North Fork Breast Health Coalition Presents Sold-Out Gala

The North Fork Breast Health Coalition will celebrate breast cancer survivors and thrivers, as well as providers and caregivers, at the NFBHC Annual Pink Pearl Gala. The cocktail reception, seated dinner, raffles, and dancing to music by DJ Phil of Make Some Noise will be held on Friday, April 12, from 6 to 10 PM. For the first time, the event will be held at the Sea Star Ballroom at Hyatt Place Long Island in Riverhead. The gala is already sold out.

During this year’s gala, the North Fork Breast Health Coalition will honor three local businesswomen with Community Spirit Awards: Charlene Bugdin of Blue Sage Day Spa in Mattituck, Dr. Michelle Iona of Healing Points Acupuncture & Wellness Center in Riverhead, and Denise Zuhoski of Making Waves Hair Studio in Cutchogue. They are recognized for their commitment to serving and supporting the East End breast cancer community.

The Pink Pearl Underwriter of this year’s gala will again be the Simmons Point Group of Janney Montgomery Scott LLC. This is the fourth consecutive year that the company has sponsored the gala at the top level. NFBHC Director-at-Large Connie Hayes and the Mattituck Lions Club are participating as Pink Pearl Sponsors, the second level of sponsorship. Pay What You Can Legal, LLC, is a Pearl Sponsor, the third of the top three sponsorship levels.

Seating for the event was available for $150 per person and $125 for breast cancer survivors and thrivers through Since the gala is sold out, a request to be placed on the waiting list can be made by emailing or leaving a message at the coalition office in Riverhead at 631-208-8889.

To secure a sponsorship ranging from $250 for “Silver Sponsor” to $15,000 for “Pink Pearl Underwriter,” contact one of the gala co-chairs, NFBHC President Melanie McEvoy Zuhoski or Director-at-Large Colleen Pennica, at the same email address.

As is tradition, the Pink Pearl Gala includes a gift basket raffle, which can be previewed. Raffle tickets can be purchased beforehand at the coalition office at 185 Old Country Road in Riverhead from April 5 to 7 and during the gala. Individuals who cannot attend the gala can still participate in the raffle, which benefits the NFBHC Keri Lynn Stromski Stage IV Breast Cancer Research and Support Fund. Email the coalition or call Raffle Chair BeeJay Ferucci at 631-807-3479 for information about contributing to a gift basket.

Founded in 2021, the Stage IV Fund provides financial support to oncologists treating local patients and actively doing cutting-edge research on extending and saving the lives of Stage IV breast cancer patients. The fund also supports Stage IV thrivers who often have unexpected costs and expenses associated with their treatment.

McEvoy Zuhoski currently leads the North Fork Breast Health Coalition. The all-volunteer, nonprofit organization supports local breast cancer patients with programs such as Helping Hand grants. Proceeds from this event will also allow the group to continue providing free services such as gentle yoga, reflexology, massage therapy, tai chi/qigong mediation, and “Strength for Life” exercise classes to breast cancer patients and survivors. They can also receive free hats, scarves, wigs, and prostheses from the Rita Duva Boutique at the organization’s office.

Ann Cotten-DeGrasse and her late husband, Antonio, founded NFBHC in 1998 because they saw a great need for such an organization on the North Fork. A retired teacher, Ann has also served as president of the Riverhead School Board. The gala was named for the late Pearl Philindas, a past president of the coalition.

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