Pink warriors help support breast cancer awareness

| 01 Nov 2017 | 12:46

By Christine Urio
— It takes a warrior to raise awareness.
The Pink Warriors is a group of breast cancer survivors, fighters, and supporters who raise money for breast cancer research and support.
Recently, the group sold T-shirts for the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Annual Walk, held in October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, at the Woodbury Common Premium Outlets.
The idea originated when Lauren Friedman, a Monroe-Woodbury High School senior, along with her friend Alyssa Hopkins, decided to start the team to honor their mothers, and all other people affected by breast cancer.
“I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in 2016, and Alyssa's Mom, Angie, was diagnosed in 2013,” said Lauren’s mother Lee Friedman. “Alyssa supported Lauren after having gone through it herself with her mom, and girls came up with the idea together. Alyssa is now away at college, and Lauren and her siblings have continued the tradition.”
One in 12 American womenBreast cancer is a curable disease, and if was not for the support of cancer research in past years, medicine would not be as advanced as it is today and there would not be as many survivors. About one in eight U.S. women, or 12 percent, will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of their lifetime, according to And, about 2,470 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in men in 2017.
“Breast cancer is one of the leading causes of death in females around the world, but they have come a long way over the years all thanks to donations and support,” said Lauren Friedman.
All of the proceeds made by the charitable work of the Pink Warriors have gone to the American Cancer Society (ACS). The local chapter in New Windsor will be receiving a check for $1,148.39 from the team this year.
“Alyssa and I would get together to create the design for the shirt, pick which one we like best, and then advertise pictures of the shirts on social media in hopes that friends and family would buy them,” Lauren Friedman said. “Alyssa’s mom had a past breast cancer team which gave us the shirt ideas, and selling these shirts give us a profit to donate to the ACS.”
Support locally and elsewhereThe shirts were worn the day of the Breast Cancer Walk, and most of the Pink Warriors walked together in a big group down to the outlets after a breakfast tailgate at Central Valley Elementary School.
“We sold shirts in Texas, Long Island, and many students at my son's college, DeSales University in Center Valley, Pa., have bought them,” said Lee Friedman. “The boy's lacrosse team and the girl's field hockey team have been very supportive, and have helped by asking their friends on other teams to purchase shirts.”
Many people came to the Breast Cancer Walk at the Woodbury Commons to walk under the team name, with more than 100 of them being Monroe-Woodbury cheerleaders from the varsity, JV and modified teams.
“The team I cheer on is very supportive of me and my love for doing the right thing,” Lauren said. “My varsity team also helps with fund raising by ordering shirts.”
At the walk, men and women wore stickers showing how many years they have been a breast cancer survivor.
“There have been at least four Monroe-Woodbury varsity cheer moms who have been diagnosed with breast cancer in the last few years, which has had an impact on the team for sure,” said Lee Friedman. “By walking at the annual breast cancer walk, it shows the girls how many people have been affected by this disease, and how many are thriving today.”
Going forward, the Pink Warriors hope to continue their tradition of supporting breast cancer research, and supporting those who are going through it.
“We hope to continue the name of our team and to raise more awareness to this life threatening disease,” Lauren said.
A sense of communityThe Pink Warriors team not only raises awareness, but build a sense of community.
“It is heartwarming to see so many people care for me and my family and our team which supports and represents everyone who has gone through this,” Lee Friedman said. “Unfortunately, no one is immune from getting this disease; how you deal with it is instrumental in enjoying life and family.”
Lauren Friedman agrees that the community was essential in helping her cause.
“People who know me and my family over the years purchased shirts, and they remember you, and want to support this important cause,” she said. “It’s nice to have as much support as we’ve been getting—people from around the country have purchased shirts which in turn made a donation to breast cancer research.”
'To vent ... to hear the positives'Lee Friedman hopes to start a breast cancer support group in Monroe.
“I haven't figured out logistics yet, but would love to give people the opportunity to get together and just talk, vent and share happy stories, because we need to live our lives, and I think survivors need to hear about the positives,” she added. “Some people cannot or will not ask for help, but there is always a need, so if you know someone going through breast cancer or any illness, call or text them, and just say hi, drop off a meal or send a gift card for those days they just cannot cook for their family. It will go a long way.”
For more information, the Pink Warriors have a Facebook page which will be continually updated.