By Dorit Schwartz
One Sunday morning in May, I sat in a car full of Five Towns women heading for the Sharsheret Anniversary Benefit in Teaneck, New Jersey. I was going in support of a dear friend who had recently completed treatment for breast cancer. I had heard of Sharsheret and knew some people who had been involved with it in the past, but it wasn’t until I walked into that ballroom that I realized the impact this organization has on its community. Every woman I knew in Teaneck and Englewood had turned up for this event and knew about Sharsheret’s mission. In the car on the way back home, we—a mix of survivors, family members, and friends of survivors—spoke about what we were missing on Long Island, and by the time we returned home, an idea was born.
We are pleased to announce that Long Island now has an active group of Sharsheret volunteers whose goal is to increase awareness in our community about Sharsheret’s mission as well as to serve as a physical presence and support system for women in our neighborhood (as well as their families) who are diagnosed with breast or ovarian cancer.
Sharsheret is a national organization founded in 2001 to assist and provide resources for young Jewish women who face breast cancer. Their mission is to offer a community of support by fostering culturally relevant individualized connections with networks of peers, health professionals, and related resources. Most of the programs and support provided by Sharsheret are available via phone or through the mail, so a local presence is not required—but we are hoping it will be impactful.
To begin to get the word out, the volunteer committee is planning its first event: the Sharsheret Food and Fitness Event, a yoga class and brunch, to coincide with Sharsheret’s Pink Day. The event will iy’H take place on Wednesday, February 11, at 11:00 a.m. at the home of Beth Hoenig, 61 Muriel Lane in Lawrence; $36 per person.
Several of the local high schools are also planning Pink Day events, spearheaded by some of the children of our committee members.
The most important goal of our committee is to serve as a resource for members of our community. We have heard and know firsthand that the first question that most women have upon hearing their diagnosis is “What do I do next?” With the formation of our committee, we are hopeful that the answer for women in the Five Towns will be to call Sharsheret. The national organization based in New Jersey will continue to be the first port of call, but now women will have the option to connect locally as well.
The Sharsheret Long Island volunteer committee includes Reva Borgen, Terri Herenstein, Shari Kaufman, Naomi Levenson, Mimi Samter, Dorit Schwartz, Sharon Shtern, and Esther Zeidman.
For more information about Sharsheret, please visit www.sharsheret.org or call 866-474-2774.