Support Connection, Inc. has named Jim and Jane Gentile of Yorktown as the ambassadors for the 17th annual Support-A-Walk, which is set to take place on Sunday, October 2 at FDR Park, Route 202 in Yorktown.
The non-profit uses the Support-A-Walk to increase awareness of breast and ovarian cancer and to help raise funds for Support Connection’s free, confidential services for those affected by these diseases. Each year ambassadors who embody the spirit and the purpose of the Support-A-Walk are chosen.
Jane Gentile has been involved with Support Connection since she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2002. At the time, she was a single mom of two daughters ages 19 and 24 and had no history of breast cancer in her family. Realizing that she needed a helping hand, her brother, Ken Carpenter, found out about Support Connection and encouraged her to reach out to them. Gentile connected with a Support Connection peer counselor who provided her with support, encouragement and information. She also participated in one of the organization’s support groups for women with breast cancer.
Because the help she had received made such a difference, Gentile wasted no time in becoming involved in Support Connection. The same year she was diagnosed, she began participating in the Support-A-Walk with a group of family and friends. They call their team The J-Walkers and they’ve been at the event every year since, raising more than $3,000 in 2010. The team has grown over the years and now also includes many of her daughters’ friends and their families. Gentile is also an active Support Connection volunteer, helping at numerous events throughout the year.
The Gentiles were married in 2004, and Jim is with her every step of the way. They are happy for this opportunity to use their experiences to promote the Walk and the work done by Support Connection. “In the beginning, I found it a little hard to talk about my personal experiences,” Jane Gentile said. “Then I began hearing from other people who were also dealing with breast cancer. I realized I could help by speaking out and sharing how I made it through.”
As an ambassador, Gentile hopes she can have a positive impact. “I feel it’s important for people to have a face to attach to a cause,” she stated. “I am always telling people about the Support-A-Walk. I always say: ‘While of course we hope to find a cure, in the meantime, there are so many people living with breast and ovarian cancer who need support, and that’s what Support Connection is all about.”
The three-mile Support-A-Walk will kicks-off with pre-walk activities beginning at 9 a.m. At 10 a.m., the ribbon will be cut and the walk begins. People walk in teams or as individuals. Some walk in memory of or in celebration of people affected by breast and ovarian cancer. There is a warm-up session preceding the Walk and refreshments and entertainment after the walk.
Ellen and Ken Kiernan of West Nyack, who participate in the Walk in memory of their daughter Kim who died of ovarian cancer, were also recognized as ambassadors for this year’s Support-A-Walk.
Registration and donations are now being accepted for the Support-A-Walk. To learn more or to participate visit www.supportconnection.org or call 914-962-6402.