On March 14, George Oliphant of the NBC hit show “George to the Rescue” came to celebrate the completion of his renovation project of Hewlett House. As explained by founder Geri Barish, “Hewlett House was started as a community resource learning center for breast cancer concerns…[Later] we felt we need to look at all cancer — embracing everyone that was involved with the disease or family members. We dedicated the center to the next generation because the children are the ones we look to educate — the children who do community service and bring laughter to a dismal situation sometimes brighten up a sad day.”
Councilman Bruce Blakeman was at reveal day but explained he was on hand at the very beginning, too. He explained, “As a Nassau County legislator, I was able to facilitate the acquisition of the property. Geri assured me that she would staff and maintain the house, and almost 20 years later, they are still going strong.”
Five Towns resident Marnie Weidenfeld reveals her personal connection. “The Hewlett House has saved me in so many ways! I really didn’t tell a lot of people I was diagnosed with cancer. I was too tired to talk about it and the Hewlett House was a safe place for me to go for support. They have many support groups and I took wonderful classes from meditation to yoga. I had a place to go to that felt like a home-away-from-home. I made lovely friends and we all understood one another.”
Barish confirms, “I have seen many who come to groups or just want to network with others that are very ill and know they are here for a short time — while some leave us too soon. I have seen the miracles of research and new treatments and technology that have saved many lives. I have hugged many who were told to put their house in order and through clinical trials and networking are cancer-free. As a totally free center, the volunteers that come to help are our angels. The support groups are run by social workers who volunteer and a doctor of psychology with an oncology background runs a group as well as counseling.”
Among the community offerings enhanced by the miraculous “George to the Rescue” renovation are Tai Chi, chair yoga, crochet, cancer support and discussions, a wig room that looks like a Hollywood salon, a children’s room, a media room, and a state-of-the-art kitchen. Barish explains the effect their efforts had on the production crew. “The producers of the show were overwhelmed with the support groups and daytime work of the patients. They allowed the filming of their support groups amid interviews with the camera crew with a whole heart.”
Barish is a five-time cancer survivor and lost a son from cancer. “We are survivors-fighters-warriors. We get our strength from one another and are there for each other. In the spring and summer, watching the flowers bloom and seeing the birds that drop by, we know we made it through another season.”
To learn more about Hewlett House, including the 20th Anniversary Celebration, visit Hewlett-House.org or call 516-374-3190.