(Published by: Hudson Valley Reporter) Sarah Chaparro will walk in the 19th annual Support-A-Walk Sunday at FDR State Park in Yorktown to pay tribute to her mother, Elizabeth, who lost her battle with breast cancer.
The Croton-on-Hudson resident was 17 when her mother died in 2002. Elizabeth was 44. In the early walks, Sarah had only her sister Bethany with her. But, in the years since they started participating, their group has grown to almost 40.
Team Elizabeth Chapparo walks in the annual Support-A-Walk at FDR State Park in Yorktown as a tribute to the Croton woman, who died in 2002 from breast cancer.
“Every year more family and friends joined and it became a tradition that we all look forward to as a way to remember and celebrate the lives that were taken from us far too early and the valiant ones still fighting around us,” she wrote in an email.
The annual three-mile walk is held to bring attention to the needs of breast and ovarian cancer victims. People walk in celebration or as a tribute to those affected by the disease and to help raise money for Support Connection, which hosts the event. The 501(c)3 organization provides emotional, social and educational support for free to women affected by breast and ovarian cancer, as well as their families and friends.
Sarah’s grandmother also died of ovarian cancer in 2006, and her aunt continues to battle cancer now. Her mom was initially misdiagnosed. By the time she was properly diagnosed, her cancer was already in stage four.
“Her death was an overwhelming loss to my father, Rev. Roberto Chaparro, my two sisters and two brothers and me,” Sarah wrote in the email. “There was an immense void that we all felt on the deepest levels as well as in the smallest ways. Her death impacted my life and the way I viewed the world in a significant way.”
Looking for a way to help others going through similar experiences, Sarah came across Support Connection and decided to get involved in the annual walks, which began 19 years ago. She now helps collect donations for the group.
“I am overwhelmed by the feeling of love, encouragement, strength and hope,” she wrote. “It is so amazing to be somewhere and you feel that although everyone has a different experience with the disease and struggle, you can all unite under the banner of hope. That is why I have chosen the Support Connection as the organization that I choose to give my time and energy.”
Sarah’s walking team got a new addition last year when her sister gave birth to Charlize Elizabeth, who she said, “has brought hope of new life and beginnings into our family.” Charlize joined the family team for the 2012 walk at just three months old. That year also marked the 10th year since Elizabeth passed away and the family wanted to do something special to commemorate her life.
“What better way to do this than paying it forward and collecting donations to further the support of a group which helps to empower and comfort so many,” she wrote. “My mom’s life touched so many and even a decade later those that knew her and loved her still feel the effects of her beautiful soul.”
Registration begins at 9 a.m. for those who have not preregistered. There will also be live music and face painting. At 9:15 a.m. there will be an invocation and reflections on the meaning of the day. A warm-up led by Club Fit begins at 9:30 a.m., and then the walk begins at 10 a.m. with a ribbon cutting. There is no fee to walk, although donations are encouraged.
This year’s Support-A-Walk ambassadors are Ginny Allison of Katonah, an ovarian cancer survivor, and Lauren Novotny of Dobbs Ferry, a breast cancer survivor.
Individuals or businesses who make a donation of $50 or more may get a tribute message displayed along the walk path. It can be a message that honors or celebrates a loved one, or a message from you or your business.
For more information call 914-962-6402, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website. You may also make a donation to Support Connection online.