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November 1, 2013 | 637 views

400 attend 'Journey for a Purpose' fundraiser
Andie Ofsink, Jill Levine, Cindy Knoll and Lisa Fessler, from left, were honored at the Circle of Hope fundraising dinner.

Hundreds of local women gathered in Cedarhurst last week to support a Bellmore-Merrick breast cancer support center.

Circle of Hope, a project of the Merrick-Bellmore-Wantagh Chabad Center for Jewish Life, hosted its second “Journey for a Purpose” benefit on Oct. 24. The event, which featured special guests and award presentations to local survivors and activists, attracted an estimated 400 women to the Sephardic Temple’s grand ballroom for what organizers described as an entertaining evening for a cause.

Chanie Kramer, Chabad’s program director, said at press time that organizers were yet to finalize their fundraising total. Monies raised will benefit Circle of Hope, which is at 2174 Hewlett Ave. in Merrick. The center was established at the end of last year as a place for local patients and survivors to receive assistance. Kramer said Circle of Hope provides support for patients, their families and the community in the form of financial assistance, emotional support and preventive health seminars.

Breast cancer support groups are also forming at the center. The groups, led by local activist and social worker Jill Levine, are designed to offer a supportive environment for all women who are coping with or have survived breast cancer.

Levine was one of four women honored at “Journey for a Purpose,” as she was given the Community Service Award. Kramer said the group recognized her because of her support for cancer patients and her efforts to save lives by founding Forever 9–the Robbie Levine Foundation.

Levine, who lives in Merrick with her husband, Craig, and their three children, created Forever 9 after their son, Robbie, died of sudden cardiac arrest at his Little League practice on a neighborhood baseball field in 2005. Since then, the Levines have worked to increase awareness of sudden cardiac arrest and provide youth sports fields with automated external defibrillators.

Cindy Knoll and Lisa Fessler, two breast cancer survivors who co-founded the organization and the benefit, were also honored. They were given the Survivor Award.