Team of the Week

Suetopia
 

A niece honors her aunt and grandmother

Courtney Udelson created Suetopia in 2007 in honor of her aunt, Susan Cohen, and grandmother, Iris Weingarten, both of whom are breast cancer survivors.  “The most important thing about the team is the meaning behind it and the concept on which I founded it, “Udelson explained.  “It was a fun way for our friends and family to raise money for breast cancer in honor of my aunt and grandmother.”  The team name combines “Sue” for Susan Cohen and “topia” from “Utopia,” the name of the Udelson family’s recreational boat.

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Last year, the team had about 50 members and raised $22,138.  This year it hopes to meet or exceed that amount.

Susan Cohen was a five-year survivor when the team was founded.  “I had a double mastectomy,” she said, “and am grateful for the friends and family who supported me the year of the surgeries.”  Her mother, Courtney’s grandmother, has been a survivor for over 20 years.  Although she lives in Florida, she walked in the Race one time.

The team is made up of friends, family and extended family. Many members have been affected by breast cancer either personally or through someone they know.  This year, Cohen is serving as co-captain and trying to expand team membership to work colleagues.  

Every year, the team has created its own t-shirt with Suetopia on the front. This year the team has two sponsors — CLC (the Courtney Lee Collection, owned by Udelson) and 16 Handles Frozen Yogurt (Cohen and her husband are 16 Handles partners).  The sponsor names will appear on the back of this year’s tee.

The team recruits new members through emails, Facebook, the Komen Race web page and word of mouth.  This year, Cohen will be promoting the Race and team to employees and customers at the two yogurt stores through personal contact, posters and other materials.  The team raises funds through email, Facebook and word of mouth.

In the past, the team would meet on a corner, go to Starbucks and take a photo before the Race, then have lunch after.  This year, they are meeting at the 16 Handles Upper West Side store for a bagel breakfast and photo.  After the Race, they are going to the Upper East Side store for lunch.

When asked about a favorite Race memory, Cohen said, “Crossing the finish line together, holding hands  — especially with family members.  It’s a very emotional experience.”