Melanie McEvoy Zuhoski and NFBHC Board Member Colleen Pennica with one of the dozens of gift baskets that were raffled off at the 2022 gala to benefit the Keri Lynn Stromski Stage IV Breast Cancer Research and Support Fund. Photo: Jim Lennon, courtesy of North Fork Breast Health Coalition.

The North Fork Breast Health Coalition will celebrate breast cancer survivors and thrivers, providers and caregivers at the NFBHC Annual Pink Pearl Gala on Friday, April 12 at the Sea Star Ballroom, Hyatt Place Long Island, 431 East Main Street in Riverhead.

The cocktail reception, seated dinner, raffles and dancing to music by DJ Phil of Make Some Noise will be held from 6 to 10p.m. 

This year, the coalition is honoring three local businesswomen with Community Spirit awards: Charlene Bugdin of Blue Sage Day Spa, Michelle Iona of Healing Points Acupuncture & Wellness Center, and Denise Zuhoski of Making Waves Hair Salon. They are being recognized for their commitment to serving and supporting the East End breast cancer community.

Seating for the inspiring, wear-pink, -green, and/or -teal event (colors of the tricolor ribbon for metastatic breast cancer) will be available for $150 per person and $125 for breast-cancer survivors and thrivers at the North Fork Breast Health Coalition website.

To reserve individual seating or reserve tables for a group, email NFBHC or leave a message at the coalition office in Riverhead at 631-208-8889. 

To secure a sponsorship ranging from $250 for “Silver Sponsor” to $15,000 for “Pink Pearl Underwriter,” contact one of the gala co-chairs, Melanie McEvoy Zuhoski or Colleen Pennica at the same address.

As is tradition, the Pink Pearl Gala includes a gift basket raffle, which can be previewed beforehand at the coalition office, 185 Old Country Road, April 5-7 (Friday, Saturday and Sunday.) Raffle tickets can be purchased at the office that weekend. The gift baskets will be on display and tickets will be sold during the gala as well. Attendance at the gala is not required to participate in the raffle, which benefits the NFBHC Keri Lynn Stromski Stage IV Breast Cancer Research and Support Fund. 

For information about contributing to a gift basket, e-mail the coalition or call Raffle Chair BeeJay Ferucci at 631-807-3479.

Founded in 2021, the Stage IV Fund provides financial support to oncologists who are treating local patients and are actively doing cutting-edge research on extending and saving lives of Stage IV breast cancer patients. The fund also supports Stage IV thrivers who often have unexpected costs and expenses associated with their treatment.

The North Fork Breast Health Coalition is currently led by McEvoy Zuhoski. The all-volunteer, nonprofit organization supports local breast-cancer patients with programs such as Helping Hand grants. Proceeds from this event will also allow the group to continue to provide free services such as gentle yoga, reflexology, massage therapy and “Strength for Life” exercise classes to breast-cancer patients and survivors. They can also receive free hats, scarves, wigs and protheses from the Rita Duva Boutique at the organization’s office.

Ann Cotten-DeGrasse and her late husband, Antonio, founded NFBHC 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. A retired teacher, Ann has also served as president of the Riverhead School Board. The gala was named for the late Pearl Philindas, a past president of the coalition.

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