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Teamsters Take On Cancer


Breast cancer is the most common cancer among American and Canadian women. For every woman that receives a breast cancer diagnosis, a number of family members, friends and other loved ones are impacted. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and every year, Teamsters from across the U.S. and Canada support breast cancer prevention, research and treatment, in the hopes of one day finding a cure.

In Canada, the Teamsters Quebec Women’s Committee raised $5,555 this October through participating in a 5K walk/run. The funds will go to Teamster members and members’ spouses who are fighting breast cancer and who would like to purchase wigs. Patrice St-Onge, the in-house attorney for Teamsters Local 1999 in Quebec, recently ran a marathon to raise funds.

“We all walked and ran a lot of footsteps to stop cancer,” said Brigitte Sottile, Director of Education for Teamsters Canada.

Teamsters Local 436 participated in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer 5k walk on October 12 at the University of Akron. Fred Crow, Trustee of Local 436 in Valley View, Ohio, said this was the first year the local participated.

“Everyone is excited and we are looking to grow,” Crow said.

Teamsters Local 436 staff and officers took part in the walk to support Ohio Turnpike toll collector and Teamster, Donna Trusky, who will soon celebrate her fifth year of surviving breast cancer.

In Chicago, the Teamsters Joint Council 25 Women’s Committee is inviting all Teamsters and their families to walk in support of the American Cancer Society at the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk on Oct. 25 in Park Ridge, Ill.

Last year, the Teamsters Joint Council 25 Women’s Committee raised $10,000, and approximately 200 walkers participated in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event.

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, more than 6,300 New York City sanitation workers who are members of Teamsters Local 831, are wearing pink ribbons on their uniforms this October.

The Teamster sanitation workers have mothers, sisters and other family members and friends who have battled breast cancer. By wearing the ribbons, they want people to think about breast cancer and are hoping more women will get screened.

“They call our union members the strongest, but the people who really deserve that name are the brave women fighting this terrible disease,” said Harry Nespoli, president of Teamsters Local 831.

At the 2014 Teamsters Women’s Conference held in Chicago this September, Dr. Cathy  Van Poznak, a medical oncologist who treats and researches breast cancer, spoke about her research to a room full of Teamster women, many of whom have been impacted directly by breast cancer.

Dr. Van Poznak is a former Teamster zookeeper who now studies breast cancer and its relationship to the bone, working to prevent, diagnose and treat osteoporosis in women with a history of breast cancer. She also works to maintain bone integrity in women with metastatic breast cancer that has spread to the bone.   

“Early diagnosis of breast cancer matters for survival,” Dr. Van Poznak said.

The Facts on Breast Cancer

If your Joint Council or local union is participating in Breast Cancer Awareness Month and you would like to share your activities, email kdeniz@teamster.org with your photos and information.