Ginny Salerno’s life changed when she returned from a national breast cancer walk in 2002. Inspired by her experience, she decided to bring a multi-day walk to Long Island where 100 percent of the funds raised would stay on Long Island to be distributed by grassroots breast cancer service and support organizations. With sheer determination, family, friends and the support from local politicians and businesses, the inaugural LI2Day Breast Cancer Walk took place in Suff olk County in June 2004 and raised $308,000.
Now into its ninth year, over $4 million has been raised for programs and services that directly assist the people who need it most. Local grassroots organizations from South Nassau and Manhasset to Montauk Point are not the only ones benefiting from her efforts. Since the inception of the LI2Day Scholarship Fund in 2004, $120,000 has been awarded to graduating seniors residing in Nassau and Suffolk counties who have a parent or guardian who has battled breast cancer.
Ms. Salerno remains the driving force and the visionary for LI2Day. Under her guidance, the organization has become much more than a single event walk. LI2Day is visible throughout the year raising awareness via fundraising initiatives and educational platforms, including breast health events.
For her selflessness, spirit and resolve, Ms. Salerno has received many honors, including the Fortune 52 Women’s Achievement Award from the Long Island Press, the Cancer Services Program Partner of Distinction Award, the New York Islanders/TD Bank Hometown Hero Award, and the Long Island Business News Top 50 Most Infl uential Women Award. She was named 2007 Newday’s Winner, was selected as the Woman of the Year in Health by Times of Smithtown and was Zonta’s Woman of the Year.
A native of Long Island, Ms. Salerno received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Adelphi University and her Master of Science degree in education from Queens College. She is currently an adjunct professor of physical education at Saint Joseph’s College in Patchogue.