News 12 Long Island Reporter Shari Einhorn
Reporter Shari Einhorn

At the inaugural Pink Pearl Gala on Friday, March 20, the North Fork Breast Health Coalition will recognize gastroenterologist Dr. Joseph M. Duva with the first Pink Pearl Spirit Award. The dinner and award ceremony will be held from 6-9 PM in the elegant ballroom at the East Wind Inn and Caterers in Wading River. News 12 Long Island Reporter ShariEinhorn will emcee the event.

The gala was named for Pearl Philindas, past president of the North Fork Breast Health Coalition, who passed away last year. She will be honored posthumously with the first Pink Pearl Community Service Award. In addition, Janine Nebons of Tanger Outlets will receive the first Pink Pearl Corporate Leadership Award. She has been instrumental in the success of sixteen NFBHC Annual 5K Walks held at the Riverhead outlet center.

Seating is available for $95 per person. To reserve individual seating, reserve tables for a group or to inquire about corporate sponsorship opportunities, please leave a message at the coalition office in Riverhead at 631-208-8889, contact Event Chair Melanie McEvoy at [email protected] or visit

Eastern Long Island Hematology Oncology has already agreed to be a major sponsor of the event. With offices in Riverhead and Southampton, the practice includes Doctors Louis J. Avvento, Alexander Zuhoski and Deepali Sharma.

Currently led by Susan Ruffini, the all-volunteer, non-profit organization supports local breast-cancer patients with programs such as the Helping Hand grants. Funds raised by the gala will also allow the group to continue to provide free services such as yoga, massage therapy, reflexology and support groups to breast-cancer patients and survivors.

Breast cancer affects millions of lives and kills more than 180,000 women a year in the United States. Ann Cotton-DeGrasse and Antonio DeGrasse founded the North Fork Breast Health Coalition in 1998 because they saw a great need for such an organization on the North Fork, where there is an especially high rate of diagnosis of the disease.

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