Survivors stick together

Resurrected business hosts cancer fundraiser

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Seven years after her interior design business was destroyed and shuttered by Hurricane Sandy, Patricia Salcedo’s resolve has not faltered. In Bellmore, Salcedo’s long-standing dream — and her charitable spirit — live on.

On Oct. 29, 2012, Sandy slammed into the Dakota Design Center in Merrick, flooding and ravaging the interior. The following weekend, catastrophe struck again when a fire gutted the building. P.S. Micasa Interiors, housed inside, was wiped out. Salcedo’s plight was covered by the Herald in 2012, 2013 and 2014.

III View Designs & Construction Inc., Salcedo’s revamped business, operates in Republic Lighting in Bellmore. Although it takes up only a small section of the store, the two businesses have grown into natural partners, said Randi Satnick, III View’s event and marketing coordinator.

The business has become a “fresh start” for the III View team, said Satnick, who has worked alongside Salcedo since before the storm. “I didn’t want to struggle anymore,” Salcedo said. “Once I let go, things started going beautifully here.”

The Dakota Design Center had been known throughout Merrick and Bellmore for its charity work — which lives on as well. On May 8, Republic Lighting was packed with dozens of visitors — mostly women — raising awareness of breast cancer, specifically for those afflicted under 40.

The spot was host to a fundraiser for the Breasties, a nonprofit that provides young female cancer sufferers with an “all-inclusive community of survivors, previvors and caregivers,” its website reads (see box). Since it became a nonprofit about a year ago, the group has exploded in numbers, providing support for women internationally.

“It’s a necessary group,” Salcedo said, “because it’s geared toward the younger population — and a lot of them are lost to the public eye.”

“Their needs are different,” Satnick, a breast cancer survivor, said. “I was lucky and already had a family. But they have needs, and sometimes they lack those support systems — the Breasties provide that.”

Bianca Muñiz, now 24, survived ovarian cancer and breast cancer by 22. An artist at heart, she expresses her struggles and those of her fellow Breasties through music, which she performed at the fundraiser. From the corner of the shop, she sang her original songs, including “Believe” and “As You Are” — slow jams that encourage cancer patients to keep on fighting and to embrace self-love, despite their scars.

Having been diagnosed with ovarian cancer at 11, Muñiz lost touch with countless friends through uncertainty about her condition, she said. Thanks to the Breasties, an understanding friend is always a phone call away.

“It started when I went to a free spin class” hosted by the Breasties, Muñiz said. “I was shy, but there were countless other women going through the same thing.”

The group also offers retreats, dinners, group trips and more, on top of the friendships, members Karolina Krauze and Trish Gauthier explained. To learn more about the organization, visit its website, https://thebreasties.org/.

To support the Breasties, prizes and packages were auctioned off during the night, including a cruise, facials, jewelry and local dinner packages.

In the future, III View Designs will likely be home to plenty more fundraisers. “We’ll always pay it back,” Satnick said.