A total of seventy-two women walked with Adele Unger, a Sandy Hook mom and sales manager of our Newtown and Danbury brokerages, and Pati Holmes, a veteran Sole Ryeder and sales manager of our Rye brokerage, during the 39-mile Avon Walk for Breast Cancer on October 18-19 in New York City. (They were the largest team in the walk!) Adele says, “It was an amazing event, with over 3,000 walkers coming from all over America. People were so supportive, every few miles there was a rest-stop with snacks and medical facilities. A group of teenagers were at each rest stop cheering us on, traffic people were at every intersection dressed up in crazy outfits with pink hair and all sorts of interesting attire, smiling and encouraging us to keep walking.” The Sole Ryeders are a Rye-based group of supportive women who do charitable acts around the community, and the Sole Sisters are a group of 17 Sandy Hook mothers who have created a collective similar to the Sole Ryeders. The two groups recently worked together to fundraise to support the fight against breast cancer, and participate in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer.
The Sandy Hook mothers needed to raise a total of $28,000 to participate in the walk, and William Pitt and Julia B. Fee Sotheby’s International Realty were able to raise over $17,000 of the funds needed, allowing the Sandy Hook moms to focus on their families and give back. Pati explains that “without donations from our agents, many of the Sole Sisters would not have had the once-in-a-lifetime experience of the walk. They are rebuilding their school, mending their community and most importantly, helping their families with ongoing emotional stress. Fundraising for entry to the walk was not possible without help. This dynamic group of women (the Sandy Hook Sole Sisters) did everything from tag sales to jewelry parties and was enormously successful in fundraising, but it wouldn’t have been possible without the help of our Sotheby’s offices.” Adele says, “I can’t express how proud I am of our contribution, there just aren’t words to fully express.” Pati recalls, “Sandy Samberg (the founder and coordinator of Sole Ryeders and Sole Sisters) standing on stage with all of the Sandy Hook walkers and announced that we (Sole Ryeders and Soles Sisters combined) raised over $200,000 this year for the fight against breast cancer. “Everyone on stage was in tears and the audience was in awe of what we accomplished!”
Adele expresses the bond that she felt with the other women on this moving weekend. “Everyone was excited for the days to come, laughing and telling stories.” But the most moving aspect of the weekend seemed to be during the opening dinner. A slideshow of past participants and speeches were given; cancer survivors spoke, and even children who lost their mothers to the battle were sharing. There were tears, hugs and a newfound sense of community, hope and love from all participants.
Pati and Adele express how this event affected them personally
As a former participant of the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, Pati explains why this year’s event was even more emotionally rewarding than the years before. Pati has close ties to the Sandy Hook mothers, so she understands the pain associated with December 14, 2012. She says that “the Sandy Hook women were an inspiration to all other walkers as they shared their experience of last year. Instead of discussing events of that horrific day, they told walkers from around the globe how meaningful it was to have others stand up for them during their time of need. They wanted to pay-it-forward and the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, the Wig Exchange and Ann’s Place, in Danbury, CT, were some of the recipients of their good will. Personally, the walk was a way of conveying strength of women and exemplifying solidarity of a cause. The Sandy Hook Sole Sisters epitomized both.”
Adele tells her story and her reasons for being such a strong advocate of events like the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. “This was a rewarding experience because it was my way of giving back to a world that was so supporting of my community. I had tears in my eyes as we walked across the finish line. I am a Hodgkin’s Lymphoma survivor. I was pronounced cured 10 years ago. If I had this same diagnosis 30 years ago, I would not be here today, but with all of the recent research advancement it is up to a 95% cure rate. Walking across the finish line, I was thinking of all the people I knew who have lost their battle to breast cancer, and the ones I know who have fought the fight and are in remission, or have had a scare. The funds raised from this walk will go to help those in their battle, help with detection, and fund research that will hopefully find a cure soon.“
It was a great experience for all who walked and supported. In total all participants of the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer have raised $6.7 million to advance access to care and find a cure for breast cancer.
View photos from the walk here.