Teams:  The Heart & Soul of the Race

Each year, the success of the Komen Greater NYC Race for the Cure® is made possible by the event’s many Race teams.  Last year, there were 924 teams — an amazing number.

There are five Race team categories — Community, Corporate, Hospital, School (K-12) and School (College/University).  These profiles tell the story of a team in each category.  We know you’ll find them inspiring and hope they will motivate you to create or join a team.


Community — The WTFC

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The WTFC team crosses the finish line

Shari Goldsmith is a survivor on a mission. Her mother died of breast cancer 30 years ago and her aunt is a breast cancer survivor now battling ovarian cancer.  She had tested negative for the BRCA gene and thought she had “a free pass” but was diagnosed in 2007.  She had a double mastectomy and five months of chemo.

During her treatment, her purchase of a brightly colored pair of sneakers helped her develop a new attitude.  That attitude became the name of her nonprofit, The WTFC.  The organization sells merchandise at crafts fairs and its online store to raise money for breast cancer research and breast health awareness.  Grants are made to research organizations throughout the country.

The WTFC supports Komen Greater NYC by donating half the proceeds of its Breast of Everything event to the organization, as well as through all funds raised by its Race team.  The WTFC team was started in 2008 with 12-15 members, raising $2,500.  The next year, it had 33 members and raised $7.500.  

In 2010, there were 60 members — family, friends and WTFC crafts customers, including 10 survivors and their families.  The team raised $22,431.  It hopes to have 70 team members this year and meet or beat last year’s figure. Goldsmith is busy emailing and using Facebook to recruit members and get pledges.


Corporate — Accenture

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2010 Accenture Race team

Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company, with more than 223,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries.

More than ten years ago, Accenture’s New York Metro office founded a Race team to demonstrate its passion and commitment for Komen Greater NYC.  As a result, many women and men at Accenture have devoted their time and energy to support the cause and show their support for all the people who have been impacted by the disease.

In 2010, the Accenture team had 103 members and raised more than $21,000.  This year, the team hopes to exceed last year’s goal.

The thoughts of one team member — Eugene Jones — says it all:

“My younger sister Joanne was already a cancer survivor by the time she was 12- years-old, so it was unfathomable when she was actually diagnosed with breast cancer 24 years later.  The disease ultimately claimed her life, leaving a loving husband and four beautiful children heartbroken.

“It is in her name and indomitable spirit that I proudly participate along with scores of other Accenture team members in the annual Komen Greater NYC Race for the Cure. I know that we are getting close to eradicating this terrible disease once and for all.”


Hospital — Continuum Health Partners

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2010 Continuum Health Partners team

Continuum Health Partners is a partnership of Beth Israel Medical Center, St. Luke’s Hospital and Roosevelt Hospital — offering fully integrated health services through the New York City metropolitan region.

The team was created in 1998.  Awareness, screening, and research have always been a part of the practice along with a strong commitment and connection to the Komen organization. Team members include doctors, patients, spouses, children and other family members.

In 2010, Continuum Health Partners had over 300 Race team members and raised $34,586.  The team hopes, even, in this tough economy, to do as well or better than last year.

This year — along with survivors and supporters of the cause — the team is running to honor the memory of beloved Joan Deignan and her courageous fight against the disease.  One of her co-workers, Dr. Sharon Rosenbaum Smith, summed her influence up beautifully:

“Joan was instrumental to the development of our cancer care programs. She was a positively feisty witty lady with ‘class’, forever an advocate for better healthcare for all. She inspired us and everyone around her. Joan always stood confident and strong, making an impact on all who met her, leaving an everlasting impression.”

This year, the Continuum HealthPartners team runs to honor Joan Deignan, runs to celebrate survivorship, runs to make a difference.  Its motto — Never, never, never give up.


School (K-12) — Think Pink in Edgemont

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Think Pink in Edgemont Race team

Zoe Parower’s entire life has been affected by breast cancer.  She lost her grandmother and aunt to the disease. Her mother tested BRCA1 and 2 positive and chose to have prophylactic surgery.  She has feared for her future for “too long” and decided to take control.

A senior at Edgemont Junior Senior High School in Scarsdale in Westchester County, she formed the Think Pink in Edgemont team in late spring 2010 after getting board approval to start a breast cancer awareness club at the school.  “Breast cancer seemed like an epidemic in our community — teachers, neighbors and family members were being devastated by this disease.”

To Parower, the team represents strength in numbers.  “Young people need to become aware of the facts early so they can take care of themselves throughout their lives.”  The principle at the core of creating the team is that participation is the most important step in increasing awareness.  She believes that raising pledge dollars and donations will bring about cures  “We want to take the fear of breast cancer out of the future.”

Last year, its first year, Think Pink in Edgemont had 13 members and raised $2,080.  This year, there’s a lot more interest both at school and in the community for people to join the team and/or donate to the cause.  With close to four weeks to go, the team has 14 members with 10 people soon to register.  “Our team is going to be much bigger than last year.   We’ll be making a bigger difference and bring about greater change.”


School (College/University) — Team Barnard:  Remembering Jayma

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Team Barnardwalks in memory of Jayma Abdoo

Team Barnard:  Remembering Jayma was created in 2006, a couple of months before the death Jayma Abdoo, who worked in the Dean’s Office of the college.  Abdoo had a recurrence of breast cancer after being in remission for five years.  She died before the Race, but 30 colleagues walked in her honor that year.  The team continues to race — remembering her and others who have suffered from the disease.  Team founder and original team captain Lillian Appel is also a breast cancer survivor and Abdoo was one of her pillars of support during her illness.

Appel described Jayma Abdoo as one of the most “selfless people” she has ever known, a woman who always thought about others first.  Extremely modest, few knew about her life — as a political activist, fighter for social justice, voice for the voiceless — until her memorial service.  Abdoo had been a member of the Camden 28 during the Vietnam War, a shop steward for union employees at Barnard and tireless advocate for students of color applying to professional schools.  She was “a wonderful daughter, aunt, friend and a cherished colleague.”

The team has had as many as 25 members made up of faculty, staff, students, friends and family. Jayma continues to be the team’s original inspiration.  Members also race in honor and/or in memory of friends and family that have been touched by this terrible disease.

Last year, the team raised $7,854.  This year, team co-captains are putting on a big push to increase team numbers and fundraising.


Create or join a team today.  There’s still time to be part of the Race team movement!  


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