Team Sharsheret

True Endurance

On November 2nd, 2014 I will be competing in the New York City Marathon. But this blog is not about me; it is much bigger.

Since taking on the challenge to race in the New York City Marathon for Team Sharsheret, I have received the utmost support from all over. Of course, my family and close friends have done an amazing job to encourage me. Be that as it may, I have been most humbled when less familiar hands have reached out: previous bosses, a former landlord who is now halfway around the world, and perfect strangers at my local dog park - who knows, maybe even you will after reading this!

This type of experience has illustrated just how widespread the effects of breast cancer and ovarian cancer is in my life. Many people along the way have told me that I am an inspiration to them; however, for me, it is quite the inverse.

In one such instance, the mother of one of my best friends reached out to me after she watched a marathon update video I had posted earlier that day. What she had to say blew my mind. “I had cancer and I had a choice on how I was going to deal with this disease. I did what I had to do…. You don’t have to do this in order to survive and that is what makes you so amazing!”

Wow! She reminds me what true endurance is. Whenever I think about walking a mile in the shoes of someone like her, 26.2 miles doesn’t seem so tough.

Please comment and let me know what you would like me to write about next entry! If you are feeling inspired, you can also visit my donation page here:

Why I Ran: A Team Sharsheret Athlete’s Story

As all greDevorah Katzat adventures do, this one started on Facebook and a post by Rochelle Shoretz, the Founder of Sharsheret, about running the NYC Half Marathon. In an instant, when some of the best decisions are made, I hopped on the band wagon and said, “I should run in honor of my 40th birthday.” And there began a journey so powerful it will move me for years to come.

Sharsheret stands for so many things: strength, determination, happiness, sadness, loss, education, advancement, belief, and friendship. In all of that, we cannot forget that Sharsheret literally means chain or link. Apropos, that while I am not a survivor of or battling breast cancer, every single one of the mentioned attributes of Sharsheret applies to me. It all felt right, from creating a page to raise money for a cause so dear to my heart to crossing the finish line into the arms of my silent mentor and a woman who means so much to me and stands for the very strength we all encompass, yet do not all tap into.

There I was Sunday morning, freezing just a little and alone in my corral. The beauty and tranquility of New York City’s Central Park, even surrounded by 25,000 runners, was overwhelming, and the tears flowed. I was a week from turning 40. I had overcome many obstacles in my life and lost close to 100 pounds. I had shed a belittling shell that had overshadowed my whole sense of self and I was about to run 13.1 miles. That’s right: 8 months ago I could not walk up a hill and now I was dressed head to toe in pink, representing breast cancer survivors and those who have yet to learn of their battle.  And I was going to do it, determined to outrun the sweeper bus.

Not prepared for what came next is an understatement. Mile one, mile two, mile six and a promise of coming out of Central Park and on to flat terrain. As I entered mile 12 - and believe me when I tell you that my legs were back at mile 4 - I had a new power on my side: Belief, the belief that no matter what happened, I would cross the finish line. I would cross the line not just for me, although this will always be one of my greatest achievements. I completed sore and exhausted in 3 hours and 16 minutes for Team Sharsheret. I was a part of something bigger than me, more intense than I can fully comprehend and it will remain one of the proudest days of my life.

To join Team Sharsheret for the 2014 NYC Marathon on Sunday, November 2nd, visit:

Running For All the Mommies

There are certain moments in life that you can forever replay in your mind as if they just happened. One of these was the moment I found out my mother had cancer. I was nine years old and until then the only knowledge I had of the word “cancer” was from family members who had lost their battles. So many memories started in that one moment and spanned over the next few years including chemo visits, surgeries and the night my mom shaved her head. From that one moment grew a feeling that existed in my house during the time my mother was ill – a feeling that was present while she fought each battle and won the war to become the first survivor in our family.

My mother was 33 years old when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. At the time, I was nine, my brother was three and my sister was one. Although I had some understanding of what was going on, my siblings were too young to comprehend why mommy couldn’t do certain things. We were a very young family whose time was filled with school, learning to walk and planning an upsherin (Jewish haircutting ceremony). But each day, no matter how sick or sore my mother felt, she showered, put on clothes and make-up and was ready to greet us when we came home from school. She talked to me about my day and sat at the dinner table. I think it was only years later as a teen looking at an old picture that it really dawned on me how sick my mother had been. Back then there was no Sharsheret to connect with peers going through what we were going through or help families talk to their children about breast cancer. When I learned about Sharsheret, my first thought was “Wow, these survivors and families have each other! What a gift.”

When I found the “Run Like A Diva 5K Race” I decided to do it with Team Sharsheret. I wanted to do it for all the kids who are trying to understand what their mommies are going through and for all the mommies who are showering and putting on make-up before their kids get home.

As always we plan and Gd laughs. About a month into my training I found out I was pregnant. I thought “I've never even run 3 miles so how am I going to do it 5 months pregnant?” Then I just laughed at myself. If the whole point of doing this run was to honor my mother's strength and that of other survivors there was NO WAY I was not going to do a simple 3 mile run.

