The Sandy Hook Sole Sisters & Friends — a cancer awareness and fundraising team — kicked off its walk training season during Newtown’s annual Strutt Your Mutt in late May. Team members met at the town’s new Park and Park dog park where the event took place this year.
Gathered at town’s newly opened, off-leash dog park, the Sandy Hook Sole Sisters joined the event to show support for their four-legged canine friends. Together, they will train for the team’s second year participating in the two-day, 39-mile Avon Walk for Breast Cancer in New York City in October.
“This is a great opportunity to introduce ourselves to the community and say thanks,” said Jennifer Krucker. “Many of us on the team have dogs, and they certainly help keep us motivated.”
To support Newtown’s Park and Bark efforts, the women registered their dogs for Strutt Your Mutt and assembled dog treat goodie bags for participants. The team and its dogs were dressed in Sandy Hook Sole Sister attire, symbolically blending the Sandy Hook green and white colors with breast cancer pink.
Last year, nearly 20 women from Sandy Hook partnered with approximately 50 “Sole Ryeders” from Rye, N.Y., to participate in the annual Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. Collectively, the full team raised about $140,000 to support breast cancer efforts. Money raised was applied to the $1,800 per participant requirement for the Avon walk and remaining funds were designated to help local breast cancer support efforts such as Ann’s Place in Danbury or the Wig Exchange of Rye.
Last year’s team was mainly mothers from Sandy Hook Elementary school. They accepted the invitation to do the Avon walk with the same women from Rye who had hosted a special Mother’s Day event following 12/14.
The walk offered a way to channel their energy toward something positive in the wake of such a tragedy and to give back to a very special cause affecting both communities. Five of the Sandy Hook Sole Sisters are cancer survivors (four of whom had breast cancer) themselves and others walked in honor or in memory of family or friends who have faced the disease.
Barbara Sibley, one of the newest members of the team, debuted her walking shoes at the Strutt Your Mutt event with her twin sons Stephen and Brian and their family’s goldendoodle dog Toby in tow. “I’m so proud to join these ladies. I followed their journey last year and was so inspired,” Ms Sibley said. “Having lost my own mother this past September to breast cancer, I’m all too aware of the heartache this disease causes. I believe it is efforts like these that will ultimately help give more families more time together.”
In addition to the annual Avon walk in NYC, the Sandy Hook Sole Sisters & Friends are working toward formalizing their organization as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.
The team has officially added “& Friends” to its name in recognition of those joining from beyond Sandy Hook. Last year the team had one member from Florida. This year the team expects to participate in the 2014 Avon Walk for Breast Cancer alongside several of their friends, including ladies from Newtown, Florida, New York, New Jersey, and Texas.
For more information, visit Facebook/SandyHookSoleSisters or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.