South Nassau Communities Hospital Honors Cancer Activist

Ms. Barish, Exec. Dir., Hewlett House, and Pres., 1 in 9: The Long Island Breast Cancer Action Coalition, vowed to her son before his death from Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 1986 that she would dedicate her life to finding the causes and cure for cancer.

Oceanside, NY, May 02, 2015 –(– New York State’s noted cancer activist, Geri Barish was the honoree of South Nassau Communities Hospital’s 2nd Annual Casino Royale held in March at the Coral House in Baldwin (NY). About 300 guests, including many local elected and civic leaders from the Town of Hempstead and the South Shore communities, attended the event, which raised more than $152,000 in support of the expansion of South Nassau’s Emergency Services Department. The total dollars raised was 6 percent increase over last year’s event.

“Geri is deservedly recognized across Long Island, the state and the country for her passionate advocacy for cancer research and wellness and educational programs devoted to cancer survivors and those who are in the midst of their battle against the disease,” said Rajiv Datta, MD, FACS, chair of the department of surgery and medical director of the Gertrude & Louis Feil Cancer Center at South Nassau Communities Hospital. “At the same time, she is recognized by South Nassau for her long-time, loyal support of our cancer program as well as a proponent of our mission to provide high-quality healthcare services to the residents of the South Shore communities.”

For three decades, the Long Island cancer activist and trailblazer has waged a battle against cancer. A three-time breast cancer survivor herself, Ms. Barish, Executive Director, Hewlett House, and President, 1 in 9: The Long Island Breast Cancer Action Coalition, vowed to her son before his death from Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 1986 that she would dedicate her life to finding the causes and cure for cancer. She has made good on her promise.

More than two decades ago, she founded 1 in 9: The Long Island Breast Cancer Action Coalition—the first breast cancer grassroots advocacy group in New York— and Hewlett House, a refurbished historic farmhouse that has been a haven for thousands of Long Islanders with cancer. Hewlett House offers cancer survivors free support groups, classes in stress reduction, art therapy, nutrition counseling and insurance advice. Taking it a step further, she also opened a complimentary boutique at South Nassau’s Gertrude & Louis Feil Cancer Center in Valley Stream, where breast cancer patients and survivors can receive consultations and fittings for wigs, headscarves and post-mastectomy bras. Having a first-hand understanding of the struggles a breast cancer diagnosis can bring, she also leads a bi-weekly breast cancer support group at the hospital for women newly diagnosed with cancer or who are undergoing treatment.

She has spearheaded changes to local, state and federal legislation that resulted in new policies and helped to clean up toxins in the environment. She has rightly earned the distinction of being New York State’s preeminent breast cancer activist and has received numerous awards, recognitions and achievements from local, county, state and national organizations.

South Nassau’s Emergency Services Department is the busiest community hospital emergency services department in Nassau County. A capital campaign is underway to nearly double the size of the department. Presently serving approximately 70,000 patients annually, the department’s staff includes board-certified, residency-trained emergency medicine physicians as well as nurses and physicians’ assistants who have been specially-trained in emergency medical care. The department is designated a regional Stroke Center by the New York State Department of Health and is southern Nassau County’s only Trauma Level II Center. The department has over 35 large independent treatment bays and specialty areas, including Pediatrics and Behavioral Health, as well as its own dedicated Computerized Radiology Suite for rapid access for testing and results.
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South Nassau Communities Hospital
Damian J. Becker