West Orange—When a friend or loved one is suffering, what is the best way to help? Some bring flowers, some send cards, some bring food or chicken soup, and some offer to help care for that friend’s children. When Sandy Small’s close friend was diagnosed with breast cancer five years ago, she decided that she would organize a team in her friend’s honor to participate in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.
Along with a number of other West Orange breast cancer survivors and their families, Team Dale was born, along with its slogan, “One Step at a Time for a Cure.” In the pouring rain, more than 40 West Orange residents took a bus from Dale Drive to the Race site, proudly wearing t-shirts with their new slogan, along with pink headbands and water bottles. The participants ran or walked the 5K path, with survivors who needed a shorter distance able to use the “Survivor Path.” After successfully completing the Race, Team Dale celebrated with brunch and immediately decided that Team Dale should become a staple at the annual Race.
The following year, the Race was moved to its current West Orange location. The morning starts with a run, followed by a walk for those who need or want it. Team Dale has members who run at 8 am, then return to walk with the entire group. The morning always ends with a Team photo.
There is still a bus that runs between Dale Drive and the Race site, and that bus transports the entire Team home together after the Race. As the years have passed, the Team has become a community event, rather than just survivors, their families and Dale Drive residents. The survivors wear pink shirts and all others wear white t-shirts identifying themselves as part of the Team.
“There is a real camaraderie. We are going to support our friends who we have seen start with the Survivor Path, then graduate to walking the main path part way, then walking the entire path, and finally running the whole thing. It’s unbelievably inspiring,” said Small. “Family and friends are united. I love doing it.”
This year the Race will be held on May 3. All are welcome.
By Jill Kirsch