So on November 3rd, one week after the 20th anniversary of my mother's mastectomy, I ran 3 miles as the mother of three children and five months pregnant with my fourth. I raised $1,400 for Sharsheret in honor of everyone affected by breast cancer but especially my mother who never let us know how sick she really was and taught me what it means to be a survivor. I am proud to support Sharsheret who makes it possible to no longer have to fight the war alone.

Meet Our Marathon Athletes

Meet our incredible Team Sharsheret athletes who will be running the ING NYC Marathon on Sunday.  Click on each athlete’s name to read their stories and find out why they joined Team Sharsheret!

Jonathan Blinken
Sarah Feit
Steven Gottlieb
Daniella Kohlhagen
Ilana Milstein
Eve Merrill
Tammie Purow
Beri Schwitzer
Mark Segall
Renana Silverman
Alain Spira
Jamie Tadelis
Andrew Wigod

Two Half-Marathons For One Great Cause!

Meet our incredible Team Sharsheret athletes who will be running the NYC Half-Marathon and the Germantown, TN Half-Marathon on Sunday, March 17th.  Click on each athlete’s name to read their stories and find out why they joined Team Sharsheret!



Dana Adler
Cynthia Bernstein
Tamar Blumenthal
Catherine Brown
Idan Elkon
Benito Esquenazi
Aline Friedman
Ed Joyce & Kayla Joyce
Yoni Lazarus
Deb Leipzig
Jennifer Miller
Rabbi Steven Moskowitz
Naomi Robbins
Eitan Prince
Bracha Rutner
Lisa Silvershein
Azadeh Stark
Carrie Okay Veingrad
Renee Wietschner
Marc Waldman
Hillary Wasserman


Aileen Cooper
Daniel Gofman
Shmuel Gordon
Abe Raichman
Betzalel Rosenwasser
Lee Schwartz
Shayna Somer
Shmuel Somer
Moshe Weiser
Ben Younger


Meet our Team Sharsheret ING NYC Marathon Athletes: Scott Bader and Jonathan Blinken

I had always told myself when I was deciding to run a marathon that I want it to be something more than a race, more than just training to run 26.2 miles.  I wanted to use this opportunity to help others.  By doing this it would give my running more meaning.  There are many reasons why I wanted to raise money for Sharsheret in particular.  Recently I ran my third ½ marathon with my friend Ethan Wasserman.  Ethan lost his first wife to breast cancer.  She was in her early thirties when she died not long after having her second child.  I will always remember how giving Michelle Daman Wasserman was.  I remember standing by her graveside and telling myself that it is important to keep a part of her character alive inside of me.  She had a way of touching the people around her.  October will be the seven year anniversary of her passing and I can think of no better way of celebrating who she was by raising money for an organization that was there for her.  The best part I am not alone.  I will be running the marathon side by side with Ethan as we both raise money for Sharsheret.
Another reason I want to raise money for Sharsheret is that I recognized how important it is to get support when you are a young Jewish woman fighting breast cancer.  One of my inspirations for running is my sister.  Often on long training runs when I feel like giving up, I think of how much will power she has demonstrated in her fight against breast cancer.  I have seen how having supportive people around her who she can turn to for help has made a big difference in her journey.  Luckily things have been going well, but it is still a struggle.

The last reason why I run and raise money is because I know too much.  Being a pediatrician I have seen how breast cancer can affect families, especially children.  With my medical background I understand what it means to have a family history of breast cancer.  I have four dear daughters and breast cancer runs in my family.  

I know I am not special.  Almost everyone has been touched by breast cancer, whether it is a family member, friend or co-worker.  Even though I may not be special, sometimes ordinary people can do amazing things.  So I hope to do two, run the New York City Marathon and raise money for Sharsheret.  It is my turn to give back.


In 2011, I had the privilege of participating in the NYC Triathlon for Team Sharsheret. The personal sense of physical accomplishment of this event, my first Olympic distance triathlon, was eclipsed by the knowledge that everyone on Team Sharsheret, and their generous sponsors contributed their time, resources, sweat and emotion to such a vital cause. In doing so, they made a lasting difference to so many people.

Sharsheret’s mission is to give support to women and their families who are facing breast and ovarian cancer. This year I decided to up the ante combine two grueling races to support the women and families Sharsheret helps. I will compete as part of Team Sharsheret on September 9th, in the Tough-Man Half Ironman race in Westchester,
NY and on November 4th I will run the ING NYC Marathon.

I look at it this way; what these mothers, daughters, grandmothers, granddaughters and sisters endure during their fight is way more than the pain of any race.

Every mile of both these races will be infused with the knowledge that we are all making a tangible difference. That we are giving comfort to a mother of young children, advice to a father whose wife is in physical and emotional pain, inspiration to family members and encouraging all who are affected by breast and ovarian cancer.

