Team of the Week

The Pinks


Honoring a grandmother and great aunt who survived breast cancer and lived into old age

Elissa Hecker founded The Pinks over seven years ago to honor her grandmother and great aunt, both of whom survived breast cancer and lived into old age.  Basically a family team, The Pinks is small in number — varying from nine to 12 members — but large in enthusiasm.  Last year, the team had nine members and raised $1,116.00, which it hopes to surpass this year.

The Pinks Front.JPG

“My grandmother and great aunt both beat breast cancer. One had a single mastectomy; the other had a double mastectomy,” said Hecker.  “I wanted to honor them both while they were still alive.  They lived out of state and were too old to participate, but I sent them photos every year until they died.”

After Hecker got married, her husband’s family also got involved.  His maternal grandmother died of the disease.  “Our family has a history of breast cancer,” she explained.  “Plus it’s a great cause.”

Team members have ranged in age from infancy to 70 and include Hecker, her sister, her mother, her mother-in-law, an aunt and three cousins.  “My seven-year-old daughter has been part of the team since she was an infant,” said Hecker.  Her five year-old-son will be joining the team this year.  

The team’s core is Hecker’s family, and the group has participated in the Race every year, except one, since the team was founded.  “The Race is a very special event in our family,” explained Hecker. “Every year, we come in from Westchester the night before with our sleeping bags and have a girls’ slumber party in my sister’s Upper West Side one bedroom apartment.  The next day, we meet up with friends who are on the team.  And, we often connect with friends who are at the Race as members of other teams.”

Once Race registration opens, Hecker contacts team members, who then get in touch with their friends.  Those who don’t participate usually make a donation.  She finds that personal emails are the best way to raise money.

Hecker’s best Race memory?  The several times that three generations have all walked the Race route together, which, she said, “…is an awesome thing.”.