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A mom’s breast cancer diagnosis inspires her son’s bar mitzvah project

When 13-year-old Ben Goldenberg learned his mom had breast cancer, he decided to dedicate his bar mitzvah project to raising money for cancer treatment. 

His (ambitious) goal: $10,000, to be donated to Northern Westchester Hospital’s Bruce and Andrea Yablon Cancer Health and Wellness Program — where his mom was being treated — and its Breast Health Initiative for Underserved Women.

“[The Yablon Center is] is a really wonderful program serving women who have breast cancer,” says Brandi Goldenberg. “It’s where I received the benefit of wellness programs like massage, reflexology and nutrition.”

quotation mark I hope my donation helps people like my mom find breast cancer early.
Ben Goldenberg

Young friends rally to raise funds

Ben’s idea was to organize a March Madness three-on-three basketball tournament. He, Brandi and his father, Adam, got the word out through Instagram, Facebook and email. The $25 registration fees poured in to the tournament’s GoFundMe page. Eventually 105 fifth through eighth graders signed up. 

“I was shocked by how the community had my back,” says Ben. “They were there for me.” 

The New Castle Youth Basketball Association donated the gym time and sent coaches an email advertising the tournament. A friend of Adam’s, a former DJ, provided music. Older students served as referees. Ben’s sister, Gabi, and her friends ran a bake sale that raised another $450. Others made monetary donations to honor Ben’s bar mitzvah at Bet Torah Synagogue in Mount Kisco, New York.

Exceeding the goal to provide more treatment

When the basketball tournament ended, Ben had raised $18,000. The funds will enable women to receive screening and treatment services they may otherwise have been unable to afford. 

“I hope my donation helps people like my mom find breast cancer early so it doesn’t develop into something bigger,” says Ben.

Based on the tournament’s success, the Goldenbergs hope to make it an annual event.

Donate to Northern Westchester Hospital