Dr. Lesley Rechter, who has a women’s health practice in Jericho, was 47 when she was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer after a routine mammogram. “My first reaction felt like someone punched me in the stomach,” she says, but she kept a stoic front so as not to frighten her then eleven-year-old daughter. “I was determined for her not to see me sick.” She kept seeing patients as much as possible, and continued playing the French horn with the Massapequa Philharmonic Orchestra and the Island Chamber Symphony.

This coping mechanism worked. “Your life doesn’t stop” after a diagnosis of breast cancer, she offers, and it’s extremely helpful to maintain a level of normalcy while going through treatments. “It’s a horrible experience, but you do get through it.”

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And she has, but she makes a point of helping others, making herself available 24/7 to friends and her patients who have been diagnosed to help calm their fears. It’s cathartic to share her own experiences with the disease, she says.

Dr. Rechter also raises thousands of dollars for the annual American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Cancer walks. “It goes towards research…I hope my daughter never has to deal with this in her lifetime.”