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Optical Heights Holding Fundraiser to Benefit Sarah Grace Foundation

Roslyn store to hold silent auction, fundraiser on August 20

Optical Heights (opticalheights.com), a leading provider of top brand collections including Tom Ford, Robert Marc, Tom Davies, Oliver Peoples and Alain Mikli, will host a silent art auction on Aug. 20 from 3 to 9 p.m. to raise funds for The Sarah Grace Foundation.

The Foundation, a Hicksville-based non-profit organization, is dedicated to improving the quality of life for children with cancer and to provide comfort and support to their families. Roslyn Heights-based Optical Heights will also donate 20 percent of its profits from the sale of all sunglasses and eyeglasses from the day.

On display will be art from various noted artists, including Len Mondschein (nostalgic and western art) who donated a stunning large-format giclee of Marilyn Monroe, Elinor Schoenfeld (fine arts and photography) and Charlene Sloane (jewelry). Also on display will be art from amateur local artists and students.

“We’re happy to join with The Sarah Grace Foundation, whose dedication to children affected with cancer along with their families, has made a huge impact in the lives of many,” said Optical Heights co-owners Karen Sacco and Dianne H. Szwed. “We’re happy to bring together so many talented local artists along with the founding members of The Sarah Grace Foundation and people from all parts of Long Island to help a worthwhile cause.”

In addition to the art and brand-name eyewear on display, Optical Heights will serve a variety of refreshments in their boutique custom-designed by architect Stuart Narofsky, along with a selection of fine cheeses, fruit, and more.

“The Sarah Grace Foundation is thrilled to have had this idea presented to us and look forward to the event itself,” said Matt Weippert, president and co-founder of the Hicksville-based Sarah Grace Foundation. “Sarah loved pursuing anything art related so this event is a great way to remember that and to honor her memory. We are happy to have the opportunity to work with Optical Heights and are very grateful to Karen and Dianne for sponsoring this event. Fundraising events such as this are imperative to the success of our programs and helping these wonderful children and their families.”

Dianne Szwed and Karen Sacco met in 1992, after working together as licensed opticians in an optical boutique in Great Neck. After two years of working together, they quickly realized their mutual aspiration for opening their own optical boutique. In October of 1996, Optical Heights was first opened for business. In a male-dominated business, Dianne and Karen established the first, upscale, fashionable store on Long Island, complete with an exam room, children’s room with a fun, hand-painted mural, and even a cappuccino bar in the back. They carry exclusive lines that are not typically found in chain stores, such as Tom Davies, Freudenhaus and Lafont, as well as their own line, Sacco-Szwed, which was launched this year.

In 2002, Matt and Marissa Weippert received the heartbreaking news that their 11-year old daughter, Sarah, had Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL). She underwent various treatments such as high dose chemotherapy, cranial and full body irradiation and a bone marrow transplant donated from her brother James, who at the time was just 10 years old. Afterwards, Sarah regained some of her strength, and it seemed as if she had won her battle with cancer. But six weeks later, Sarah relapsed and the disease was more aggressive than ever. Unfortunately, on Nov. 9. 2002, Sarah lost her battle with leukemia.

Throughout her struggle, Sarah always maintained a positive attitude and kept smiling. After every treatment she went through, she would wake up and announce, “I need a craft, and a snack!”

Sarah’s love of life, art, music and games inspired Matt and Marissa to begin The Sarah Grace Foundation for Children With Cancer Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life of children with cancer and to provide comfort and support to the families of those children. They give toys, crafts, ballgame tickets, and other pleasures to children to make their journey through cancer more bearable and also to the siblings of the child who are affected as well. Additionally, they give financial and moral support, as well as any other necessary assistance to the parents of the children, and try to educate the public about childhood cancer.

For more information on the Aug. 20 art auction and fundraiser to benefit The Sarah Grace Foundation For Children With Cancer, Inc., call Optical Heights at 625-2555 or the Foundation at 433-9745. Also visit thesarahgracefoundation.org for other events.