Long Island’s Babes Against Cancer celebrate $30M raised since 1972

Long Island’s Babes Against Cancer celebrate $30M raised since 1972
Sandy Award recipient Sandy Seltzer, center, poses with her family after the ceremony. (Photo courtesy of <a href="https://koledaproductions.com/">Koleda Productions</a>)

Women decked in pink packed Glen Oaks Club on May 17 as a celebration of their fundraising work for the American Cancer Society.

Founded in 1972, the Babes Against Cancer host golf tournaments, luncheons and events every year as part of an islandwide fundraising effort for the American Cancer Society’s research in breast cancer and prostate cancer.

Since its inception, Babes Against Cancer has raised more than $30 million.

Top Babes Against Cancer volunteers were treated to brunch at Glen Oaks Club on May 17. (Photo courtesy of Koleda Productions)

“This is the most unique event of its kind,” Chloe Lipman, American Cancer Society executive director of community development, said. “We don’t have another program like this within ACS across the country, and through these incredible, dedicated volunteers, we’ve been able to raise so much money and truly make an impact in the fight against cancer.”

Formerly known as the Babe Zaharias Tournaments, the group raises more than $1 million per year with more than 600 volunteers and 5,000 participants at the 30 participating Long Island clubs.

Every year, the clubs organize an event for the same day for a golf tournament as well as mahjong, bridge, tennis, raffles, vendors and a luncheon. This year, Babe Day at Glen Oaks Club is set for July 17.

Glen Oaks Club Babe Day co-chairmen Carol Sacks, second from left, Amy Smith, Center, and Fern Kwial, second from right, pose with the Top Earning Club trophy with June Ingraham, far left, and Sue Boccio, far right. (Photo courtesy of Koleda Productions)

This year, Glen Oaks Club’s Babe Day event co-chairs Fern Kwial of Muttontown, Amy Smith of Old Westbury and Carol Sacks of Great Neck were honored as the top earning club of 2017 with $236,326 followed closely by Fresh Meadow Country Club’s earnings of $228,496.

Glen Oaks Club has raised $2.6 million since 1972, and Fresh Meadow Country Club has raised $2.8 million in the same time.

Old Westbury Golf and Country Club broke into the $100,000 or more category with $101,879, and has raised $1.6 million since 1972.

The Village Club of Sands Point was also named Most Improved Club for 2017, raising $6,075 last year with the addition of Jackie Gross to the committee.

Village Club of Sands Point members pose with the Most Improved Club trophy after the ceremony. (Photo courtesy of Koleda Productions)

North Hills Country Club was also honored as one of two half million dollar clubs, raising $613,680 since 1974 and $36,275 last year.

Money raised is kept on Long Island, American Cancer Society Senior Manager June Ingraham said, and is currently funding a two-year grant for Dr. Lloyd Trotman’s prostate cancer research at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.

Glen Oaks Club, however, opted to branch out with a second annual event created to attract a younger audience.

Lauren Rubenstein Aeyeh of Great Neck, Rachel Stier of Roslyn and Jamie Kwiat of Roslyn founded Babe Wellness Day two years ago and will host their third annual event on Aug. 8.

Aeyeh, whose mother died of lung cancer, said she wanted to do more and give to cancer research but knew many other younger club members weren’t interested in spending the day golfing.

(Photo courtesy of Koleda Productions)

“We created it because we realized there was a huge increase of people at the club who were not golfers and weren’t card players, so Babe Day didn’t fit them,” Aeyeh said. “We tried to think of a way to include them as a part of the fundraising without feeling they had to play golf.”

Babe Wellness Day consists of an hour-long workout, which last year was a choice between Pilates, yoga and a boot camp workout, followed by a stroll along the golf course and a luncheon on the patio with speakers and healthy demonstrations.

“A lot of these girls have never even walked the course, and they don’t know what’s out there,” Aeyeh said. “It’s beautiful.”

During the brunch, Roslyn resident and Fresh Meadow Country Club member Sandy Seltzer was honored with the Sandy Award, named in memory of founder and breast cancer survivor Sandy Zuckerman Rothstein.

Ingraham said since Seltzer began organizing the club’s annual journal six years ago, income has doubled and she has raised more than $800,000 at the helm.

“It’s a labor of love,” Smith said. “In one way or another, we’ve all been touched by it, whether it’s a friend or a family member or yourself, and everybody comes together and supports each other on this day.”

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