Team of the Week

Team Charlotte

A small, intimate family team honors a mother lost to breast cancer.

Charlotte Bernstein was a bright and vibrant woman, who was ahead of her time. She graduated from the University of Connecticut in the 1950s with a CPA degree, one of just a few women who did so. After she met and married her husband, she focused her life on raising her two daughters. And, over the years, she offered her services to numerous charitable organizations and served as a source of advice for her many friends.

When Charlotte’s sister – a breast cancer survivor – was diagnosed with the disease, in her 30s, Charlotte was there for her. Then, in her early 40s, Charlotte also received a breast cancer diagnosis.

Team acCounting on a Cure

Annette Schottenfeld and her
daughter Sydney at the Race
finish line.

“She never once complained or pitied herself,” explained her daughter, Annette Schottenfeld. “She continued to make others in her life her priority – always listening to them and providing incredible insight into the right thing for them to do. Doctors in the hospital would wind up in her room just to spend time with this woman who cared about what was happening in their lives.” Friends nicknamed Charlotte “The Rock.”

But she lost her battle with breast cancer after a valiant fight over many years. “Her strength, energy and compassion were the motivation for creating Team Charlotte,” stated Schottenfeld. “And each walk has been an inspiring journey in her honor.” Team Charlotte was founded in 2008. A small, intimate family team, its members include Annette, her husband Jan, and their children, Sydney and Jeffrey.

Breast cancer has touched many of the team’s relatives and friends. With a strong family history, Schottenfeld worries about the wonderful women she loves so dearly – her sister, daughter, nieces and cousins. “I never want any of them to go through what my mother did,” she said. “I look forward to the day when none of us have to worry about breast cancer.”

Since Team Charlotte is a family team, Schottenfeld does not recruit members. To fundraise, she reaches out to family and friends through word of mouth and emails. “All of them have been touched by breast cancer in one way or another and know about the great work being done in the field,” she explained. “They want to support us each year, and their responses to team requests never disappoint us.”

When asked about her favorite Race memory, Schottenfeld described what it was like being part of a powerful event that provides hope that the cures will be found. “Seeing the ‘in memory’ notes on the walkers’ shirts sends home a strong message about all the women who have been hit by this disease,“ she said. “And seeing all the survivors is very empowering”.