More than 500 Capital Region residents vowed Thursday to make a difference and make history while Making Strides Against Breast Cancer this fall.
Under the theme of "A world with less cancer is a world with more birthdays" the personal stories of survivors were interwoven with updates about research and statistics about what money raised during fundraising walks does.
NYSUT Vice President Maria Neira introduced Denise Wright, one of the nine survivors highlighted at the Colonie event. Wright, who teaches English at Rensselaer High School, started her cancer battle in 2001. Her fight against cancer included double mastectomy and years of treatment. Her life after cancer has included white-water rafting, high-ropes climbing, guitar lessons and years with her parents, husband, children, friends and colleagues.
"I have happily celebrated eight birthdays since getting cancer," Wright said to applause from the capacity the crowd.
"I am extremely proud that NYSUT has been a statewide sponsor of the Strides walks for eight years,"Neira said, noting that participating in the walks "has become part of our union fabric." She noted that last year, about 13,000 NYSUT members walked across the state. For the second year in a row, together, they raised more than $1 million to fight cancer. NYSUT, a flagship sponsor, was the first organization to raise $1 million in a single year and is still the only team to top that milestone mark according to the American Cancer Society.
The non-competitive 5K Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walks will take place at numerous sites across the state Oct. 4, 18, 24 and 25. You can register as a walker and raise money online by logging on to www.nysut.org/makingstrides . Information on forming teams of walkers is also available from NYSUT regional offices.