Press Release

Sharsheret Presents Symposium at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center on the Needs of Children

Hackensack, New Jersey (March 17, 2003)— Sharsheret, a national not-for-profit organization supporting young Jewish women fighting breast cancer, will present the symposium, “How Do We Care For Our Children? Issues for Women and Men Facing Breast Cancer” on Monday, May 19, 2003. The symposium is sponsored by the American Cancer Society, Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation North Jersey Affiliate, CancerCare, and Gilda’s Club, and will be held at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center’s Hoffman Auditorium. The event will attract breast cancer patients, their families, and health care professionals from the tri-state area. A transcript of the event will be available to patients and professionals nationwide on Sharsheret’s website, www.sharsheret.org.

The symposium will explore the effects of breast cancer treatments on children and families, the needs of children of all ages coping with a parent’s diagnosis, treatment, and post-treatment recovery, and obstacles to open communication with children. The expert panel will include Rosalind Kleban (Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center), Peggy Anne Murphy (CancerCare), and Ingrid Whitaker (Gilda’s Club NYC). The symposium will also feature a question and answer session with adult children of breast cancer survivors.

The American Cancer Society estimates that 212,600 women and men will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year. “The effects of the disease will be felt for years to come by thousands of children whose parents have faced breast cancer,” says Rochelle Shoretz, Executive Director of Sharsheret. “While any parental illness will profoundly affect the course of a child’s life, the effects of breast cancer can be particularly difficult during childhood, when issues of body image, sexuality, death and dying complicate already complex emotions.”

Sharsheret is coordinating the symposium in response to the concerns of the women who phone the organization for support. “Many of our callers are young mothers raising children, women seeking guidance in caring for their families during breast cancer treatment,” says Shoretz. “This symposium will explore not only the benefits of open communication with children, but also the difficulties parents face in responding to the needs of their children while the family copes with the trauma of a new diagnosis or the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation.”

“How Do We Care For Our Children?” is Sharsheret’s second symposium. The organization’s first medical event, a symposium on fertility and breast cancer, was held in October 2002 at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University. Sharsheret’s medical symposia are free of charge, and open to women and men of all religious backgrounds.

For more information about the symposium, or to inquire about sponsorship or reservations, please contact Amy Mines Tadelis, Sharsheret’s Director of Outreach and Public Relations, at (973) 438-7800.