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Breast Cancer Thriver Roberta Model Amon Honors Unsung Hero at BCRF New York Hot Pink Party

By BCRF | April 9, 2018

BCRF Advisory Board member Roberta Model Amon will honor Denise LeFrak with The Roslyn and Leslie Goldstein Unsung Hero Award at the Hot Pink Party 2018.

When BCRF Advisory Board member Roberta Model Amon was diagnosed with breast cancer, she shared the news with a select few. Besides her family, she told her best friend, Denise LeFrak. Their friendship, which has spanned four decades, has witnessed life’s joys and hardships – but it was this sudden illness that made their bond even stronger.

“Sometimes people mistake us for sisters. But we’re more than that,” Roberta said.

At the upcoming New York Hot Pink Party on May 17, Roberta will present Denise with The Roslyn and Leslie Goldstein Unsung Hero Award to thank her for standing as a pillar of strength during her challenging course of cancer treatment.

“We’ve gone through so much together in life,” Roberta said. “From the greatest moments to more difficult experiences, and we’ve supported each other through it all.”

This was true 15 years ago when Roberta was diagnosed with breast cancer after an annual checkup. From doctor’s appointments to lunch dates, Roberta and Denise remained inseparable as they navigated this new world of scans, surgery and side effects together.

“The comfort of having her by my side gave me so much strength and support,” Roberta said.

Denise was Roberta’s rock, and this role came intuitively to her. She didn’t skip a beat when she heard about Roberta’s diagnosis.

“When Roberta told me she had breast cancer, I went into action. I would do anything and everything for her,” Denise said.

And she did. But sometimes the reality of a cancer diagnosis was a difficult burden to bear.

During Roberta’s first appointment with her surgeon, Roberta remained calm as the procedures were explained to her, while Denise, who had come into the appointment to take notes and provide moral support, broke down in tears.

“We laugh about it today, but I was composed sitting in my hospital gown and she was having a total meltdown,” Roberta said.

For Denise, meeting the surgeon was the moment when the reality of Roberta’s diagnosis truly hit her.

“All my emotions took over,” Denise said recalling the moment. “I didn’t know what was going to happen to my best friend.”

Denise supported Roberta in every way she could. Oftentimes the pair would meet for lunch. Sometimes only a few words were exchanged between the two of them, but Denise’s presence was enough for Roberta. It was precious for Roberta to have someone not only to talk to, and share silence with as well.

“That was my comfort hour of the day. I knew I had someone to share anything with,” Roberta said.

Today, Roberta is enjoying life in remission. A self-professed “thriver,” she has a new outlook on life. Not only is she a strong believer in the power of breast cancer research, but also remains eternally grateful for her lasting friendship with Denise.  

The pair has attended many New York Hot Pink Parties together. This year’s will be particularly poignant as the friends share the stage when Roberta presents Denise with The Roslyn and Leslie Goldstein Unsung Hero Award.

“It will be very emotional,” Roberta said.

For Denise, the moment will be overwhelming.

“I’m honored beyond comprehension for someone acknowledging me in this way,” Denise said. “I don’t think I deserve anything for simply loving my best friend.”

The Roslyn and Leslie Goldstein Unsung Hero Award is presented annually at the New York Hot Pink Party by someone who has been diagnosed with breast cancer to a friend (not a family member or a medical professional) who has gone above and beyond out of the goodness of their heart to help. For more information about the Hot Pink Party click here.