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Horrible Disease

Dear Editor,

I am writing in response to the article in last week's Indy titled "Hair Today, Cure Tomorrow?" First and foremost, I would like to commend Ms. Hayes on all her efforts. She is quite impressive. I attended the fundraiser last year with my nine-year-old daughter and we shared an amazing day.

Since our visit to the salon last October, I have been very active with a local non-profit organization called the South Fork Breast Health Coalition. This is a group of amazing people who are there to help people on the South Fork who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. We offer a range of services to assist people with their day-to-day needs in dealing with this horrible disease.

Some of our programs are as follows:

Helping Neighbors Program was created to help relieve the day-to-day pressures for breast cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy by helping them to manage family and home commitments during this stressful period.

Our Lend a Helping Hand Program pays for everything from eyeglasses to babysitters to house cleaning to doctors' bills. Anything that will help relieve the day-to-day pressures for breast cancer patients and their families.

Thanks to Ellen's Run, Ellen's Well has been created. The mission of Ellen's Well is to provide psychosocial support to breast cancer survivors and their families. Through the use of psychosocial Support Groups and trained professionals, it is the goal of Ellen's Well to enable breast cancer survivors to live as fully and completely as possible after the trauma and emotional upheaval caused by a diagnosis of breast cancer. Ellen's Well also sponsors breast health lectures and complimentary medicine workshops. Ellen's Well recognizes that your body, mind and spirit all need attention.

In addition, we are currently in the process of putting together a program to visit South Fork high schools to educate young women in the importance of breast health, as well as Lucia's Angels, which provides helping hands and caring hearts to women and families going through the final stages of breast cancer. We are currently seeking funding for these programs.

Although we agree that the cause and cure for breast cancer are of the utmost importance, for those diagnosed, immediate assistance in day-to-day life is equally, if not more, important.

I had never heard of the coalition until a friend told me about it. Since my first encounter with SFBHC in March, it has become increasingly clear that many people east of Water Mill are not even aware the organization exists. There are so many people in our community who can benefit from our services, if they only knew we were here. Nothing is worse than a woman saying "if only I knew this group existed." I hope The Independent continues to carry stories about the Coalition's goals, objectives and fundraisers.

For more information please call (631) 726-8606 or visit our website at www.southforkbreast.com.

Lastly, I would like to ask Ms. Hayes to consider donating a portion of her annual "Cut-A-Thon" proceeds to our organization, if not this year, then in future years. There are very few organizations that focus on the needs of South Fork residents battling this horrible disease; we appreciate all the assistance we are given.

October 10, 2006

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