Team of the Week

Team Nana York City

A vibrant grandmother, diagnosed and lost to breast cancer at 90

Team Nana York City was created this year by Courtney Dingle in honor of her grandmother Jeanne, who was diagnosed with breast cancer right after her 90th birthday. At the time, Dingle was eight months pregnant with her Nana’s first great-grandchild.

“Nana was as sharp as a 30-year-old and adamant that she was going to be ‘here’ when her great-grandson arrived,” explained Dingle. So she started chemo, despite warnings from her doctor and Dingle’s sister (a nurse practitioner) about how ill the treatments would make her.

Team Nana

The Team Nana York City 2012 logo.

“Sadly, they never got to meet. Nana passed away three weeks after my son was born,” Dingle explained. “None of us knew the chances of dying of breast cancer increase dramatically the older you become,” she continued. “Needless to say, it came as a shock to us all.” Dingle and her family want to raise awareness and remind people about how important it is to get scheduled mammograms no matter how old you are.

For Dingle, a Maya Angelou quote best describes who her Nana was:

I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.

Team Nana York City is made up of Jeanne’s children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and all who loved her. “Nana’s cardiologist said she had the strong, healthy heart of someone 20 years her junior,” said Dingle. “None of us knew that the breast cancer – which spread to her lungs and brain — would take her from us.” Nana’s loss opened family members’ eyes to the intensity of the disease and helped them empathize with those who fight and win against breast cancer, and those who fight and lose. “Even though Nana was 90, she was the soul of our family,” explained Dingle. “The shock of her death has rattled us forever.”

Dingle is recruiting members for her new team by forwarding its Race page via email to friends and family. She is using word of mouth – reaching out to family, friends and their communities – to raise money to help increase awareness and find the cures.

The team motto is baNANAs for a cure! Dingle, her family and Team Nana York City is determined to run breast cancer out of town.