ALBANY, N.Y. November 27, 2006 - Almost 10,000 members of New York State United Teachers came out last month in support of the annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walks, breaking records both in number of participants and dollars raised.
The Walks, held across the country during the month of October, are the American Cancer Society's premier event to raise awareness and funds to fight breast cancer.
NYSUT has been a statewide flagship sponsor of this event for the past four years; NYSUT members and staff have raised more than $2.2 million for Making Strides. This year the Walks raised an unprecedented $875,110, with more than 9,000 walkers participating.
"There have been tremendous 'strides' in the research and treatment of breast cancer," said NYSUT Vice President Maria Neira who heads up the union's initiative. "But in 2006 more than 210,000 women will be diagnosed, and more than 40,000 will die from this terrible disease. Virtually no families go untouched by cancer. That's why we walk, and that's why NYSUT will keep on walking. "
For the second consecutive year, NYSUT dedicated its Walk to the memory of former American Federation of Teachers President Sandra Feldman, who passed away after a long and courageous battle with the disease, Neira added.
The Capital District had its largest turnout ever with more than 700 walkers - including NYSUT members, families and friends - raising $110,000. In Jamestown - where there is no American Cancer Society - NYSUT members organized a local event that raised $12,000. Both Rochester and Buffalo broke their average participation with 1,000 walkers each, raising a combined total of $135,000.
Downstate, the Jones Beach walk - which included members of the United Federation of Teachers and NYSUT members who work in Nassau and Suffolk counties - raised more than $210,000 with 1700 people walking. NYSUT members in Utica, in addition to the Walk, raised $19,000 in a fund raiser raffle North Country NYSUT members set up a fund raiser netting $10,000; NYSUT members in the Mid-Hudson and Elmsford regions raised almost $160,000, and Syracuse-area NYSUT members added 150 new participants and collected $7,000.
NYSUT represents 575,000 teachers, school-related professionals, academic and professional faculty in higher education, professionals in education and health care and retirees. NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, National Education Association and the AFL-CIO.