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Breast cancer survivor on quest to help others

Lifelong resident hosting fundraiser on Sunday

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It was shortly after the birth of her second daughter, in April 2013, that Robin Steinberger was given a diagnosis that dramatically changed her life. The 33-year-old, lifelong East Meadow resident had breast cancer.

In and out of the hospital for the next two months, Steinberger underwent a double mastectomy at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan that June. Fifteen debilitating months of chemotherapy and other exhausting treatments followed.

Steinberger is now two years cancer-free.

The 1997 East Meadow High School graduate recalled her grueling path to recovery, which included weeks in which treatments sapped her strength, leaving her unable to get out of bed in the morning. “I couldn’t lift my body up,” said Steinberger, who’s now 35. “I felt like I was pretty much hit by a Mack truck. I couldn’t lift my children after my surgery.

“I went from scheduling play dates to scheduling chemo appointments,” she added. “Your life definitely changes.”

But it was the support of her family, and her determination to fight the devastating disease, she said, that helped her survive. “It was about taking control of my life and health,” she said, “and being my own advocate.”

Instilled with a newfound appreciation for life, Steinberger is now aiming to help others who have been impacted by breast cancer. On Sunday, in commemoration of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, she will host a fundraiser at the East Meadow Jewish Center to benefit the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer program.

More than 50 vendors will take part, offering adult and children’s clothing, cosmetics, sports memorabilia, home appliances and more. There will also be a Chinese auction, children’s activities, and information from experts about the disease. “It’s about awareness,” said Steinberger, who recently returned to her job as a retail planner at Marchon Eyewear. “I don’t know if people realize how many young women under the age of 40 are actually diagnosed with breast cancer. It’s very prevalent on Long Island right now. I’ve met so many other young women that have been going through this — young women that grew up here in East Meadow.”

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