Support Connection began as a dream envisioned by Nancy Heller, a breast cancer survivor, and the late Richard Adamski, who lost his wife Myra to breast cancer. When Nancy and Myra were diagnosed, no local organization existed to provide them with emotional and educational support to help them through their cancer journey. Nancy and Rich met on a bus returning from a cancer walk in Manhattan. They formed a bond and began talking about the need for support for people affected by breast and ovarian cancer in Westchester, Putnam and beyond.
Nancy and Rich decided to hold a walkathon at FDR State Park in Yorktown in October 1995. They gathered a group of dedicated, spirited supporters to help them. Eight hundred people came that first year, which inspired Nancy and Rich to do more. Using the funds from that Walk, and with the help of Katherine Quinn, Support Connection’s Founding Executive Director, Support Connection was created in July 1996.
We opened our doors in the fall of 1996, with two desks, a telephone, fax machine, and a donated computer. We began with two breast and ovarian cancer support groups, run by trained volunteer peer facilitators. The response was immediate as women diagnosed with breast and ovarian cancer reached out to us for support.
Our services have expanded over the years to meet the growing and changing needs of those we serve. We now have professional Peer Counselors on our staff, cancer survivors themselves, available to answer questions and provide support from our Yorktown Heights office. Our toll-free telephone service enables these counselors to provide phone counseling to people across the country. We offer support groups and other programs in Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess counties, as well as national toll-free support groups and teleconferences.
Our grassroots beginnings continue to inspire us to always remain true to our mission: providing support to those affected by breast and ovarian cancer. Our co-founders established the philosophy that continues to guide us today.
In the words of Nancy Heller: “I am truly proud of what Support Connection has become. There is no other place like it. Because of Support Connection, women do not have to search like I did to seek out support. Support Connection helps survivors reach out and connect with one another – they find others who listen, understand and care. Through our programs, survivors find hope, strength and courage.”
In the words of the late Rich Adamski: “My wife’s personal battle with breast cancer and the loving acts of kindness of some very special friends inspired the creation of Support Connection. Today, Support Connection is nurtured by those same friends as well as by a dedicated staff, caring volunteers and a committed Board. Support Connection has given hope and help to so many people and without question, being part of it has been one of the most gratifying experiences of my life.”