approached that group to help with their cause,” said Steele, who was reached by telephone in Atlanta after the taping of Smiley’s daily radio show. (The show’s closest affiliate station to the Quad-Cities is in Chicago, but it can be heard online at rickeysmileymorningshow.com.)

“I just jumped right on it. With a diagnosis like breast cancer, you hear about it, but I didn’t really know much about the disease. If nothing else, I really did have a self-interest in learning more. I gained more knowledge on my personal diagnosis, and I am also able to discuss prevention with others,” she added.

Friday’s event will recognize its organizing committee members, five of whom are cancer survivors. Those members include: McLemore, Ida Johnson, Trish Williams, Vera Stokes, Kathy Phillips, Roma Taylor, LaShon Moore, Carolene Robinson, Karen Roebuck and Karen Metcalf.

Steele’s message will focus on prevention and point out how a disease such as breast cancer can affect even those who have no apparent family history.

“In my own experience, I was able to find a lump myself, and I moved on from there to receive treatment,” she said. “Some people go undetected for years, not knowing, and when they find out, they are in the latter stages of cancer. That can cause further complications or not have a very good ending,” she added.

Steele promises to use comedy in her speech. Including humor and eliciting other emotions in a presentation makes it more likely to be remembered by the audience, she said.

“I like to think I’m fun to listen to,” Steele said. “I do have a serious message to tell, though.”

There are 19 vendors registered so far for the opening part of the program, McLemore said, including booths from Trinity Regional Health System, the Scott County Health Department and the Iowa State University Extension.