September 2010 Issue
August 22, 2010

Making strides: Why I walk

Source: NYSUT United

Thousands of NYSUT members will make strides against breast cancer at walks this fall as part of the American Cancer Society's annual fundraiser.

Union members are striving to raise more than $1 million for the fourth year in a row to raise awareness and fund treatment and research programs to fight cancer.

"We need to raise every dollar we can toward research to eradicate the causes of cancer as well as to develop better treatments for those fighting cancer," said NYSUT Vice President Maria Neira, who oversees the union's ACS efforts.

 [To sign up for a walk near you, go to NYSUT's Making Strides webpage at]

Bill Ahearn
Gates-Chili TA

"I'm extremely fortunate that no one in my immediate family has suffered from cancer.

Unfortunately, over the course of my teaching special education in the Gates-Chili schools for 37 years, many of my colleagues have. Whether it's breast cancer or other forms, the American Cancer Society fights them all, so I always found Making Strides to be a positive way to help.

For over five years, I haven't walked. Instead I've volunteered as part of the NYSUT booth at the walk in Rochester. My wife, Lori, also a special education teacher in the Gates-Chili schools, and Rhoda Ride, a retiree, have been giving out water at the booth.

The event has grown so much in Rochester. It's amazing to be part of so many people — and they all want water!

Lori and I joined Rhoda in the retiree ranks this summer but we won't retire from Making Strides walks, and we plan to be there."

Janis Bianco
Rondout Valley Federation of Teachers and SRPs

"I am a strong supporter of the American Cancer Society even though I have not participated in a Making Strides walk. I'm a Stage IV ovarian cancer survivor.

The American Cancer Society was there for me, and while I've been cancer-free since the Wednesday before Thanksgiving in 1995, their message still hits the mark.

Being a survivor, I agree with their message that a world with less cancer is a world with more birthdays.

Our union is very involved in raising funds for the American Cancer Society. Barbara Cusher and I send a memo out to all our members asking for support for raffles and bake sales.

Every step we take at Making Strides or Relay For Life, every dollar helps us raise awareness, improve treatments and find a cure."

Carmen Ortiz
Buffalo Educational Support Team

"Why do I walk?

Because of my mother and my grandmother. My mother is a survivor for more than eight years now, but my grandmother has passed. I walk to honor and to remember."