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PEP Dec 2006
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Public Employee Press

Union Scrapbook

Activists in breast cancer walkathon


Mothers, grandmothers, daughters, members from Locals 1549 and 768 gathered in Central Park on Oct. 15 to raise money for cancer research.

On Sunday morning, Oct. 15, Central Park was a sea of pink, as the pathways filled up with participants in the annual “Making Strides” breast cancer walkathon.

Moving through the swelling crowd, it soon became apparent that the park was filled with individuals out to offer a form of personal testimony. T-shirts were decorated with the faces and names of loved ones no longer among the living. Quilts, with each square telling the story of a woman stricken by the dread disease, were strung alongside the band shell.

Dorothy Herriott, a member of Clerical-Administrative Employees Local 1549, works out of the 10th Precinct in Manhattan. “A member in my command died last year of breast cancer. Her name was Sonia Bennett.” Herriott was walking for the fourth consecutive year.

Anna Berry, chair of the Local 768 Women’s Committee, is another perennial—someone who participates in the walkathon each year to honor fallen members of her family. Her son Anthony was also walking, along with his schoolmates from the Frederick Douglass Academy.

Public Health Advisor Zelma Brown, also a member of Local 768, has been walking every year since 1996. This year, she was dressed in her T-shirt from the Oct. 17, 1999, walkathon. “I came out because I lost my aunt to breast cancer,” she said. “We also have members of our local who have succumbed to the disease.”

Local 1549 member Ellen Maxwell has worked for the Dept. of Health for 28 years. “I have breast cancer survivors in my family,” she said. “My sister-in-law died from breast cancer last year and three of my friends are breast cancer survivors.”

Brooklyn’s Prospect Park was also filled with walkers for the cause. Every year, 911 operators, led by Police Communications Technician Sylvia Lewis, form a team to participate. This year, 35 people walked, including PCT Ruth Johnson, a breast cancer survivor for four and a half years. “Being a cancer survivor has made me realize how vulnerable we all are. I couldn’t have made it without the support and knowledge of others,” she said.

Health Committee Chair and Local 436 President Gloria Acevedo led the team ­effort for DC 37 this year. “It’s critically ­important that the union support thiscause,” she said. “One in eight women will get breast cancer. We have to do all that we can to raise money for research.”

 

 

 

 
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