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Elmhurst honors those affected by COVID, cancer

The front facade of Elmhurst Hospital now features 655 lights, each paying tribute to a frontline worker, cancer survivor or someone affected by COVID-19.
Last week, the hospital illuminated the exterior exhibit while remembering and honoring those affected.
“Cancer has touched so many of our lives and, as we all know, so did COVID,” said Elmhurst Hospital CEO Helen Arteaga. “Even in my own family we’ve suffered from both cancer and COVID. Today, we stand just a little bit brighter because we are reminded by these lights that there is always light in sadness.”
The first ten names on the 90-foot long installation are staff members from Elmhurst and Queens hospitals that passed away due to COVID-19. Integrated into the exhibit are photos of the community and hospital workers.
Paddle for a Cure NYC, a support organization for breast cancer survivors/supporters, and Women in Lighting and Design (WILD), a networking organization for women in the architectural lighting community were integral in creating the exhibit.
Leah Salmorin, CEO of Paddle for a Cure NYC, expressed her gratitude to Elmhurst Hospital workers who comforted her during her own treatment for breast cancer and COVID-19.
“By coming together, we share our emotional support for each other,” she said. “Be a light to others and be a light to yourselves. The brighter we shine the better the world will become.”
WILD President Kelly Roberts said the exhibit creates a place for people who have been affected by the pandemic to be remembered, especially in one of the areas hardest hit by COVID.
“We decided to use light to bring joy back to the Elmhurst community,” she said. “This connection and interaction with the installation is exactly what we hoped and envisioned for the community.”
Lights are still available to be purchased in tribute of a loved one or friend, to remember those lost or to celebrate those who survived from all cancers or COVID, or to thank a frontline worker. Visit pfcnyc.org/lightforlife

Maspeth Federal donates $10,000 to Relay For Life

For the 17th consecutive year, Maspeth Federal Savings will be a corporate sponsor of the Relay for Life event in Middle Village.
“We are proud to support such an important cause and fight against a disease that touches so many people’s lives,” said Kristen Sapienza, senior bank officer and marketing supervisor. “The Relay for Life is an amazing event that not only raises funds for essential programs and patient services, but has also formed a community support system for anyone who has been affected by cancer.”
The event involves teams of taking turns walking or jogging through the night around the track at Juniper Valley Park. It will take place on Saturday, September 25. For this year only, there will be a “pop up” three-hour version of Relay For Life from 6-9 p.m. A festive atmosphere includes music and entertainment.
“Funds raised through Relay For Life help ACS fund and conduct breakthrough research, and give cancer patients and their families the resources they need, like free rides to chemo, free places to stay near hospitals, and a live 24/7 helpline for answers and support,” said Leslie Orlovsky, senior manager of Community Events with the American Cancer Society.
For more information or to register, call (347) 850-6868 or e-mail [email protected]

Art competition to benefit cancer patients

An art contest is uniting diverse artists from Queens and beyond with a mission of bringing hope for cancer patients.

On April 30 at 5:30 p.m., Paddle For The Cure founder Leah Dulce Salmorin and this columnist will co-host an art show on Zoom and Facebook from the landmarked Ridgewood Savings Bank at 107-55 Queens Boulevard in Forest Hills.

“Arts For Life” will feature numerous artists competing in the categories of painting, photography, and drawing.

Winning artists will donate their artwork to be displayed at the Hope Pavilion Clinic. Entries will be judged by Mervin David, an artist and nurse practitioner with Elmhurst Hospital.

They will also receive $100 donated by Ridgewood Savings Bank. Artists who enrolled paid $20, which will benefit Elmhurst Hospital’s Hope Pavilion Cancer Clinic and Paddle For The Cure.

“Ridgewood Savings Bank has always been a bank that prides itself on its community.,” said branch manager Nancy Adzemovic. “I want to go out into the community and search for more partnerships.”

Over the years, the bank has funded history murals, sponsored the 112th Precinct’s Night Out Against Crime, organized blood drives, and coordinated a carnival-themed family festival.

The contest was inspired in part by an exhibit at Jade Eatery in Forests Hills Gardens by this columnist titled “Reflections of Historic Forest Hills.” Since 2019, it has been the center of several fundraising events for Paddle For the Cure.

Salmorin is herself a breast cancer survivor. She founded Paddle For The Cure, which supports fellow survivors through recreational opportunities to foster a healthy lifestyle and offer emotional support and team spirit.

“I vowed to give where I can, to help others affected, and I feel that I cannot waste the rest of my life without making an impact on this planet,” said Salmorin.

To maintain a healthy body and state of mind, Salmorin swims, bikes, does yoga and acupuncture. She serves as a lector at St. Patrick’s Cathedral and St. Joan of Arc.

Her story, “Humility & Faith,” discusses her two lessons as a survivor and was featured in “Faces of Inspiration,” a book that spotlights breast cancer stories.

“Giving me the gift of life is also my way of giving back to Elmhurst Hospital, my home away from home where I was treated. I will never forget the first time I stepped into the doors and the entire staff welcomed me with beautiful smiles.

“I also believe that there are many artists who need to be recognized, and this event brings every individual together as one for a great cause,” she added. “Art is the key to healing that can touch one heart to another.” Purchase tickets for the virtual event here.

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