Huntley woman's Team Tatas goes the distance for breast cancer

Tina Hueppe, a Huntley resident, started Team Tatas after going to a breast cancer fundraising race in 2009. Since then, she has been working to raise more money each year for breast cancer research.
Tina Hueppe, a Huntley resident, started Team Tatas after going to a breast cancer fundraising race in 2009. Since then, she has been working to raise more money each year for breast cancer research.

In fall 2009, Tina Hueppe sat inside her car describing to her husband over the phone an epiphany that has since benefited the Family Health Partnership Clinic in Crystal Lake.

Hueppe had just finished the clinic’s annual Care 4 Breast Cancer 5K race for the first time, raising a modest $250 as a lone participant.

Regardless of the total, many strangers thanked Hueppe for her support, as she absorbed the clinic’s work to the McHenry County area. The combination of emotions culminated inside Hueppe’s car.

“I got in the car that day and called my husband and said, ‘I’m going to start Team Tatas,’ ” she said. “It was just one of those things that I blurted out, right off the cuff, and it just stuck.”

Team Tatas has stuck like glue to the clinic’s breast cancer race, growing in participants and donations each year since Hueppe made the impromptu decision to form her own team.

In its inaugural race in 2010, Team Tatas sported 50 members and raised $7,000.

At the clinic’s race this past fall, the team’s 150 participants collected $17,000 in donations.

Hueppe’s commitment, enthusiasm and energy about the clinic’s mission is why clinic staffers nominated her as an Everyday Hero, Executive Director Suzanne Hoban said.

“Without any prompting, she turned the race into a mission of hers. She has constantly won the largest team award for the [race],” Hoban said. “We were very impressed with her that we brought her on to the board. She selflessly gives her time to the clinic.”

Hueppe started serving on the clinic’s board last year. The position allows her to take a more public and involved role with the health care provider.

In 2009, she never imagined that she would successfully raise money for the organization year after year, Hueppe said.

Before that initial race, Hueppe had never been personally affected by breast cancer and knew nothing about the clinic.

She merely wanted to support a good cause and run a 5K race, Hueppe said.

After realizing the clinic’s work, she immediately wanted to bring other people’s attention to the group. She now hopes to grow Team Tatas even more, setting a $20,000 donation goal for 2014.

“My philosophy is let’s get the team involved, so they can see what a difference that this will make in our community,” Hueppe said.

Born and raised in Algonquin, Hueppe, who now lives in Huntley, has strong ties to the area. Her father started Marshall Wolf Automation in Algonquin. She now serves as vice president for the industrial parts distributor.

Growing up in McHenry County, Hueppe prefers to participate in local events that benefit local organizations. She applied that mindset when enrolling last fall for Leadership Greater McHenry County, a group that aims to foster community leaders.

“This is our community. This is where we live. This is where I’m raising my children,” Hueppe said. “I think that a community rich in servant leadership is the best kind of community to live in. ... It makes for a rich community.”

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