There was perfect autumn weather for the start of the annual 5K Walk and Health Fair at South Nassau Communities Hospital in Oceanside last Sunday. Hundreds of residents took part, helping to raise funds for cancer research.
Park Avenue Extended Care Facility of Long Beach was the naming sponsor of the event, while Lynbrook Restorative Therapy was the entertainment sponsor. Other supporters included Hewlett House and the Oceanside Chamber of Commerce.
The Health Fair, after the walk, featured health and wellness displays as well as free screenings for prostate cancer and cardiac risk factors like cholesterol, body mass index and blood pressure.
All of the money raised will help patients at the SNCH’s Gertrude and Louis Feil Cancer Center, as well as families impacted by the disease, with transportation to treatment, house cleaning, child care and elder care. It will also cover other expenses related to patients’ cancer diagnoses, such as medication, insurance, physical therapy, and more. It will help develop and expand patient support groups, patient educational materials and cancer awareness and prevention programs for the community.
The Feil Cancer Center treats approximately 1,500 patients each year at various locations. The center incorporates specialty cancer care services including the Cancer Center in Valley Stream; a GYN ,oncology department in Valley Stream; the Long Island Gamma Knife Center and the Center for Prostate Health in Oceanside; the Center for Breast Health in Oceanside; the Center for Lung Health, the radiation oncology department and the surgical oncology departments in both Oceanside and Valley Stream; RALI PET Imaging in Rockville Centre; and the Center for Women’s Imaging in Oceanside.
Joe Calderone, the hospital’s senior vice president for corporate communications and development, said administration was delighted with the support it received from the community. “This was the first time we switched from a run to a walk, and we did it for fundraising,” he said. “It’s also the first time we used CrowdRise technology. We used to do $14,000 net — now we’re looking at more than $50,000 net. We wanted to do more for cancer patients.”
Teams competed to see who could raise more money, Calderone said. Nurses made up one team, They Call Us Angels, that raised over $6,000. But, Calderone added, the average donation was $25.
One staff member, Nelvie Howard, manned a lemonade stand with her family. The Shaolin Self Defense team raised almost $3,000. CrowdRise accounted for $27,000 of all the money raised.
“We had 250 walkers and over 400 attended the health fair,” Calderone said. School of Rock entertained. The Oceanside JV cheerleading team lined the walk route and cheered people on.
“We had food trucks, games, rides, pumpkin painting — it was a real peer thing, and people loved getting involved,” Calderone said. “We did over 100 screenings at the health fair for various diseases.”
Asked what he would like to see in the future, he said simply, “I hope it will grow.”