October 06, 2022

Members band together against breast cancer

Author: Molly Belmont
Source:  NYSUT Communications
making strides
Caption: Members of the Owego Apalachin Teachers Association show their support for Making Strides of Binghamton. Photo provided.

Join Team NYSUT

Visit the Team NYSUT page for more info about walks across the state and to join a team in your area, nysut.org/joinmakingstrides.

See below for full calendar of events.

Each fall, the American Cancer Society hosts Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walks from Jones Beach to Binghamton, and NYSUT is with them every step of the way.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the partnership between NYSUT and the ACS. During that time, union members have raised more than $16 million to support groundbreaking breast cancer research, ensure greater access to quality care, influence public policy and provide critical patient support.

The events have become a fall favorite with union members, with many contributing year after year to the battle against breast cancer.


Ben and Linda Frisbie, both retired members of the Owego Apalachin Teachers Association have been supporting Making Strides of Binghamton for more than 20 years. They first got involved in the late 90s when their local banded together to support a fellow teacher who had just been diagnosed.

“Gathering and walking with fellow NYSUT members and others for this common cause is energizing and comforting if you, or someone you know, has ever been touched by this cancer,” Ben Frisbie said. “We walk away from this event feeling energized.”

When they retired, the Frisbies made sure to get their newly formed OA Retiree Chapter involved in the event. As a result of their continued advocacy, the retiree chapter has raised more than $16,000.

“We are very proud of what our union has done,” said Ben Frisbie.

Long Island – Jones Beach

Amy Leder has been participating in Making Strides of Long Island since 2015. Leder, who is a guidance counselor at Long Beach High School and member of the Long Beach Classroom TA, said the Jones Beach walk wouldn’t be what it is without the leadership and activism of Sheila Goldberg. Goldberg died of cancer in 2020 but continued raising awareness about breast cancer right up until the end of her life.

“One of the things that keeps us coming back is that breast cancer has affected all our members in one way or another, young, old, male, or female, year after year. It’s important to us to support our members and make sure they know no one in Long Beach fights alone,” said Leder. Since 2016, the LBCTA has raised more than $40,000 to fight breast cancer.

Central Park – New York City

Roberta Elins has been participating in Making Strides of Central Park since 2009. President of the United College Employees at the Fashion Institute of Technology, NYSUT Board of Directors member and chair of NYSUT’s Higher Education Committee, Elins and her team have successfully raised more than $90,000 over the course of the last 13 years. It hasn’t always been easy — team members had to walk separately in 2020 and 2021 because of COVID-19, and sometimes due to Elins’s busy travel schedule she’s joined walks in other locales, including Orlando, San Diego, and Washington, D.C. — but she has never missed a walk. Her favorite Making Strides event is the one in NYC.

“The walk in Central Park is exhilarating, as thousands upon thousands of people — a virtual sea of pink — make the walk,” Elins said. “The leaves in the park are at their most beautiful fall foliage and even when it rains it doesn’t dampen the spirits of the walkers.”

Her colleague and teammate, Ellen Lynch agrees. “It’s a sea of pink. I get choked up just thinking about it. It’s not about death, it’s about life.”

Lynch, professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology and Executive Vice President of the United College Employees Fashion Institute of Technology, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1996.

“Once you hear the word ‘cancer’ you don’t really hear anything else,” she said. “It is mind-numbing.” Lynch underwent a mastectomy, chemotherapy, and radiation, and has been cancer-free since then. She joined the walk in Central Park the following year and found comfort in being part of that pink army of activists. She has participated in the walk ever since and always urges other union members to join the fight.

“If you’re not doing it for yourself, you’re doing it for someone you know,” she said.

Visit the Team NYSUT page for more info about walks across the state and to join a team in your area, nysut.org/joinmakingstrides.

Join Team NYSUT

Visit the Team NYSUT page for more info about walks across the state and to join a team in your area, nysut.org/joinmakingstrides.

Oct. 1: Grangabel Park, Riverhead, Suffolk County

Oct. 9: Coney Island Boardwalk, Brooklyn

Oct. 14: Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds, Watertown

Oct. 16: Washington Park, Albany; Central Park, Manhattan; Flushing Meadows, Queens; Woodbury Common Outlets, Hudson Valley; Jones Beach State Park, Nassau County; Frontier Field, Rochester; Midland Beach, Staten Island; Clinton Square, Syracuse; Manhattanville College, Purchase

Oct. 22: Wilkeson Pointe Park, Buffalo

Oct. 23: Recreation Park, Binghamton; Bay Plaza, Bronx; Mohawk Valley Community College, Utica; Glens Falls City Park, Glens Falls

Making Strides