Community News
Lisa Fessler


Residents from throughout the Bellmore-Merrick community will make their way to Cedarhurst next Thursday for a local breast cancer support group’s largest fundraiser of the year.

Circle of Hope, a project of the Merrick-Bellmore-Wantagh Chabad Center for Jewish Life, will host its second “Journey for a Purpose” benefit on Oct. 24. The event, which will feature special guests and award presentations to local survivors and activists, will begin at 7 p.m. in the Sephardic Temple’s grand ballroom.

Cindy Knoll and Lisa Fessler, two breast cancer survivors from Merrick, were the fundraiser’s founding chairwomen last year. More than 300 women attended the 2012 Journey for a Purpose benefit, and Knoll said they raised $55,000 for the Circle of Hope breast cancer center.

This year, Fessler and Knoll will be presented with the Survivor Award at the fundraiser. Circle of Hope will also honor Jill Levine, the founder of Forever 9–the Robbie Levine Foundation, with the Community Service Award. And Merokean Andie Ofsink will be given the Youth Courage Award.

Gloria Gaynor, a Grammy Award-winning musician best known for her hit “I Will Survive,” will speak at Journey for a Purpose. Local dignitaries have been invited to attend the event, and Elyse Evans of News12 Long Island will act as the master of ceremonies.

Prizes will be raffled off at the fundraiser, which also includes food and entertainment.

Funds 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. 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 Levine, are designed to offer a supportive environment for all women who are coping with or have survived breast cancer.

Those interested attending Journey for a Purpose or contributing to Circle of Hope can find more information by clicking onto or by calling (516) 833-3057.

The Sephardic Temple is at 775 Branch Blvd. in Cedarhurst.

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