Sharsheret Illinois Launch Party In Skokie

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Sharsheret, the only national not-for-profit organization dedicated to addressing the needs of women and families, of all Jewish backgrounds facing breast and ovarian cancer, celebrated the official opening of its regional office in Illinois, on March 7th at a private home in Skokie. Sharsheret Illinois is the third regional office for the organization. Sharsheret’s Illinois office is centrally located in Lincolnwood along the Edens Expressway, connecting the City of Chicago with the surrounding suburbs, situating Sharsheret well to have a wider reach in the region.

“While we have always provided cancer support and education to women and families in the greater Chicago area, our impact is not reflective of the incidence of breast cancer and ovarian cancer in these local communities,” said Executive Director Elana Silber. “Following the success of regional offices in other areas of the country, we are inspired by the opportunity to partner with Chicago’s strong and dynamic Jewish organizations to do even more for women and families living in the Midwest.”

The March 7th launch party hosted over 100 women and men from the Chicago area neighborhoods. The speeches at the party inspired many women to offer up their support, both volunteering for the organization and to participate in Sharsheret’s peer support network of cancer survivors counseling those currently facing the disease. In her remarks that evening, co-chair of the Community Advisory Committee, Heidi Schrage stated, “while my friends and family were amazing support during that time… it was Sharsheret that actually knew what I was going through.”

Sharsheret has hired two local professionals, Eve Kleinerman as Illinois Regional Director and Rebecca Koren as Illinois Program Coordinator. Eve oversees the strategic growth and expansion of Sharsheret’s local outreach and education initiatives and cultivate meaningful partnerships within the medical and Jewish communities. Rebecca will provide one-on-one psychosocial cancer support to women and families affected by or at high risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer, and assist in the development and delivery of cancer education and outreach initiatives.

In the six months since Sharsheret Illinois opened its doors, the team has formed a local Community Advisory Committee to serve as advisors and thought-partners to the local office. The Committee (still in formation) is currently comprised of thirteen members from the Chicago area, representing six suburban neighborhoods and three communities within the City of Chicago, all well poised to represent the diverse perspectives of the Chicagoland Jewish community. Yael Ripstein, a member of the advisory committee reflected on the March 7th launch stating, “The crowd was amazing and the energy infectious! Kudos to this organization for filling such an important need in our community.” The Sharsheret Illinois staff hopes to harness this energy and continue their work to spread support and education throughout the state.

We are thrilled to have been welcomed to the Chicagoland area with open arms, allowing us to increase our presence in Illinois,” said Sharsheret Illinois Regional Director Eve Kleinerman. “Through our on-the-ground presence, we have already seen significant growth in our callership, deepening the impact of our services across the State. We are continuing to heighten awareness about the increased risk for hereditary breast, ovarian and related cancers, ultimately seeking to improve and save lives.”

For more information about Sharsheret services, or to get involved, contact Sharsheret Illinois Regional Director Eve Kleinerman at ekleinerman@sharsheret.org or 312.767.2045.