We are the ‘Sandy Hook Sole Sisters’. Around Mother's Day of this year, a group of Moms from Rye, NY invited the Moms of Sandy Hook Elementary School CT to spend the day with them at Rye Beach. We had the most wonderful day where we got to relax or take part in all sorts of fun exercise classes. Every Sandy Hook Mom was paired up with a Rye Mom and if there ever was a case of "you meet as strangers and part as friends" this was it! It happened over and over again on this memorable day. At the end of this day together, a bench was dedicated to all the families of Sandy Hook School with the inscription "We Choose Love". Bonds formed quickly and hugs and tears were shared as the buses departed at the end of the day.
One of the many connections that occurred during this special day was the discovery that several moms with young children from both communities have been struggling with a diagnosis of breast cancer. Sandy Samberg, a Rye mom and founder of Sole Ryeders, and Adrian Dandrea a Sandy Hook mom who was undergoing treatment for breast cancer and her friend Kat Young came up with the idea to join forces and together do the 39 mile Avon Walk for Breast Cancer in New York City on October 19th & 20th, 2013 as one team. Two communities, initially connected through the desire by Rye moms to show support for Sandy Hook moms, are now working together to help support a cause that has impacted both communities and so many others. Together we will train, encourage each other and bond through the experience while doing our part to give back and help make the world a better place.
Rye has a volunteer-driven charitable organization called Sole Ryeders & Friends that provides and supports local cancer-related programs. Many of its volunteers were in the group of women who were ‘buddies’ at the Sandy Hook event. While Sole Ryeders does a wide variety of activities, its anchor event is entering a team into the 39 mile Avon Walk for Breast Cancer in NYC each October. The team started in 2007 and Sole Ryeders has raised over $1.3m for the Avon Foundation and several local cancer-related causes since then. Many of the members of the Sandy Hook Sole Sisters sponsored a grass roots 5K Breast Cancer walk. The effort raised nearly $3,300 in donations with 100% of the proceeds going to Ann's Place, The Home of I Can. This Danbury, CT agency proivdes comfort and support to people living with cancer and their loved ones. We are exicted that Ann's Place in Danbury, CT will be one of this year's local organizations that will receive funding as a result of our efforts!
Our community is in the arduous process of healing from the traumatic events of 12-14. This walk experience has the potential to be therapeutic in many ways. Exercise, friendship and giving back have all been shown to assist with emotional healing. It is our hope that the entire walk experience will help us continue to heal and that it will create lifelong memories for all who are involved. It's a powerful connection between two communities who are choosing love and taking concrete steps to move forward in a positive way.