Volunteers of the Month: Margie + Ilana Atwater

Volunteers are the heart and soul of Susan G. Komen Central and South Jersey. The passion, dedication and commitment from our volunteers makes a true difference in the lives of those affected by breast cancer. Komen CSNJ is grateful and thankful for the time and energy volunteers use to help us further our vision of a world without breast cancer.

Each month, Komen CSNJ spotlights some of our incredible volunteers, sharing their favorite stories and unforgettable memories. This month, we spoke to mom-and-daughter duo Margie and Ilana Atwater to find out why getting involved means so much to them.

Both mother and daughter both have been invested in making a difference in their communities through various roles. Margie has been volunteering since she was a teenager as a candy striper. Ilana is a nurse, and both women have been lifeguards.

Margie began their journey with Komen CSNJ when her friend Elizabeth Cappel, a dedicated volunteer and a brave fighter of breast cancer, encouraged her to volunteer. Elizabeth lost her battle with the disease in 2017, but the two women continue their mission to end breast cancer forever.

“Elizabeth got us involved, and here we are now,” said Ilana.

Added Margie, “Unfortunately, we lost Liz last year. But, in her memory now, we continue.”

Margie + Elizabeth

The two have even more motivation to make an impact in this fight. Bob, Margie’s husband and Ilana’s father, was diagnosed with breast cancer this year.

“We are celebrating his survival and will get him involved,” said Margie.

Each year, the two have a tradition to volunteer at Race for the Cure, and afterwards enjoy the fun at Six Flags Great Adventure together. Both women agree that volunteering with the survivors as being the most special memory of Race for the Cure.

“I love seeing all of the survivors proudly showing that they have survived,” said Margie.

Added Ilana, “I really like watching all the survivors of such a wide variety of years celebrating each other.”

In addition to volunteering at Race for the Cure as a committee member, Margie volunteers her time to raise money for research with the hopes of “no longer needing it one day.” Ilana finds it to be valuable for the education and information she learns as a volunteer.

“It’s a great cause and it’s always fun to volunteer,” said Ilana. “Additionally, I get important information to provide to others regarding the services Susan G. Komen provides.”

It’s incredibly special that Margie and Ilana enjoy volunteering together for a cause they are so passionate about.

“Ilana is an amazing workhorse and I am in awe of her ability to do whatever needs to get done,” said Margie.


The Komen CSNJ team is thankful for Margie and Ilana’s commitment and passion. To get involved in our fight against breast cancer, visit our website at komencsnj.org/volunteer!