Please join me in making a difference to the husbands, children, parents, siblings and friends whose, mother, daughter, sister, or granddaughter is facing the fight of their life. Please join me in creating awareness so people know the great things Sharsheret does for so many. Please join me in the race so that we do not run in memory of but in honor of...

On behalf of the women and families that Sharsheret helps and my team mates, thank you
for your generous contribution.

In gratitude,

We Did It!

Erica Berthou
Deborah Greenstein
Joel Matalon

Congratulations to Team Sharsheret's first Ironman athletes, who took on an enormous challenge last weekend at the U.S. Ironman Championship NY/NJ. Our amazing athletes completed a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, and 26.2 mile run!  We are so proud of their personal accomplishments and grateful for their incredible efforts in raising awareness about Sharsheret's programs and services.

Do you or someone you know want to swim, bike, and run with Team Sharsheret? We have slots for the Aquaphor NYC Triathlon on July 14, 2013! Join us for a 1,500 meter swim in the Hudson River, 40k bike ride on the West Side Highway, and 10k run through Central Park to the finish line. E-mail for more information and to get your slot today.

Meet Team Sharsheret US Ironman Triathlon Champion Joel Matalon

Tammy Bryk, a beloved client and friend told me about Sharsheret, an organization supporting young Jewish women and their families of all backgrounds, facing breast cancer.  This year Sharsheret offered coveted spots for the first ever 2012 Ironman US Championship NY/NJ race.  Instead of securing my own slot, I have chosen to join Team Sharsheret and make what I love to do more meaningful - RACING while raising money to help others.  I listened to Tammy, a committed Sharsheret volunteer, because she is a constant inspiration to me.  Together, Tammy and I successfully completed the 2010 ING Miami Marathon.  When I think of her energy and enthusiasm I am motivated to keep pushing even harder. 

Over the past 16 years I have primarily raced outside of NY.  I've done the 2010 Ironman in Canada, 2008 Ironman Kentucky, and 7 other triathlons.  I've ran 17 marathons in the United States, Canada,South America  and Europe.  I plan on competing in marathons in Detroit, Michigan, in Hamburg, Germany, and Tel Aviv, Israel.  I'm most interested in the Ironman US Championship NY/NJ so that my supporters can come out and watch me race and put Chi Running, the running method that I teach to clients all around the world to practice, for all to see.

Please support me by adopting at least a mile of the swimming, biking and running that I must complete for the 2012 Ironman US Championship NY/NJ.  Help me reach each of  the 140.6 miles and reach my personal goal of raising $14,060 to support Sharsheret’s programs and services that they provide at no cost to thousands reaching out to Sharsheret for support.  Any and all donations are much appreciated.

Meet Team Sharsheret US Ironman Triathlon Champion Erica Berthou

It is an absolute honor to be a part of Team Sharsheret.  Rochelle Shoretz is a former colleague, friend, and truly inspirational person.  Sharsheret’s selfless commitment to helping those in need is amazing and I couldn’t think of a better organization to race for!

Every year I make challenges not resolutions.  This was the year that the ironman adventure became a reality.  Ever since my brother competed in his first ironman in China in 2009, I have wanted to emulate his example.  We normally compete together as a team and we spur each other on.  However, this year he will be cheering me on from the sidelines.  I’m so excited even though this will not be easy, but challenges are not suppose to be easy, right?

In the last two years I have done 3 marathons, 1 100K ultra marathon, 1 tough mudder competition and other adventure races.  This competition will bring a new chapter in my extreme sports experience.

Being raised in the northern part of Sweden I was never taught how to swim freestyle.  So to improve, I have been taking crash courses in swimming.  Added to that I spent most of my childhood riding horses and competeing in show jumping.  The learning curve has been steep thus far.

I look forward to competing in Team Sharsheret’s colors.  Please support my efforts to get to the finish and contribute to Sharsheret’s programs and services.


Meet Team Sharsheret US Ironman Triathlon Champion Deborah Greenstein

I am a granddaughter of a woman with breast-cancer, a friend of women with breast-cancer, a step-daughter of a woman who died from ovarian cancer, and a woman with her own history of biopsies and breast-cancer scares. Women's cancers have touched so many people in my life.  This year, with the help of Team Sharsheret and in honor of all of those women, I will take on one of the greatest challenges of my life.

I competed in my first triathlon over 20 years ago.  Since then, I've competed in sprint and Olympic-distance triathlons, as well as everything from 5k's to trail races on snow, to half-marathons, to bike road races, and everything in between. This summer, I am undertaking my next great challenge to compete in my first US Ironman Championship and on behalf of Team Sharsheret.  Training, preparing and completing the race as part of Team Sharsheret makes this endeavor a significantly more meaningful experience.

I hope you will join me in supporting Sharsheret in honor of both the women you love, as well as the women you don't even know, but who are touched by Sharsheret's vital programs.