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Making Strides walk raises $740k for fight against breast cancer

By Tom Momberg

The Queens chapter of the American Cancer Society held its annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk, filling Flushing Meadows Corona Park with a sea of pink Sunday.

Although it had been delayed because of the Mets’ appearance in the playoffs, the walk attracted more than 9,000 people last weekend.

A Making Strides spokesman said that number was greater than he expected considering the date change.

The 22nd annual event raised about $740,000 for the ACS, which uses those funds mostly for breast cancer research, education and outreach and fund-raiser programming.

Participants put together nearly 700 teams, which campaigned for funds leading up to and even after the walk.

One of those teams, which was participating for the second year, was the “89ers,” a collaborative effort among at least 40 faculty and staff at PS 89Q in Elmhurst, as well as their families and some of their students.

PS 89 kindergarten teacher Monika Hannon, of Glendale, said the school raised over $1,800 for the walk. The team raised about $1,700 last year.

“We raise funds mostly by word of mouth. And our after-school program pledged $500, coming from parents’ help with bake sales and T-shirt sales,” Hannon said.

Hannon said the 89ers, which sounds like a sports team, were not deterred by the three-day postponement of the walk.

“It would have been better if the Mets would have won, but what can you do,” she said.

Elmhurst School Principal Laura La Sala said she has two aunts who have survived breast cancer—one a survivor of seven years and the other a survivor of 12. Both are in full recovery.

“My faculty really put this together on their own. I usually do the one in Jones Beach with my family—I do a walk every year, but this year, I decided to join my work family,” she said.

Like many members of her staff, La Sala said her life has been touched by cancer, prompting her to play a part along with her students and faculty members.

“It’s great. I feel they need to see the human side sometimes of their supervisors,” she said. “After all, we are all in this together.”

It is not too late to contribute to the 89ers’ effort this year. The school staff is still accepting pledges for the next couple of weeks. Donations can also be made online directly to Making Strides of Queens at main.acsevents.org/. The top fund-raising team this year was the NYPD’s Patrol Borough Queens North, which pledged over $37,000 for the walk.

Reach reporter Tom Momberg by e-mail at tmomberg@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4573.

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