By Julianne Mosher
The Brookhaven Ballroom at Danfords was filled with hundreds of people to celebrate and support one of their own this week through the family’s bout with cancer.
Dara Cohen, originally of Dix Hills, has been living under the weight of cancer for years, battling Stage 4 breast, brain and lung cancer, and now friends said it has metastasized in her lower spinal cord. The actress and professional dancer works as a ballet teacher when she feels up to it, but the disease has had a lasting effect.
It was just a few months ago when Dara Cohen’s sister, Jami, who bartends at the hotel in PJ, came to work and asked her managers if they could help her create a fundraiser.
The goal was to raise $100,000 for the 46-year-old dancer, singer and actress.
“They immediately said yes,” Jami Cohen, of Port Jefferson, said. “I couldn’t ask for better people to work with.”
On Monday, Nov. 11, Danfords donated its space upstairs and an extensive menu at its buffet to the Cohen family.
“Obviously it’s an unbelievable cause,” Enrico Scarda, owner of Danfords, said, “And we do whatever we can to support our employees.”
A DJ blasted music while people mingled. Lamar Peters, a tribute artist known for his Elvis, Johnny Cash and Buddy Holly impersonations, came out to play, and over 100 gifts were donated to the raffle table.
“All of us are here to unite and break course for Dara,” Dara’s father Shelly Cohen said. “We’re looking to make a difference and these people are coming out to help our daughter.”
Tickets were $40 for the three-hour event and the outcome was a huge success. Although Dara couldn’t be in attendance, she video-called in and was grateful for the response given in her honor.
Known for her popular social media posts chronicling her journey, Dara’s goal has been to help other people struggling as well.
“She’s an amazing person,” Dara’s mother Karen Deangelis, said. “Dara has made an impact on other people and has a tremendous amount of support … Hopefully we can help other people, too.”