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This is my third year attending Sharsheret’s annual Benefit. The loving, accepting atmosphere envelops me as I walk in to the room. It feels so familiar even though I only know a handful of people.
I think back to May of 2011. I was undergoing chemo. The weather was getting nice outside, but I was stuck in an endless winter. I wished I could put on a pretty dress, go the Benefit, and celebrate with the Sharsheret women who were giving me strength, but I couldn’t drag myself out of bed. Chemo had zapped me of my energy. What a difference three years can make! My hair, while still not as long as it had been pre-chemo, falls respectably past my shoulders. My muscles still feel relaxed from my early morning yoga session. And I feel content knowing that I am here as a supporter of Sharsheret. I am having a “full circle” moment.
I walk in and see Rochelle Shoretz and the Sharsheret staff smiling and greeting their guests. The greetings are so warm it’s as if everyone is family. But that is what it feels like at Sharsheret. You are family. I make my way through the crowd of people kissing hello to those I know and smiling hello to those I don’t. I walk in to the main ballroom and take a moment to take in the beautiful décor. This year’s Benefit video highlights the Sharsheret B’nai Mitzvah program. It was perfectly fitting as this year Sharsheret celebrates its Bat Mitzvah year. What sticks with me the most is something that was said by a 13-year-old boy in the video who lost his mother and then his grandmother to breast cancer. He said, “It’s not hard to have an impact on other people.”
I think about my own daughter, 3 weeks shy of her Bat Mitzvah. I remember her tiny fingers, and can’t believe that she is the same person who stands beside me today. She is a beautiful young lady – mature, caring, and confident. Much like Sharsheret, she supports me as I support her. I look across the table at another link in my own Sharsheret (chain, in Hebrew), my mother. I am so glad that she is here with me this morning. As strong as I am – or think I am – it is comforting to have my mother next to me, especially while I watch the video presentation. I know from years past that I cry my way through them. This year is no different.
As I make my way around the room saying my goodbyes, I notice that the room is still full. No one is rushing to leave. This is a safe place where everyone feels supported and accepted. The wonderful women of Sharsheret should take pride in this beautiful organization and I am happy to be a part of it.
© 2015 Sharsheret: Your Jewish Community Facing Breast Cancer
Sharsheret is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization ID# 13-4198529
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