YORKTOWN, N.Y. – The 18th annual Support-A-Walk fundraiser for breast and ovarian cancer returns to Yorktown in a few weeks along with one Yorktown native who has been there almost since the beginning.
Carrie Tropea was a junior at Yorktown High School in 1996 when she learned that her mother, Caroline Puppo, was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 46. She immediately signed up for Support-A-Walk as a way to honor her mother and raise awareness about the disease.
The following year, Tropea set up a team of walkers called “Friends of Caroline.” During the first few years, her mom joined them at Support-A-Walk.
“When she was able to, she out-walked my dad!” Tropea said. Puppo battled the disease and was able to see Tropea’s wedding in 2006, but eventually died on June 19, 2007.
Now, Tropea and her team are ready to attend their 17th consecutive Support-A-Walk on Oct. 7 at Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park. Proceeds from the walk help fund Support Connection’s free support services for women affected by breast and ovarian cancer.
Tropea’s team raised more than $1,600 in 2011 alone for Support Connection’s free programs and services. The team usually consists of about 14 people, including Tropea’s dad and brother and a number of longtime friends. Tropea’s husband, Christopher, and their 3-year-old daughter, Isabella Rose, are also there each year.
Support Connection "not only provides comfort and support to those who suffer from breast and ovarian cancer, but they are also there for their loved ones who are also having a difficult time during the process," Tropea said. "They sure helped me during the rough times, and my tiny team is my way of showing my gratitude."
Tropea, 33, insists on having regular mammograms herself and wants to do whatever she can to make sure that she’s there for her own daughter as she grows up.
“I want women to understand how important it is to be diligent about checking themselves for breast cancer, and to advocate for their own health,” she said. “When my mom first found the lump in her breast, it didn’t show up on a mammogram. My dad insisted that she have an ultrasound, and that’s how her diagnosis was made. Maybe if it had been discovered sooner, the outcome could have been different.”
Visit the Support Connection website for more information about the annual walk.