The leaves are changing colors and the pandemic has changed everyone’s lives, but the pink rallying cry to stop breast cancer remains.
Fundraising events have changed from throngs of walkers to decorated car drive-thrus, step challenges, a virtual mosaic, city scavenger hunts, and many more creative outings.
Pink waves of NYSUT members will again be taking part, riding in cars tricked out in pink and combing city streets for clues.
The American Cancer Society’s annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walks this year will feature novel fundraising events as NYSUT continues its flagship sponsorship.
The key to keeping the pink-powered program thriving is to sign up at nysut.org/joinmakingstrides to stay informed about what is being planned in each region.
The union’s 2020 effort is dedicated to the memory of Sheila Goldberg, a longtime NYSUT activist who died in January.
“For decades, Sheila led the fight on Long Island and across the state to urge NYSUT members and labor to organize in the fight against cancer,” said Philippe Abraham, NYSUT secretary-treasurer. “So, this year we dedicate our NYSUT efforts in Sheila’s memory, and to not forget those other heroes we have lost to cancer, including Sandy Feldman, former United Federation of Teachers and American Federation of Teachers president, and Sonia Basko, a former teacher and NYSUT staff member.”
Utica and Syracuse regions, for example, are setting up drive-thru decorated car rallies, each on Oct.18. Outdoor stations will be set up so drivers can stop to pick up literature, give-aways, take part in photo ops for survivors, purchase pinwheels for a memorial, or drop off donations.
The Syracuse drive-thru will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Destiny USA, the country’s second biggest mall, and the Utica event will take place from 9 a.m. to noon at Sangertown Square Mall in New Hartford.
“We have a lot of really passionate volunteers and supporters,” said Bob Elinskas, senior community development manager for ACS. “Our NYSUT groups are awesome.”
Prior to the drive-thru events, or at the car rally itself, drivers and passengers can purchase pinwheels, which will be placed in a long, grassy meridian on site to honor those who died from breast cancer.
In Long Island, Goldberg’s home turf, events include a step challenge from Oct. 1–11; and a scavenger hunt using a digital app that will take participants in search of clues and problem-solving situations. They will be taking photos and videos as part of the event. A virtual mosaic will use photos of people taking part in their own fundraising events.
Last year, 282,690 NYSUT members raised $728,000 in 19 different walks all over the state.
NYSUT members have raised more than $15 million since NYSUT became a flagship sponsor of the statewide event. Money raised is spent on research, including grants to SUNY and CUNY faculty; lodging for patients and family; rides to treatment and education.
Several years ago, the American Cancer Society included a Real Men Wear Pink campaign to help give men a leadership role in the fight against breast cancer, which affects men as well.
NYSUT’s 2020 ambassador for the campaign is Greece Teachers Association President Brian Ebertz. He earned the title of #1 NYSUT Real Man for his 2019 fundraising efforts. Men participating in the campaign pledge to wear pink throughout the month of October, use social media to raise awareness to the cause and raise at least $2,500 to help ACS fight cancer.
For NYSUT Making Strides gear, order a union-made, American-made T-shirt at strides2020.weebly.com. Proceeds go to ACS.
For more ideas to host a virtual Making Strides fundraiser, download the ACS Virtual Fundraising A-Z brochure (PDF).