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Amid State Aid Cuts, Adelphi Breast Cancer Hotline Struggles to Survive

Creative Cups Auction and Fundraiser To be Held on March 15 in Garden City

‘You have breast cancer.’ Upon hearing those four small words, your life is indelibly about to change forever. For the past 30 years, women and men across Long Island diagnosed with breast cancer have called the Adelphi NY State Breast Cancer Hotline for much-needed help, emotional support and critical information.

Founded in 1980, the Adelphi NY State Breast cancer program was the first in New York State to exclusively address the psychosocial issues associated with breast cancer. Since its inception, the hotline’s public relations consultant, Lyn Dobrin, has been working for the organization based in Garden City.

Dobrin says the hotline paved the way for women who often felt ashamed and, at the time, were not comfortable talking about their condition. “You didn’t talk about cancer and you certainly didn’t talk about breast cancer and it’s women who said it’s ridiculous,” she explained. She credited the Adelphi program in playing a vital role in advocating breast cancer awareness and activism. “It was a secret; that’s the way it was. So we were part of helping women find a voice,” Dobrin said.

After celebrating its 30th anniversary of serving the local community last year, the organization was informed it would not be receiving $300,000 in funds from the state for 2010-11. The state funds are one third of the program’s budget and the hotline is struggling to stay afloat and continue offering the community lifesaving programs. The staff is hoping to acquire monies through grants and fundraisers. “We’ve cut back tremendously,” Dobrin said. “What we’ve kept are the hotline and the support groups. Those are the heart of the program.”

In these uncertain economic times, the organization is reaching out to the local community for help. The hotline is hosting one of its biggest fundraisers, the Creative Cups event, which is being held on March 15, 2011, at the Ruth Harley University Center, Adelphi University, Garden City. The art exhibition, which raised $50,000 two years ago, will feature 103 bra creations on display and up for bidding. All proceeds will help save the Adelphi Breast Cancer program.

The National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc. estimates that each year nearly 200,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and more than 40,000 will die. Approximately 1,700 men will also be diagnosed with breast cancer and 450 will die each year.

The Adelphi toll-free Breast Cancer Hotline (800-877-8077) answers almost 4,000 calls each year and more than 350,000 website visits each year. With 100 volunteers, most of whom are breast cancer survivors, the university-based, counseling program is staffed by certified social workers and has diversified support groups, individual counseling, and family counseling.

All calls are free and confidential and the hotline is open seven days a week. If somebody isn’t right there, they will get a call back within that day, Dobrin said. “We want to be there. We’ve been there for 30 years and we want to keep doing it,” she said.

For more information on the Adelphi Breast Cancer Hotline, to volunteer or to make a donation, visit the website at www.adelphi.edu/nysbreastcancer/ or call the offices at 516-877-4320.

The Language of Flowers
Created by Chelsea Tobias, Garden City

“The hydrangea is a symbol of perseverance and gratitude in the many-colored world of flowers; the sunflower, an emblem of dedication, of turning towards the sun no matter where it shines; the oak leaf, a token of the tree itself, represents endurance and dignity; the butterfly, an avatar of change. These elements, strung together, weave a pattern of standing strong, of keeping hope and dedication no matter the adversity, and of coming out strong in the end. There is no better way to describe those affected by breast cancer, or those who fight against it, than in these ways - dedicated and strong - and I can think of no greater way to honor them than with the immortal and beautiful language of flowers.”