The Independence Care System team (ICS) was founded in 2008. Last year, it had 50 members, raising $1,800.

“We created a team to advocate for access to mammography for women with physical disabilities,” said team captain Marissa Kaplan. Women with physical disabilities have more barriers to screening, are diagnosed later than their peers and have a higher incidence of breast cancer mortality. “Being part of the Komen NYC Race for the Cure raises awareness of this underserved population and galvanizes our community to keep addressing these barriers,” she explained.

ICS operates a nonprofit Medicaid-managed long-term care plan in New York. Its services are specifically designed to assist Medicaid- and nursing home-eligible adults with physical disabilities and chronic illnesses. The organization works to help coordinate members’ health and social service needs so they can live independently and participate fully in community life.

The team is made up of ICS members, staff, families and friends. It also includes other disability groups, like the United Spinal Association. Four team members are breast cancer survivors. One pushes an empty wheelchair, draped in black, in memory of all the women who were unable to have access to mammograms.

The ICS team recruits new members through outreach events, staff at ICS meetings and member social groups. Its most successful fundraising technique is using Facebook.

Breast cancer has no boundaries. “Women with disabilities are even more vulnerable because of screening barriers,” said Kaplan. “That’s why this year we’re inviting all people with physical disabilities to join the ICS team. We’re hoping to be out in force to help celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Komen NYC Race for the Cure.”

If you’re physically challenged and want to be part of the Race on September 12, join the ICS team. To become a member, contact Marissa Kaplan at 212-420-6661 or

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