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Duchess helps LIJ raise money for cancer facility

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SarahFerguson, the duchess of York, joined three generations of women Monday to help the Long Island Cancer Campaign raise money for a new ambulatory cancer facility, to treat patients from Queens, Nassau and Suffolk at the North Shore Hospital Campus.

More than 400 grandmothers, mothers and daughters gathered at the “Generations Luncheon” at the Garden City Hotel in an effort to raise some of the $60 million to $80 million needed to build the state-of-the-art cancer facility.

“I travel to events like this to support the doctors and scientists working to find a cure,” the duchess said. “I want to create more awareness about the disease. I would go anywhere to talk about the effects of obesity and cancer.”

She told the crowd that one does not have to have cancer to have his or her life affected by the deadly disease. She said four people who have played major roles in her life have been stricken by the disease: her father has prostate cancer, her stepfather died of lymphoma, her grandfather died of leukemia and her best friend died of melanoma.

“When I was walking through the wards to visit my stepfather,” the duchess said, “I began thinking more people need to know what this disease does.”

After seeing the struggle cancer patients go through to survive, she said she decided it was important for people such as herself to spread awareness about the disease and to try to raise money for a cure.

“It is time to open our eyes,” the duchess said, “ and get rid of this disease.”

The North Shore-LIJ Health System is a group of 18 hospitals throughout Queens, Long Island and Staten Island. Its three main health-care facilities are Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park, North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset and the Staten Island University Hospital North Division.

“We are building a state-of-the-art cancer ambulatory building, which is designed to be customer friendly,” said Michael Dowling, president and chief executive officer of the North Shore-LIJ Health System. “Everything will be in one place where patients can get all of their treatment.”

He said the new facility will be more accessible, improve the quality of care and make it easier for the doctors to treat patients.

Lyn Jurick, chairwoman of the Long Island Cancer Campaign, said it needs to raise about $30 million in order to break ground, but she would not divulge how much already has been raised. She said the group is pushing for a 2003-2004 start and to have the facility finished in 2006.

Jurick, a Manhasset resident who was instrumental in building the Ronald McDonald House at LIJ, said the ambulatory center will be a place where patients and their families can be in a comfortable setting during the difficult treatments.

The Long Island Cancer Campaign is a group of community and business leaders organized by the North Shore Long Island Jewish Health System to help support cancer awareness programs. These programs are aimed at improving the quality of life of cancer patients, decreasing mortality rates and increasing survival rates.

“Having the duchess join our cause will surely build greater awareness about a disease that continues to devastate the lives of so many members of our community,” Jurick said. “We must keep in mind that cancer is Long Island’s No. 1 killer. Thanks to the duchess’ support, we know our message of education, prevention and early detection will be heard.”

Reach reporter Adam Kramer by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 157.

Posted 7:07 pm, October 10, 2011
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