The T-birds was founded in 2006 by stage 3 breast cancer survivor Theresa Lana. It had 23 members and raised $6,000. Last year, the team had more than 100 members and raised $49,000; Lana ranked #9 in individual fundraising. This year, the team has already raised $17,400.

Lana started the team believing that “If I can change the fate of one woman — whether physically or emotionally — empower her and make her feel that she is not alone, my diagnosis will not have been in vain.” Her own personal battle with the disease was fought with the support of friends and family, who helped her get through her ordeal with dignity and courage.

T-birds is a “mom and pop” grassroots team made up of compassionate, focused women, men and children committed to doing their share to fund and find the cures. “We proudly walk besides each other in Central Park to raise money for Komen Greater NYC,” she said. Breast cancer has affected every aspect of Lana’s life and the lives of many of her team members. They all feel vulnerable to the disease, because it has no “favorites.” Explained Lana, “It can strike any women or man, young or old, people with genetic predisposition or not — at any time.”

Lana has built the team through networking. She uses Facebook, emails, phone calls and the Komen Greater NYC website. She also sends out a “save the date” card with information about the after-Race party, which includes brunch, a raffle, goody bags and more. Lana works to build enthusiasm so people will want become team members. She lets themknow how much fun the Race is and appeals to their competitive spirit.

Her favorite Race memory is finishing the Race each year. “As we walk across the finish line, we are all smiling and crying,” she explained. “We know that we’ve made a difference for all women and their families who have had breast cancer. We hope we have touched their lives.”

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