By Agrippina Fadel
The annual ‘Not My Daughter… Find a Cure Now’ luncheon returns for its 14th year, rallying supporters in the fight against breast cancer.
Held on Monday, October 30, at the Marriott Heron Bay in Coral Springs, the Not My Daughter event includes a shopping boutique at 10 a.m., followed by the luncheon at noon. The tickets are $125 a person or $200 for the VIPink option, which includes a special gift. Guests are encouraged to purchase their tickets by October 14.
The non-profit started as a grassroots cancer awareness charity group in 2010, when a Parkland resident, Denyse Hostig, was diagnosed with breast cancer.
“She was scared out of her mind when she got on the other side of it, even with a great support system throughout her treatment,” said Jody Sternfield, co-founder of Not My Daughter. “We decided we wanted to do something to involve our children and take what is a very scary situation for everyone involved and find something positive and good.”
Sternfield, Hostig, and 14 of their friends planned a luncheon and shopping event to bring awareness to breast cancer. “The Original Sweet Sixteen,” as they call themselves, the founders realized they had been to many charity events, knew the local vendors, and believed they could organize an event that would truly make a difference.
At one of the first meetings, Sternfield said, “Look, everybody needs to buy one table of ten, that’s 160 seats. You can give your tickets away, you can sell them, you can do whatever you want. But you got to fill the room with 160 people.”
In the first year, Not My Daughter sold 550 tickets and had close to 800 attendees, including all vendors. The luncheons have been sold out every year since.
“We don’t take that for granted and are so grateful for the community support,” Sternfield added.
The non-profit works with local kids and teenagers, involving them in the cause and offering ways to volunteer.
“We are working with Parkland Dance Theater and their recreational dance company, which includes younger dancers. They opened the event before. Coming back for the second year is Broadway Bound performing arts school,” Sternfield said, adding that Not My Daughter also works with high school students, helping them organize smaller fundraisers and providing opportunities to receive community service hours.
“I love to consider this a children’s organization because it’s really all about the kids, educating them, making them accountable, inspiring them to stand up for something important,” Sternfield said. “I don’t think I know an adult not touched by breast cancer, as a patient or a loved one of a patient. One in eight women get it. It is a horrible epidemic, and we need to work together to fight it.”
Sternfield was proud to share that Not My Daughter is 100 percent volunteer-driven, and the founders and members do not take a salary. The organization uses in-kind donations and tries to keep the costs of events to a minimum. “We’re not spending money. We hold on to it tightly because every penny needs to be donated towards support services and resources,” she said, adding that Not My Daughter has raised over $2 million.
The non-profit opened its first Patient Support Services Center in Miami Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center in Plantation in 2019. The center provides ancillary services for breast cancer patients and survivors, from wigs and therapy sessions to exercise counseling and nutrition consultations.
Sternfield said the center serves as a “landing place” for women who receive the diagnosis and is open to the community, not just Sylvester patients.
“We are building our second support services center now at the University of Miami Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center in Deerfield Beach. And when that’s completed, we have our eye on another center at the Miami campus,” she added, saying if it were up to the founders, every town would have a similar support services center.
The keynote speaker at the Annual Shopping Boutique & Luncheon is Bob Carey from the Tutu Project, a New Jersey-based non-profit. A professional photographer, Carey started taking photos of himself wearing a pink tutu skirt after his wife was diagnosed with cancer in 2003.
Over the past 20 years, he created silly and inspiring photos of himself everywhere, from Redwoods in California to Florida beaches. What started as a way to make his wife laugh during her treatments became a successful non-profit supporting breast cancer patients “financially and emotionally” with rides to chemo, child care, and mortgage assistance.
“We think Bob Carey will prove to be a meaningful and thought-provoking speaker and hope the community will enjoy this amazing event and come together to support the cause,” said Sternfield.
- Agrippina Fadel grew up in Siberia and received her master's in journalism from Tyumen State University. Agrippina is also a writer and editor at Draftsy.net. She has been a US resident for over ten years and speaks English and Russian.
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