YORKTOWN, N.Y. – A field of hundreds stretched in unison in an energizing warm-up at FDR State Park Sunday, preparing physically—and emotionally— for a three-mile walk to raise money for breast and ovarian cancer support service Support Connection.
Teams of walkers raised money throughout the year for the 18th Annual Support-A-Walk benefitting the Yorktown nonprofit, which offers free support services for women affected by breast and ovarian cancers.
More than 50 family members and friends made up Team 4 Ever Rallying 4 Regina, who came together Sunday to honor the memory of a recent loss. Regina Rivera of Putnam Valley died of breast cancer on Aug. 2 at the age of 34. Her father Carmen Rivera said she was diagnosed a few days after her 30th birthday, and had been participating in the walk ever since.
“It was stage four from day one,” said Rivera. “She battled and battled and battled” through chemo and 10 to 15 surgeries, he said.
Among the many organizations and businesses offering free giveaways and soliciting donations at the starting area was Backstage Salon in Croton. Co-owners Marlene Taccariello and Eileen Garrabrant were there promoting their Oct. 21 “Cutathon” event to raise money for Support Connection: all proceeds from cuts, extensions, waxes and other treatments that Sunday go to the organization.
Garrabrant, a 10-year breast cancer survivor, said her mother and sister also had the disease, while Taccariello said her grandmother had breast cancer as well. “Everybody knows somebody who has it,” said Taccariello.
Walker Nick Lopani of the Bronx came with extended family members from all over New York to walk for the “Pigeon Sisters” team, a family nickname for his mother and her two sisters, all of whom were diagnosed with cancer.
The team raised more than $3,000 on Support Connection’s website prior to the walk, he said.
“We’re a very close family,” said Lopani. “It’s just everyone here getting together for a good cause.”