The Breast Cancer Help Story
In 1994, a small group of men and women living on Long Island, New York came together to face the widespread national tragedy of breast cancer. They set out to find the correlation between breast cancer and the environment and to change the way the public perceives this terrible disease. This group refused to accept the chronic under-funding of breast cancer research and the silence and indifference surrounding the disease.
With vision and perseverance, these community-minded men and women formed Breast Cancer Help, Inc., an organization with a focus on action and advocacy to eradicate breast cancer. Its founding President was Rebba Martin, a nationally known breast cancer survivor and the pioneer of the West Islip Breast Cancer Mapping Project, an epidemiology study which pinpointed breast cancer clusters. Breast Cancer Help’s founding Co-President was Reverend Thomas Arnao, who is currently a Vice Officialis for the Diocese of Rockville Centre, and had the opportunity to counsel many women faced with the battle against breast cancer. The group began by promoting education and awareness of breast cancer issues on Long Island and elsewhere in New York State. This mapping project spearheaded the breast cancer environmental movement, and has now spread to other parts of New York, the United States, and abroad.
Since its inception, Breast Cancer Help has taken a multi-pronged approach to combating breast cancer on Long Island. The organization has worked to mobilize citizens into breast cancer coalitions leading to breast cancer mapping projects; it has worked to bring cancer education into our schools; served as advocates to change state and local laws to preserve our environment; and worked to strengthen the rights of breast cancer patients and survivors.
In March of 2003, Breast Cancer Help opened the Long Island Cancer Help and Wellness Center . The Center represented a partnership between Breast Cancer Help, Inc. and the Village of Lindenhurst, a municipal government with a long history of support of grassroots efforts to find the causes and a cure for breast cancer. The goal of the Long Island Cancer Help and Wellness Center is to provide increased cancer awareness to promote early detection, while providing patients and survivors with needed support services during and after treatment. In 2007, the Center moved to Bay Shore, where it resides today.