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It has been the feel-good annual celebration of love and hope for more than a quarter of a century and it’s looking to welcome back thousands of participants following two years of COVID-19 pandemic limitations. The 2022 Support-A-Walk for Breast and Ovarian Cancer, the largest fundraiser for Support Connection, Inc., the Yorktown-based, not-for-profit organization that offers free and confidential support services to people affected by breast, ovarian or gynecological cancer, is slated to take over FDR State Park in Yorktown on Sunday, Oct. 2.
Support-A-Walk was founded 28 years ago by local residents as a way to focus attention on breast and ovarian cancer. Since the organization was founded in 1996, thousands of people locally and across the country have received help from Support Connection. The financial goal of the Walk is $250,000.
Of every dollar donated, 88¢ directly funds support services. Support Connection does not receive funds from any national cancer organizations including Relay for Life, Susan G. Komen, or Making Strides.
“The Support-A-Walk is Support Connection’s largest awareness and fundraising event of the year,” said longtime Support Connection Executive Director Kathy Quinn. “We want people to know that they are not alone when dealing with a breast or ovarian cancer diagnosis. Our professional peer counselors have had cancer and are there to provide educated, empathetic and compassionate support.”
“We are so grateful to our sponsors and donors that raise money so that we can provide year-round programs and services, all free of charge to those who utilize them,” she said. “While we are delighted to be back at FDR Park once again, we welcome people to walk with us in communities nationwide. This is very fitting since we offer services to people throughout the country.”
This year’s Walk Ambassadors are Janet Fletcher and Ebony-Joy Igbinoba. In February 2019, Fletcher was diagnosed with Stage 3C ovarian cancer. Encourage by a colleague who had used Support Connection services in the past, Fletcher connected with a Peer Counselor who became a lifeline.
“A diagnosis of advanced ovarian cancer terrified me. My life plans blew up in one brief phone call. The insightful, affirming, and tender support I received from Support Connection’s counselors carried me through the greatest trial of my life. They’re still there for me in every way I need, three years later,” Fletcher said.
“As much as surgery and chemotherapy saved my body from ovarian cancer, Support Connection saved my psyche and soul through their one-on-one counseling, support groups, therapeutic exercise, art, and social activities,” she added. “They’re an extraordinary organization supporting women with gynecological cancers and their caregivers. I’m blessed to have found them.”
Igbinoba was only 38 years old when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in September 2019. Two months later, she had a bilateral mastectomy, lymph node removal and reconstructive surgery. Her chemotherapy continued until April 2020, then radiation continued until June 2020 during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A resident of Georgia, Igbinoba first reached out to Support Connection in February 2020 by submitting a website form asking to connect with a counselor.
“I was dealing with insomnia due to the anxiety. I believe I did some Google searches looking for support for breast cancer, then I found Support Connection and filled out the form. It was so good to talk with someone who really gets it,” she said. “She truly is an angel. When I see an email from her my spirit is full of joy. It’s a wonderful feeling to have someone like her to check in. I thought strength was doing everything alone. She has shown me there is amazing power in asking for help.”
“Having cancer is hard. Going through it during the pandemic seemed impossible. I have learned that what makes me a superwoman is my strength. However, the tears and leaning on others make me even stronger,” she added.
Pre-Walk activities kickoff at 9 a.m. The Walk gets underway immediately after the ribbon-cutting ceremony at 10 a.m.
Rick has more than 40 years’ experience covering local news in Westchester and Putnam counties, running the gamut from politics and crime to sports and human interest. He has been an editor at Examiner Media since 2012. Read more from Rick’s editor-author bio here. Read Rick’s work here: https://www.theexaminernews.com/author/pezzullo_rick-writer/