Volume 73, Number 54 | May 12 - 18, 2004

Inspired by friend, Villagers mobilize against cancer

By Jill Stern

Sharon Carr, in bandana, back row, second from left, and the Village People before the start of the recent Revlon Walk/Run for Women

Shannon Carr is a local hero. She is a 37-year-old mother of two who resides in the Village and who has taken a very visible and active part in our children’s sports life. An “athlete of all trades,” she’s involved year-round in various leagues. In the fall, she coaches an intramural soccer team with Downtown United Soccer Club. In winter, she’s got a basketball team with the Jr. Knicks program at the McBurney YMCA. Now, in the springtime, she’s with Greenwich Village Little League. This of course is all volunteer work, done on weekends and nights, when she is not coaching and teaching physical education at her “other job” at St. Ann’s School in Brooklyn.

Carr is one of those special people who is warm, understanding and extremely giving. She is always an inspiration to those who know her. So when she went public with her battle against breast cancer this winter, the Village community pulled together to help her out.

“People have driven me places, cooked dinner for me, taken care of my kids, sat through chemotherapy treatments with me, called and offered to help, and so much more,” Carr said. “The way people have responded to my diagnosis has given me strength and without them I would not be able to be as strong as I have been.”

In the midst of her own struggle with cancer, true to form, she thought of a way she could help a larger community. She asked friends to walk with her in the Revlon Walk/Run for Women to raise money for breast cancer research. Many of her friends responded quickly and registered for the 5K race. Some trained to run at the event.

The prologue to the race lasted a couple of months. Carr assembled the team and took her usual role as leader. She diligently sent weekly e-mails ranging from running tips to donation goals to an early race-day meeting place. She chose a name for our group, aptly calling us Village People, as so many of us reside in Greenwich Village. Donations came in from the community, as well as from co-workers and St. Ann’s families and from several Major League baseball players, including the Yankees’ Kenny Lofton and the Orioles’ Rafael Palmiero.

“As I think about the amount of money we raised, I am heartened not by the amount but by the number of people who donated,” said Carr. (To date, the team has collected over $10,000 for womens’ cancer.)

At 7 a.m. on a recent Saturday morning, 14 Village People gathered at Joe Jr.’s on Sixth Ave. and the corner of 12th St. to get a little something in our stomachs before we hopped on the subway to Times Sq. The crowd was massive at 40,000 participants. “Being surrounded by thousands of people who are affected by cancer is amazing,” said Carr.

We divided into walkers and runners. The runners, Barbara Berger, Beth Dorogusker, Nina Greenberg, Melissa Held, Larry Stern and Shirley Zaragoza, moved to the front of the crowd. Carr walked with Michele Conley, Denver Conley, Laura Kane, Philippa Mayell, Annette Steffen, Arthur Perez, myself and Ana Vidal Kaufman. Perez and Kane attempted dribbling a soccer ball.

Although many participants were wearing signs in memory of loved ones, many others were wearing pink hats. Pink hats are for cancer survivors. In our group alone, two women were wearing pink hats. YES!

Said Carr, afterwards, on the experience: “As I have been going through treatment for breast cancer, I have seen so much beauty, especially beauty in people. I found the same beauty in the Revlon Race. All the people working together in the hope that women’s cancers can be overcome.”

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