Numbers mean a lot to Patti Fennessy Novy ’89. She has 0 tolerance for breast cancer, which claimed the life of 1 sister-in-law and struck 3 close friends. She would do anything so her 2 daughters don’t have to face the disease.
But the numbers she is proudest of add up to one huge accomplishment — 320 miles walked by Patti and 500 miles by Noreen Moloney ’90 and more than $500,000 raised for breast cancer research.
The Alpha Sigma Chi sisters have led a team in the New York City Avon Breast Cancer Walk since 2004, the year after the disease claimed the life of Michele, the sister of Patti’s husband, David Novy ’89.
Little by little, their team — the Wellness Warriors — grew in numbers and fundraising prowess. At the October 2011 walk, they passed a landmark. Their eight-year team total is $582,824. They placed third for fundraising the last two years, out of more than 300 teams.
Patti and Noreen are proudest that their team, which numbers between 30 and 40 walkers each year, raised their money without any corporate sponsorships. They work all year to accomplish their goal, with fundraisers at a local bowling alley, a Super Bowl pool, a comedy show and a bartending night at a local establishment.
When walk weekend comes each fall, they join 4,000 other participants for a two-day 40-mile trek through New York City.
“We walk because we can,” says Patti. “A lot of people can’t.”
“A walk is easy compared to what a cancer patient has to go through,” says Noreen, whose mother is a breast cancer survivor. “It’s my way of giving back and helping others — just a chance to make a difference.”
The friends realize that finding the cure to one cancer is the key to curing all cancers. And having reached a half-million dollar milestone, Patti has another goal. “I don’t want to walk forever,” she says. “I would love it if I never had to do again, because that would mean we have a cure.”