Pink Challah Bake Hosted by Sharsheret
Sharsheret, a national non-profit organization offering support to Jewish women facing breast and ovarian cancer, hosted a Pink Challah Bake and Women’s Health Education Discussion, held at the Bais Yaakov of Los Angeles. Over 30 local women attended the emotional evening, where two cancer survivors shared their personal journeys and Dr. Taaly Silberstein, an OB/GYN from Tarzana, spoke about women’s cancers.
Jenna Fields, director of the local branch of Sharsheret, spoke about the organization’s work in providing free phone and email psychosocial support to Jewish women dealing with cancer. Sharsheret also organizes community education programs, where women get together to talk about the risks of women’s cancers and how to minimize them.
Then Robyn Cardoza, a survivor of endometrial cancer, spoke about her own experience, emphasizing the importance of community support. She lost her own mother to cancer many years ago, and she wished she could have had Sharsheret’s support when she was her mother’s caregiver. When Robyn received her own terrifying diagnosis at age 50, she contacted Sharsheret. Robyn spoke about the emotional, as well as physical, challenges she faced in her journey. “I had an amazing support network,” she said. “I can’t imagine having gone through such a horrible experience without the support.” Robyn is determined to raise awareness of Sharsheret’s work, to ensure that no Jewish woman ever has to face cancer alone.
Another cancer survivor, Sharon, spoke about her diagnosis and lengthy treatment. “I learned a lot,” she said. “I learned to be grateful—for the advances in medicine, for the anti-nausea drugs, for the kind doctor who gave me his cell phone number, for the kind nurses, for volunteers offering snacks. I learned how to accept help from friends and family and let my kids cook for Shabbos.” Throughout her experience, she drew a lot of support from other cancer survivors. “I was so inspired by interacting with these vibrant, healthy women,” she said. “Who knew they’d ever been sick?” She praised the work of Sharsheret, as well as Bikur Cholim of Los Angeles.
Then Dr. Taaly Silberstein spoke about the four types of women’s cancers, their risk factors, symptoms, and early detection. She emphasized the importance of regular medical care, self-exams, and mammograms. Then, she answered specific questions from the audience.
After the speakers, participants had the opportunity to braid pink challah from beet-colored dough supplied by Bibi’s Bakery.
Sharsheret is always looking for volunteers to bring such programs to the community. More information about Sharsheret is available on their website, https://sharsheret.org/, or by contacting Jenna Fields at firstname.lastname@example.org.