With a new initiative within the Westchester community, awareness of breast and ovarian cancer — and possibly the ultimate, prevention and a cure — is one step closer to home. Thanks to Westchester mother and reproductive endocrinologist Ilana Ressler, the Pies for Prevention program has been launched within the Westchester community to support Sharsheret, the nonprofit organization that supports young women, men and their families facing breast and ovarian cancer.
Pies for Prevention is a program begun by two sisters, Manhattan’s Adeena Sussman and Teaneck’s Sharon Wieder, who lost both their mother and grandmother to ovarian cancer. Wieder, in fact, is a breast cancer survivor herself. To honor the memories of the women that empowered them, the sisters decided to memorialize their mother’s and grandmother’s love of baking while raising money for a great cause. This year marks the 8th annual Sharsheret Thanksgiving Bake Sale, where pies are baked within the community right before Thanksgiving and then distributed to those who have purchased them just in time to be enjoyed at the holiday dinner.
The initial program began in 2009 in Teaneck and Manhattan. Yearly, more and more cities have been added, mostly in the tri-state area but also in Massachusetts, Florida and California. This year, 18 cities are participating in the program, and close to $300,000 had been raised through 2015.
Ressler, who is spearheading the Westchester effort, is relatively new to New Rochelle, but already has taken the initiative to build up the program because, as she says, “there’s such a nice community here.” She’s taking the luxury of using her own kosher kitchen to make these homemade pies — chocolate chip cookie dough, pumpkin, pecan or a pumpkin cranberry bread — to support the organization’s goals. All of the proceeds go toward the ovarian cancer program at Sharsheret, with volunteers donating their time and ingredients to support awareness.
“As a reproductive endocrinologist, I see patients who are facing breast and ovarian cancer and I think that it’s wonderful that Sharsheret offers support to women who are facing these challenges,” Ressler said. “I come from a long line of great household cooks and bakers. My grandmother and my mom and my sisters are all great bakers and I’m happy to help support these sisters.”
At press time, it was not possible to order any more pies, but it is not too late to sponsor a baker and support the great work the women and Sharsheret are doing for cancer awareness. For more information, visit http://www.sharsheret.org/pies-for-prevention.
By Tamar Weinberg