For many New Yorkers, October means viewing the reds, oranges and yellows of autumn leaves. For NYSUT members, October also means the power of pink. As a flagship sponsor of the American Cancer Society's Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walks, NYSUT musters a mighty army of walkers raising funds for research, support for those with cancer, and access to mammograms.
Walks have been held on Long Island, Albany, Binghamton, Purchase, Buffalo, Jamestown and other places in the state. A five-borough walk was held in New York City's Central Park, where tens of thousands walkers celebrated the 20th anniversary of this event.
NYSUT members report being awed by the "sea of pink" in scarves, shoes, vests, gloves, shirts, pants, hair ties and jewelry; by the camaraderie, by the commitment of those colleagues who come back and walk year after year, and by the challenges of breast cancer, which affects so many people.
The remaining walks are this weekend: Thompson Park Pavilion in Watertown on Oct. 26, and Queensbury High School on Oct. 27.
Since 2000, NYSUT members have raised more than $10 million for Making Strides Against Breast Cancer.
"Every day, the ACS helps people take steps to reduce their risk of breast cancer and find it early, when it is easiest to treat; and supports individuals through every step of treatment," said NYSUT Vice President Maria Neira, who oversees NYSUT's sponsorship and raises funds herself online.
The ACS provides transportation assistance to and from treatment; free lodging for those who have to travel far for treatment; workshops about beauty techniques for female cancer patients; emotional support programs connecting new patients with survivors; cancer education classes; and an online cancer survivors support network. Information is available from a trained cancer information specialist 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at 800-227-2345.
NYSUT's Social Services department helps connect members to support services in their geographic area. Call 800-342-9810, ext. 6206 or visit nysut.org/socialservices.