Local Schools Walk for A Cure

By Amanda Moses

Schools throughout the Spring Creek Towers’ (SCT) community are banding together to fight for a breast cancer cure. Last month, Abe Stark Primary School (PS) 346, Frederick Douglass Academy VIII (FDA), and Gateway Intermediate School (IS) 364 held several fundraisers with their Parent Teacher Associations (PTA), as well as walks around the SCT neighborhood.

Each of the local schools dedicated the month of October to teaching their students the importance of breast cancer awareness. There are more than 200,000 cases of breast cancer in the United States every year, according to the Mayo Clinic. This disease has a widespread effect on the lives of millions, so much so that October is deemed Breast Cancer Awareness month. This campaign advocates for women and men of all ages to be vigilant in screenings, preventive care, and awareness of the symptoms. 

On Friday, October 26th, IS 364’s students kicked-off their breast cancer walk wearing custom-made t-shirts, which had included a pink ribbon with the words IS 364 embroidered on it. These shirts were designed by art teacher Diane Ferrer, and printed within the school. Principal Nicole Edmund-Fraser was very proud of her students making strides against breast cancer. She told the Spring Creek Sun that all of the fundraising proceeds will go to Memorial Sloan Kettering. Edmund-Fraser, along with several staff members walked from the Freeport Loop, around the Brooklyn Sports Club (BSC), and through the G-section’s Great Lawn, chanting, “No More Breast Cancer!”

In addition to IS 364’s walk, the school also held their annual Cancer Survivors Breakfast, for those who have either survived cancer or have had family members who experienced the fight against the disease.

On the morning of Monday, October 29th, PS 346 began their annual breast cancer walk around the Freeport Loop. New York State Senator Roxanne Persaud led this endeavor with the Pre-kindergarten and Kindergarten classes. Grade by grade, the classes left the school holding signs, pink ribbons made from construction paper, and t-shirts with the phrase: “PS 346 Walks for A Cure.” Each class designed their own pink signs with the words, “Hope,” “Strength” and “Early detection saves lives.” PTA President Ava Atkinson spearheaded PS 346’s walk and fundraising campaign selling socks, pins and t-shirts. The funds from these items will be donated to the American Cancer Society. “The children need to be aware of the different things, especially illnesses, going on in the world,” Atkinson said. The walk is an event that is near and dear to Atkinson’s heart. It is something that she has helped coordinate for the past seven years. (PS 346 also hosted a breakfast for breast cancer survivors on Wednesday, October 31st).

Choya Manning has been walking with her son for the past four years. “I go to these walks to show that I support my son and that these walks help shed light on preventive care,” Manning said.

On Monday, October 29th, just before the school day ended, middle schoolers from FDA VIII marched outside of their school chanting “One, Two, Three, Four: Cancer We Do Not Appreciate!”
These students proudly wore their “Fighting for a Cure” t-shirts and passionately waved their signs at onlookers. This year’s walk was coordinated by the PTA, Parent Coordinator Ladrecia Balfour, and School Business Manager, Georgia Eddings.

Principal Chantal Grandchamps believes the walk is the perfect example of community outreach and volunteerism that her school fosters.

PTA President, Tameka Thornton helped design FDA VIII’s t-shirts, which they sold as a part of their fundraising, with Parent Coordinator, Ladrecia Balfour. (Donations will be given to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.) “I think it’s important for students to participate in this event because cancer touches everyone. We have staff who have experienced breast cancer and I have aunts who have passed away from it. It’s important for people to know more about this disease and how to prevent it. Screenings saves lives,” Thornton said.

This is the second year that seventh grader, Samantha Solis, has participated in the annual walk. She prides herself in her steadfast dedication to spreading awareness, even creating chant: “One, Two, Three, Four: Cancer We Do Not Appreciate!” Solis hopes that her efforts will inspire others to help fight for a cure and educate themselves on preventive care.

Photos by Amanda Moses