August 31, 2016

MAKING STRIDES: Sign up, wind up, rise up, lace up

Author: Liza Frenette
Source: NYSUT Communications
making strides

Got pink?

It's time to make some strides in autumn walks all over the state. Sign up, wind up, rise up, lace up. Be part of the NYSUT team at makingstrideswalk.org/NYSUT.  

Why?

Because raising money for the American Cancer Society raises hopes, provides care, and provides solutions.

How?

In 2014, NYSUT members who tread miles for more than $1 million helped ACS answer 160,000 patient service requests, either by phone, email or online chats; give more than 341,000 rides to patients to and from treatment; and provide 276,000 nights of free lodging to cancer patients and their families. Another 35,000 patients were provided with items, such as wigs, to help manage the side effects of treatment.

To break down that money: $50 could help provide fives rides to and from treatment for one cancer patient. $25 could help provide free access to 24-hour information and support via phone, email and online chats for one person.

And then there is the vital research – the light at the end of the long, dark tunnels forged by cancer. Nationwide, the ACS reports it is currently funding 162 grants totaling more than $62 million. In New York alone, grants total $3 million-plus.

At the University of Buffalo, Jennifer Surtees, a member of the United University Professions higher education union affiliated with NYSUT, is using a $792,000 three-year ACS grant to study genomic identification of pathways affected by altered dNTP (deoxyribonucleoside triphosphate) metabolism which, broadly speaking, has a role in DNA and cell metabolism.

Dr. Dorothy Lane, UUP, Stony Brook University, earned a $300,000 ACS grant for physician training in cancer prevention.

NYSUT Vice President Catalina Fortino said research, education and advocacy are essential components of ACS's actions.

ACS funding is needed for "the critical missions of educating students and parents about cancer prevention, to provide cancer screening and education for the uninsured or underinsured, and support for people newly diagnosed," Fortino said in a new video.

American Cancer Society services - such as accommodations for cancer patients and families, clinical trials and the "Look Good, Feel Better" workshops — exist because of money raised in events like Making Strides.

Additional research grants are fueling study at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Yeshiva University; Beth Israel Medical Center; Columbia University Medical Center; Cornell University; Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center; and New York University, among other institutions.

Interested yet? Go to makingstrideswalk.org/NYSUT. Create an account and click the "Sign Up" button to find a walk closest to you. Once you enter the name of your team, be sure to choose NYSUT from the "Team Company" drop-down.

This year, the focus is on getting NYSUT members to use technology to participate in ACS fundraising events, said Sonia Basko, special projects coordinator for NYSUT.

Registering online is an important way to track the participation and contributions of NYSUT members. Additionally, downloading a new fundraising app will smooth the way for participants to accept contributions from friends and family through PayPal. The ACS FUNdraising app has been redesigned to raise and track donations; participants can sign into the app after registering for an ACS event.

"By properly documenting NYSUT as the corporate sponsor, locals, chapters and retiree councils help us in hitting that $1 million goal each year," said Basko. 

A small sampling of teams of NYSUT members and where they will walk include: Central Islip Teachers Association- Long Island; Cleveland Hill Education Association-Buffalo; Clarkstown Teacher's Association-Hudson Valley; Organization of NYSUT Staff Retirees-Westchester; United College Employees of the Fashion Institute of Technology-Central Park; and Westhill District Education Association-Syracuse.

NYSUT will also be actively supporting other ACS fundraising events, including Relay for Life, Relay Recess and Relay Field Days.

NYSUT has been a flagship sponsor of Making Strides since 2002.

By the Numbers

  • Total raised by NYSUT members since 2002 – Just under $13 million
  • Total raised by NYSUT members for 2015 - $ 981,997