They made it: Source of the Healing Arts team raised $25,000 for breast cancer research

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:59

WARICK-They were tired and sore, yet rejuvenated and hopeful all at the same time. The Source of the Healing Arts team walked throughout Manhattan on Oct. 1 and 2, raising both money and awareness for breast cancer. “We were pretty spent,” said Barbara Priestner-Werte, owner of The Source and one member of the team that made the trip. “But it was well worth it.” Priestner-Werte was accompanied by Deborah Kantor, Jodi Santangelo, Charlotte Marggraff, Joie Ogrodnick, Kimberly Perugini, and Judy Susler Schneeberg. Judith Rae Davis was set to walk — she trained with the others but broke her ankle before the walk. The course began at South Street Seaport, wound its way through the financial district, past Ground Zero, up the west side, under the George Washington Bridge to Fort Tryon Park. That leg of the walk was 13 miles, half of the required distance. Santangelo, Kantor, and Marggraff actually walked a full marathon that first day, then an additional 13 miles the next. “I am proud to have made so small an effort in scale to such an enormously devastating threat to women,” said Kantor. “Being actively involved with the fight against breast cancer for the past five years has been an amazing experience and I will continue to fight for a cure for years to come,” added Santangelo after her 36-mile trek. Sunday’s walk took the women from Randall’s Island on the east side through Chinatown, across the Manhattan Bridge, back across the Brooklyn Bridge to the South Street Seaport. “It was a beautiful weekend and a great course,” said Priestner-Werte. But the purpose of the walk was a constant companion to her. “I’m afraid I have quite a circle of people that I really care about who are breast cancer survivors,” she said. “We are seeing younger and younger women coming in for treatment.” One of them was Lori Mattingly, a young mother of three small children who lost her courageous battle with breast cancer in February. The Source team walked in memory of Mattingly, who Priestner-Werte called “an inspiration to all who had the privilege of spending time with her.” The goal, she said, is to get information out there, to get people to be aware of what they should be doing, like monthly self-breast examination. “Many people are diagnosed through self exam or a doctor’s exam,” said Priestner-Werte. “The first line of defense is regular self breast exams.” The numbers are both staggering and frightening. One in nine women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime, the second leading cause of death for women between the ages of 40 and 55. And everyone is at risk. Family history may cause you to pay closer attention, but breast cancer doesn’t have to run in the family to strike. “Women with cancer have choices here in addition to traditional medicine,” said Lisa Wolff, who practices acupressure at The Source. The professionals at The Source work with physicians to combine complementary health care options with traditional or conventional medicine. The program, which include integrative psychotherapy, acupressure, therapeutic massage yoga, stress management, art and music therapy, and meditation, among others, is recognized by the American Cancer Society and is the only one available in Orange County. “We provide an integrated program for those living with and beyond cancer,” said Priestner-Werte. “I don’t know of any other in the area outside of New York City. We’re pretty proud of it.” In all, 2,700 men and women walked through Manhattan three weeks ago and collectively raised more than $7 million for the cause. “It was a life-changing weekend. I was honored with the cause, personalization, connections, commitment, endurance that we somehow found,” said Ogrodnick. “Acquaintances became friends as hearts connected. We laughed, we shared, we talked, we walked, we even sometimes cried for our blessings and the loss of those dear to us.” And while Priestner-Werte and her teammates had enough incentive to walk the marathon before they even set out on the journey, they found much more along the way. “On the second day, my feet were quite blistered and sore,” she said. “I was walking behind a woman who was obviously a recent survivor. This walk took a lot out of me, a relatively healthy person. Imagine her courage. She was inspirational to me.” And there is other inspiration. “I walked for my daughter,” added Priestner-Werte, referring to her four-year-old. “I sincerely hope we can have this taken care of before she has to deal with it.” The Source team is hoping to increase the size of the team and the donations for next year. “We already have eight people committed for next year. We’re looking for a larger team,” she said. “If we could raise $25,000 with eight people, imagine what we can do with a bigger team.” For more information on The Source of the Healing Arts, log on to or call 986-1977. The team is still accepting donations to the Avon Breast Cancer Walk.