Naming The Bobbi Lewis Cancer Program at Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center

The Bobbi Lewis Cancer Program at Good Samaritan is named for a woman whose contributions to improve the quality of life in Rockland County are larger than life. Bobbi was a broadcast journalist and radio executive committed to reaching across religious, cultural and economic boundaries to improve our community. 

"Bobbi was the only laywoman on the Board of Trustees at Good Samaritan during a time when all other women on the board were clergy," says Barry Lewis, her husband of 38 years. Bobbi also was on the Good Samaritan Foundation Executive Committee. She was the 2000 Good Samaritan Medal of Honor recipient.

Bobbi's name is familiar in Rockland. Among the 27 buildings and programs named for her are The Bobbi Lewis Jawonio Group Home and the lobby at the Provident Bank United Hospice Bereavement Center. Her work helped advance organizations such as the American Cancer Society of Rockland, the Rockland Business Association and the United Way of Rockland, among others. As well, her contributions to the Association for the Visually Impaired of Rockland, the Communication Professionals of Rockland, B'nai B'rith, the American Heart Association and the Rockland Business and Professional Women's Association, to name a few, have been lauded. 

Among Bobbi's many accomplishments, she was most proud that she raised more than $100,000 to help build Good Samaritan's Union State Birthing Center in 2000. The Lewis family also donated funds for the Neonatal Nursery where a plaque bears their name.

Through her work with the American Cancer Society, Bobbi and Barry became friendly with Sushil Bhardwaj. Later, when Bobbi learned that she had breast cancer, she came to Dr. Bhardwaj. 

Bobbi also went for a second opinion to Mount Sinai in New York City where Dr. Bhardwaj had previously been a fellow and associate chairman there. "When Bobbi was at Mount Sinai, they asked her to convince Sushil Bhardwaj to come back and practice there," says Barry. "Although she knew she was in good hands with Dr. Bhardwaj, that request further confirmed her decision to receive care from him." 

While Bobbi underwent treatment at Good Samaritan, Barry decided to create a program in her name. "I wanted to recognize her work," he says. Barry worked with the Foundation and Administration to create The Bobbi Lewis Cancer Program.

Bobbi passed away in 2002. Barry has since remarried. Together, he and his wife, Helene, continue Bobbi's legacy by promoting the oncology program at Good Samaritan. "I get calls from people in the community who ask where they should go for their cancer care," says Barry. "We recommend Dr. Bhardwaj. We tell them that here they'll get the same therapies they would get at leading hospitals in Manhattan."

"The Bobbi Lewis Program serves roughly 800 patients," says Barry. "We need to continue to expand services – and promote what we do – so people in the region can be treated close to home instead of traveling to New York City for care." Barry adds that patients shouldn't need to have to figure out how to get into the city, particularly during bad weather.

Barry retired from Sandler Capital Management, New York City, in 1995, where he had been a partner. He and Helene live in Piermont and in Boca Raton, Florida. He now consults for non-profit organizations as well as businesses. He also brokers the buying and selling of radio and TV stations.