Shari Piper

When our family moved here 35 years ago from Brooklyn, we knew virtually no one. Our kids were 6 and 10 so after researching school districts we settled in Bethlehem. The next year I started 18 wonderful years of teaching at Elsmere Elementary. We learned to put ourselves out there to meet people and create a community. We ended up with a family of friends.

My father taught me that if you join a committee, a club or an organization, that you have to do the work, not just tell other people how to make it better. So when Neil lost his mother and two siblings to pancreatic cancer, it was devastating, but we knew we had to do something. We teamed up with the Lustgarten Foundation to work to find a cure by sponsoring a charity walk in Delmar. This year will be the 18th year, and over that time we have raised well over a million dollars for research. Leading this walk has brought us more hope as we celebrate survivors and know that we are accomplishing something for the community.

People would be surprised to learn that I can be shy with people I don’t know, but in leading the Walk for Research, I have embraced the idea that you can’t get to yes if you are afraid of a no.