Cory L. Little of Hinsdale touched more people than she knew in her 18 years of life, and just a week after her death from breast cancer, her brave struggle is inspiring those miles away from her Cattaraugus County home town.
More than a dozen men and women, many of them employees of Motorola in Arcade, wore armbands with Miss Little's name when they participated in the American Cancer Society's Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, a five-mile pledge walk in Buffalo Sunday.
The idea for the armbands came from Lorrie Fisher of Franklinville, a Motorola employee whose daughter, Kelly, was a friend of Miss Little.
The two teen-agers, although they went to different schools, knew each other from years of playing softball and basketball. Their friendship grew, and when they were older they used to double-date. When Miss Little got sick, Miss Fisher helped organize a dance for her benefit.
The young women last saw each other the day before Miss Fisher left for her freshman year at Long Island University.
Miss Little, an honor roll student, was accepted and had planned on attending St. Bonaventure University this fall. She lost her eight-month battle with cancer last Monday.
A June graduate of Hinsdale Central High School, she was a cheerleader and student council representative for four years. She was a member of the marching and concert bands and active in varsity sports, including volleyball, softball and basketball and was a member of the yearbook staff.
Mrs. Fisher said she got the idea for the armbands because she wanted her daughter to know her family was thinking of Miss Little.
"She's a student in Long Island now and we couldn't get her home for the funeral," Mrs. Fisher said. "It's really sad when you lose somebody that young to the disease."
One of Mrs. Fisher's co-workers, Anne Nowicki of Arcade, was organizing a group from Motorola to join in the Buffalo walk-a-thon for the second year. Mrs. Fisher sponsored Mrs. Nowicki and on Friday asked if she would wear the armband in memory of Miss Little.
"I just wanted somebody to know about her, and at 18 it's almost unthinkable," Mrs. Fisher said.
Mrs. Nowicki, a survivor of breast cancer herself, quickly agreed.
"My daughter is 17," Mrs. Nowicki said Sunday. "To hear of someone so young -- Any of us out there today, when we hear about someone getting it . . we're all affected by it."
"That makes us feel good to know they wore Cory's name," said Linda Little, Miss Little's mother.
"If the awareness can help just one person, then that's what they have to do," Mrs. Little said. "Let the young people know just because it doesn't normally happen to them, that it could happen to them."
She said her daughter, who leaves behind her 5-month-old son, Damian, fought hard against the disease. The family plans to help make others aware of cancer, she said.
"There are so many people out there suffering so much, you just wish you could wave a wand and make them all better," Mrs. Little said.
Miss Little's struggle with breast cancer already has made people more aware of the disease.
"I have three teen-age daughters," Mrs. Fisher said. "When this happened, I said, 'Do you give yourselves self-exams?' "
An estimated 4,000 people participated in the Cancer Society pledge walk Sunday.
Funds raised through Making Strides Against Breast Cancer will support scientific research on the causes of breast cancer and ways to prevent, detect and treat it, information and resources, local patient services and legislative support for mammography quality standards, insurance coverage and women's health issues.