Team Boobelahs of Temple Kol Emeth isn’t concerned that its name alone makes people squirm as long as it gets them talking about breast cancer and giving money for research to stop the disease.
That’s what team captain Bonnie Lamberg told the AJT after about 19 breast cancer survivors, their families, friends and supporters, sponsored by the Reform East Cobb synagogue, participated in the Georgia 2-Day Walk for Breast Cancer in Atlanta earlier this month. The Marietta group raised about $16,000 this year, said Lamberg, who chairs the team with Jacklyn Levin. Last year the group, which began about 10 years ago, raised about $24,000.
Past team fundraisers included sales of mammogram cookies in which fluffy filling was squished between two graham crackers. If you’ve ever had the annual breast check, you’ll understand. The group also has sold “Dudes for Boobs” T-shirts.
“Even if it rubs someone wrong or makes them uncomfortable, they’ll reach into their pocket, Lamberg said. “They will talk about breast cancer with one another. It gets a lot of attention We want to keep that communication open. We want to be open to discuss it.”
TKE has allowed the group to promote its cause during Hebrew School and last year, the Men’s Club wore pink to express support at one of its events.
In Georgia, the 2-day walk, Oct. 5-6, raised $1.1 million for breast cancer programs. More than 850 registered walkers, 150 crew members and 100 volunteers participated in the 30-mile route through downtown Atlanta for the 17th annual walk produced by It’s The Journey, Inc. Walkers and volunteers included men and women from 139 cities and towns in Georgia and 16 states.
Lamberg, a hairdresser, has many clients who are breast cancer survivors. “Sometimes I’m called before the family.” They are concerned about losing their hair, Lamberg explained.
Team Boobelahs was part of the Jewish contingency that also included Jennifer Fink and Jody Goldstein, who started A Cure in Our Lifetime nonprofit after meeting in 2015 at the 2-day walk.
A Cure in Our Lifetime, which raises money for breast cancer research, presented a $100,000 award at the walk this year with It’s the Journey and Georgia CORE (Center for Oncology Research and Education) to Dr. Veena Rao of the Morehouse School of Medicine for her research into triple negative breast cancer. In the past, A Cure in Our Lifetime has given the money to It’s The Journey to award, Fink said.
According to the National Cancer Institute, more than 10,000 Georgians are diagnosed with breast cancer each year, and the state has one of the highest rates in the country of death from breast cancer. Since 2003, the Georgia 2-Day Walk for Breast Cancer has raised more than $16 million and awarded 372 grants to breast health and breast cancer programs in the state. These local organizations provide screening, diagnostics, genetic counseling and testing, wellness programs, and breast cancer research.
“Every dollar raised stays here in Georgia and helps our communities; it’s powerful to know that what you’re doing directly helps your neighbors affected by or at risk of breast cancer,” said Stephani Tucker, executive director of It’s The Journey.
The 2019 theme for the walk was “Sea of Pink,” celebrating the collective power of a community coming together to fight breast cancer. This year’s route explored downtown, Kirkwood, Inman Park, the Old Fourth Ward, Reynoldstown, Cabbagetown, as well as the BeltLine. Walkers enjoyed lunch on the lawn of Coan Park, and, along with crew and volunteers, all walked the last half-mile together to the state Capitol to gather at Liberty Plaza for closing ceremonies.