Posted October 26, 2012
Top: Toni's Team at this year's Susan G. Komen Race for
the Cure in Albany. Bottom: Toni Lyng (left) and team
captain Gracene Sirianno.
Cancer has an effect on everyone.
Whether you are the one who has been diagnosed
with it, or you’re a parent, a spouse, a son or daughter, a relative
or friend, you know of someone who has been diagnosed with it.
In March of 2010, Shaker Junior High School
English teacher Toni Lyng was diagnosed with breast cancer. While
the news was devastating, it didn’t stop those close to her,
including former SJHS teacher Gracene Sirianno from organizing a
team in her honor, dedicated to raising money for the Susan G. Komen
And so Toni’s Team was born, captained
by Sirianno and SJHS teacher Christina Froehlich and consisting of
Toni’s family, friends and district colleagues. Over the past three
years, they have participated in the Susan G. Komen Race for the
Cure, raising thousands of dollars for breast cancer research. SJHS
has also organized other fundraisers throughout the school,
including a Wear Pink Day in her honor.
“As a member of Toni's Team, we are
each playing a part in helping Susan G. Komen for the Cure end
breast cancer forever,” Sirianno said. “So many of us have been
touched by this terrible illness. Each day we hear of someone new
that has gotten the diagnoses. Together, we are fueling the best
science, boldest community and biggest impact in the fight against
breast cancer. And we will not stop until this disease is gone
forever. That’s our promise.”
In September 2010, Toni received her last round
of chemotherapy and was considered cancer free.
The form of cancer that Toni had is called
Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC). This type of cancer effects
younger women and is the most aggressive and least predictable
subtype. TNBC is insensitive to some of the most effective therapies
available for breast cancer treatment.
“It just frustrates me that this cancer is
considered so rare and that not a lot of data is out there to
support which treatments work the best,” Toni said.
Unfortunately, the return rate is very high and
in May 2012, Toni was diagnosed for a second time.
This year, Toni set a goal of raising $2,000,
but she had no choice but to increase that number due to the amazing
support and response from Toni’s Team. Toni alone raised over
$6,525, and Toni’s Team raised over $8,200 for breast
cancer education, screening and research locally. A portion of the
money raised also goes to what they call groundbreaking research,
which is extremely important to the research for TNBC.
In total, teachers throughout the district
raised about $10,000 for the Susan G. Komen foundation; something
Toni is extremely thankful and proud of.
Since May she has received radiation treatments
and surgery, and is once again, considered cancer free. Every three
months, she goes for a scan to make sure it has not returned as it
is of a very aggressive nature.
“It’s just incredible,” she said. “It means
everything to me and to so many others. So many people think breast
cancer is not so bad anymore, but that couldn’t be farther from the
truth. They are still using many of the same treatments that were
being used 20 years ago when my aunt had it. There’s just so much
more research that can be done and efforts like these make me so
If you would like to donate to Toni’s Team,
you can visit her team’s webpage here.