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NY Stop & Shop Striders
Making Strides Against Breast Cancer of Long Island, New York

It often takes just one person to spur a movement into motion. Just three years ago, a Stop & Shop store manager in Long Island, New York, saw an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of her family, neighbors, customers, and colleagues by forming a team for her local American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event. Today, she is joined by more than 500 Stop & Shop team members in raising funds to save lives from breast cancer.

When store manager Debbe Mistretta attended a Making Strides kickoff breakfast in 2008, she was inspired to get involved. She decided to hold a Making Strides fundraiser in her Stop & Shop store, and asked her District Director, Robert Hempson, for approval on the idea. He said yes but only if she agreed to expand her efforts to include all Stop & Shop stores on Long Island. With that challenge ahead of her, Debbe took on a new leadership role and formed the Stop & Shop Striders team.

She soon found that fighting breast cancer struck a chord with Stop & Shop associates and the Long Island community at large. Through conference calls and presentations, Debbe built enthusiasm among her colleagues. All over Long Island, other associates began to brainstorm ideas on how to raise money. Colleagues Colleen Camoglino, Vickie Dolan-Atkinson, Linda Perrone, and Sue Sweeny all joined Debbe in coordinating the team's fundraising efforts. Soon the team members' competitive nature took hold, and the race was on to see who could raise the most funds.

The Stop & Shop team's competitive nature has certainly paid off. Each year the team has surpassed its goal. In its first year, the team set out to raise $10,000 - and raised more than $16,000. In 2009, the team set its goal at $25,000 and again surpassed it, raising more than $43,000 and became a Flagship sponsor. This past year, the team set its goal at $50,000 and raised more than $56,000, earning it the title of a Making Strides National Top 20 Team.

The key to Stop & Shop's fundraising success lies in the team's creativity and wide variety of fundraising events. Stores have sold raffle tickets to win donated items ranging from bicycles and coolers to Making Strides duffel bags, and associates have held bake sales, hot dog sales, and car washes. The Amityville, NY, store even entertained an audience with an American Idol-type singing contest, asking singers and judges for a donation to participate. Sixteen Stop & Shop stores participated last year in the company's 1st annual softball tournament which raised more than $1,000 . Also last year, more than 100 associates participated in Stop & Shop's third annual bowling fundraiser in memory of Diana Vnook, an assistant store manager who lost her battle with cancer. The Stop & Shop Striders' enthusiasm and passion for fighting breast cancer has reached the company's corporate headquarters, which presented the team with a donation of $15,000 in 2010.

Team leaders say they are inspired to push themselves to do more because they know their efforts are helping fund the American Cancer Society's work to help people stay well and get well, to find cures, and to fight back against breast cancer all of which helps more people celebrate more birthdays.

"From one person's vision and commitment to today, when we have more than 500 walkers participating on our team, the Stop & Shop Striders will continue to be relentless in our efforts to raise money, to support those in need, and to find a cure," Robert Hempson, District Director, says.

Every dollar you raise for Making Strides Against Breast Cancer helps the American Cancer Society save lives. Form a team and aim high your team could become the next Making Strides National Top 20 Team!


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