Traffic tie-ups, jammed exits and parking problems at Jones Beach on Long Island meant that it was time for the annual Making Strides walk.
Although it was windy and cool, the American Cancer Society reports that approximately 60,000 people took part in Sunday’s event, helping to raise more than $3.1 million.
That’s a lot of sneaker power.
“If you weren’t here by 7:30 a.m. you got stuck,” said Sheila Goldberg, NYSUT retiree and activist. ”It took people a long time to get to our tent.” She helped staff the tent where union members came to sign up and receive information. NYSUT is a flagship sponsor of the event, which draws individuals and teams from all over Long Island. The walk at Jones Beach, a state park, is about four miles, and the “rolling start” is anywhere from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. to accommodate so many people.
“We greet our members and hand out pins,” Goldberg said. “I have five retirees with me who work their hearts out.” They start compiling materials for the walk every August to provide information for the approximately 50 Long Island locals that participate. Last year, NYSUT’s Long Island members from Nassau and Suffolk counties raised $220,000 at the Jones Beach walk, Goldberg said.
Goldberg wears pink throughout the entire month of October. This year, her colleagues sold pink sunglasses as well.
Nina Tribble, a UFT member who is in her 32nd year of teaching physical education and health in Queens, walked because “cancer is a pet peeve and a cause for me. I tend to get involved with causes I strongly believe in.”
Her son Joey, a twin, died at age 21 from cancer.
Tribble knit pink scarves and colleagues sold them at the booth to help raise money for ACS. Others wanted to try knitting them as well.
“I bought a bunch of skeins of yarn and met up with Sheila at NYSUT for a meeting, and I gave them to her,” Tribble said.
Goldberg gave the pink yarn to Joan Kurz, a Rockland Center Teacher Association retiree.
“I made frilly scarves and they sold them all,” she said. “I’ve already been told to make them for next year.”
Kurz has been walking in Making Strides for about 15 years, usually accompanied by both of her daughters.
“I had a very good friend who died from breast cancer and a brother who died from lung cancer. You want to find a cure for it so no one else has to go through this,” she said.