Live from Syracuse, it’s Making Strides

8 a.m.

I’m at Clinton Square in Syracuse for one of the six Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walks across the state. It’s a little chilly but at least it’s not raining.

I’m hoping everyone got home safe from yesterday’s One Nation march in Washington. If you’re in Rochester make sure to give a big hello to Tom Gillett, who went to the march in DC and is working the Strides walk at Frontier Field today, not just as NYSUT’s regional staff director but also taking photos for me to get up on NYSUT’s Flickr site tomorrow. Tom will be assisted by Traci Szalkowski, also a fantastic photog.

Besides Rochester and Syracuse there are also walks in Waterloo, Washington County, Binghamton and Buffalo today. We can’t have NYSUT staffers at all of them taking photos, so if you happen to be at a walk and take a photo you like, please send it to me at to add to our site. Remember to let me know who is in the photo. I know a lot of NYSUT’s 600,000 members, but not all of you!

9 a.m.

People are starting to really fill the Clinton Square. One person who is not here is Sue Nagen, and I miss her bright smile. Sue, a retiree who taught floral design at the Onondaga-Cortland-Madison BOCES, volunteered at the booth. However, she’s recovering from a pulmonary embolism. I talked with her Friday and she said she’s on the mend but it is still too difficult to get around. Here’s a story about Nagen from New York Teacher in Sep. 2007.

julet dinan

Julet Dinan of Geneva is a physical therapist with the Wayne-Finger Lakes BOCES and a breast cancer survivor.

The Waterloo Strides walk should be starting soon. Beth Watkins of the Penn Yan TA is taking photos. I also wonder how Julet Dinan is doing. A physical therapist at the Wayne-Finger Lakes BOCES, Waterloo is much closer for her. I meet so many strong individuals through NYSUT, but the strongest by far, are those who have been tested by illness and adversity. All of my interviews with Julet were over the phone. When I received Lauren Long’s photos, I remember getting a lump in my throat and tears prickling my eyes. When I look at the photo again, tears threaten again. Knowing all that she went through in her fight against breast cancer, I get misty-eyed. I love that photo of Julet swinging from the bars.


There are so many people at NYSUT’s booth here in Syracuse! This is NYSUT’s ninth year as a flagship sponsor and the union is hoping this will be the third year in a row members together will raise more than $1 million in a single year.

Besides working it, I also participate and try to raise at least $500 each year. It helps that my husband Steve gives me my first $100. I will turn in my pledge sheets when I walk in Albany on Oct. 17. If you’ have no one else to sponsor write out a check to American Cancer Society and send it to me at 800 Troy-Schenectady Road, Latham, NY 12205 by Oct. 15.

10 a.m.

I’m hoping that Buffalo and Rochester are having as good weather, and turnout, as we are having. The Washington County Strides walk in Salem doesn’t go off until 12:30 p.m. Oh well, I’m off with members from the Syracuse TA, North Syracuse EA, Jordan-Elbridge TA, and so many others!

Look for photos to go up on Monday, Oct. 4.


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