AREA NEWSThe Northern Westchester Examiner

Yorktown Kicks Off Its Seventh Relay for Life Season

We are part of The Trust Project
From left to right are co-chairs of the seventh annual Yorktown Relay for Life, Monica Garrigan, Jane McCarthy and Donna D’Andrea.
From left to right are co-chairs of the seventh annual Yorktown Relay for Life, Monica Garrigan, Jane McCarthy and Donna D’Andrea.

Yorktown residents are once again gearing up their “purple power” for the seventh annual Relay for Life, starting with the packed dining room at Traveler’s Rest, where walking teams, both veteran and new, gathered for the kick-off event for the 12-hour walk that last year raised just under $300,000.

“We have a lot of people who’ve been around a while, but there are also a lot of new faces,” said Jane McCarthy, co-chairwoman of this year’s Relay for Life. McCarthy is sharing the duties with Donna D’Andrea and Monica Garrigan, who helped to bring the event to Yorktown. “This community brings it like no other.”

Garrigan said the first year Relay came to town, 21 teams raised $64,000. Since then, more town residents have signed up to raise money to find a cure for cancer and to celebrate those who have survived cancer and to pay tribute to the memory of those who have passed.

“It’s just grown exponentially. It just shows the amazing ability of this town to rally around a cause and fight this disease together,” Garrigan said.

Garrigan and McCarthy noted the friendly competition among the myriad Relay for Lifes all over the country and wanted to give special praise to the walkers, organizers and sponsors for making the Yorktown event an outstanding one. The money collected from Yorktown’s event ranked No. 1 in the New York City, Long Island and Westchester County metro area; No. 2 in New York State and No. 3 in the entire division comprising New York State and New Jersey.

This year’s effort will be held at Jack DeVito Memorial Field from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. on Friday, June 8 into Saturday, June 9.

Colleen McCarthy, the daughter of one of the co-chairwomen, has participated for the past five years and this year will co-captain team “Raise Your Glass” with her friend Caleigh Scanlon, whose aunt passed away from cancer just three days prior to the Relay for Life last year. The two high-schoolers decided to rename their team this year in honor of Scanlon’s aunt’s favorite song by pop star Pink.

This year will mark the 19th year that Mohegan Lake residents Denise and Jim Poulin have walked in Relay for Life, first in Dobbs Ferry and then in Yorktown. They said if they are able to hit the $15,000 mark this year and next with their “Team Star Spangled Banner,” when they celebrate their 20th anniversary of participating with the fund-raising event, they will have raised a total of $200,000.

“We have family who we lost and we walk in their memory,” Denise Poulin said.

Jim Poulin said that years ago, his two-year-old niece passed away after her battle with cancer, a tragedy that has inspired them to continue to walk as they have seen great improvements in cancer treatments that are now saving infant patients like his young niece.

“The survivor rate has increased over the years,” he said. “It’s getting better.”

And she’s only in sixth grade, but Sam Silverman has already raised $6,000 over the past several years through her team “Lighting the Way to the Cure,” which she captains.

Silverman was asked what inspired her to get involved.

“I feel bad for everyone who has this disease,” she said. “I know these people are suffering and that I’m not. And, I just want to give back to them.”

It was announced that this year’s event would be dedicated to the loved ones of cancer patients — the caregivers — with a special ceremony dedicated just for them.

“They are the unspoken heroes,” co-chairwoman McCarthy said.

Yorktown Town Supervisor Michael Grace, himself a cancer survivor, spoke to those gathered and said an important part of his battle was realizing what his loved ones were going while he was overcoming cancer.

“This is what survivorship is all about. To take the pain in our life and turn it around and turn it on its head,” he said.

It was said again and again that there are many way to get involved in Yorktown’s Relay for Life. If residents would like to form a new team to walk in Relay for Life, purchase a luminaria for the ceremony to pay tribute to those who have passed and those who are battling cancer, if there are survivors who would like to attend a special reception, or if there are businesses who would like to help sponsor the event, one and all are invited to contact co-chair Monica Garrigan at or sign up on the event’s website at

We'd love for you to support our work by joining as a free, partial access subscriber, or by registering as a full access member. Members get full access to all of our content, and receive a variety of bonus perks like free show tickets. Learn more here.