Support Connection Announces Spirit Award Winners

Support Connection, Inc., a not-for-profit organization that provides free support services to those affected by breast and ovarian cancer, is pleased to announce the recipients of their 2017 Spirit Awards. The award presentation will take place during Support Connection’s Spring Benefit on Friday, April 7, 2017 at Villa Barone Hilltop Manor, 466 US-6 Mahopac, NY.

The Spirit Awards are given each year to honor those who demonstrate dedication to the organization’s mission by providing inspiration, time, talent and other resources. This year’s Spirit Award recipients are:

JANE CROSSLEY AND VALERIE PEYRONNET, PUTNAM VALLEY: SPIRIT OF GIVING AWARD. Presented to those who give of themselves in extraordinary ways to further Support Connection’s mission.

Jane and Valerie became involved with Support Connection in 2012 when Jane reached out to Support Connection after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Her wife Valerie was by her side through it all; she also began volunteering with Support Connection. Since Jane received help from Support Connection’s, she spreads the message to let others know about Support Connection’s free breast and ovarian cancer support services. As a 2016 Support-A-Walk Ambassador, Jane shared her story to encourage others experiencing cancer: “I greatly respect and admire what Support Connection does and has done for me. I wish to be involved and to share my experiences so others may learn all about it.” Valerie and Jane raised money for the Walk, knowing that every dollar raised will help a person receive services from Support Connection.  They also work tirelessly in the Support Connection office and helping at special events.

ELIZABETH AND ERIC DIBARTOLO, YORKTOWN HEIGHTS: SPIRIT OF PHILANTHROPY AWARD. Presented to those who show exceptional generosity and civic responsibility through contributions of time, effort, and resources to Support Connection.

Elizabeth and Eric Support Connection benefactors since 1996, exemplify the impact of giving selflessly. Eric, owner of Yorktown Funeral Home, has been a sponsor of the Annual Support-A-Walk and other fundraising events since Support Connection’s beginning. Elizabeth is owner of Euro Laser Spa in Rye; in 2015 and 2016, she hosted an event there called “Brave and Beautiful” which raised more than $4,000 to benefit Support Connection. The events also introduced Support Connection to many new supporters. By donating to Support Connection and hosting benefit events on our behalf, Elizabeth and Eric’s generosity has translated into raising awareness as well as money to fund our programs and services. Elizabeth and Eric are gifts to Support Connection and the entire community.

CHEREESE JERVIS-HILL, CORTLANDT MANOR: MARIA RUBINO JENNINGS SPIRIT OF CARING AWARD. Given to someone who follows the example established by Maria: This award is presented in honor and memory of Maria who helped create Support Connection’s Peer Counseling program and other services. Making a positive difference in many lives through the power of caring

Chereese has been involved with Support Connection since 2007, and exemplifies the power of caring. Chereese has helped Support Connection spread the word about their mission and raise money to help fund their programs. Chereese’s tremendous commitment to Support Connection’s cause, and has made a difference by giving wholeheartedly of herself, both professionally and personally. Using her talents, Chereese has contributed to the success of their Benefits, Support-A-Walks and other events. Chereese’s in 2010, 2011, and 2012 held an event on behalf of Support Connection called “Sassy Ladies Night”, which raised over $3,000. The women at Support Connection are able to touch many lives because of her contributions to their organization. 


GARY WAWRZYCKI, GARRISON: SPIRIT OF COMMUNITY AWARD. Presented to honor someone whose efforts and actions make a huge difference to Support Connection and the community.

Gary became involved with Support Connection in 2012, and his efforts and actions have made a huge difference. Gary has enthusiastically spread the word about Support Connections services, helping them reach out to many people in need of their support. In addition, because of his efforts, Gary’s employer, Wells Fargo, has sponsored numerous events and has also donated nearly $20,000 in community grants. Gary encourages his fellow employees to volunteer. At the recent Support-A-Walk, the walkers were thanked by Wells Fargo team members who greeted them at the finish line. Gary is a gift to Support Connection and the entire community.

SPIRIT OF HOPE AWARD: This award is presented to honor individuals who offer inspiration to other cancer survivors. They have taken their own experiences and translated them into an opportunity to raise awareness about Support Connection’s mission. This year there are two recipients:


Ginny first reached out to Support Connection in 2011, after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She is an inspiration to those blessed to know her; using her own journey, she encourages people to seek support while living each day to the fullest. As a 2013 Support-A-Walk Ambassador, Ginny shared her story to encourage others experiencing cancer: “If there’s one person I can inspire to ask for help, I want to do that. It’s hard to ask for help, and I want people to know there’s someplace they can go.” Ginny is also a Community Ambassador for Support Connection's Annual Support-A-Walk and a proud team captain of Team Wish Upon A Star. She works tirelessly knowing that the money raised from the Walk funds Support Connection’s free services. Ginny touches many lives and is truly a gift to Support Connection and the many people who rely on them.


Dottie reached out to Support Connection in 2005, after being diagnosed with breast cancer and has been a staunch advocate for Support Connection ever since. She wants women and their families to know that there is a place to turn to for support, education and comfort. It is not surprising that Dottie accepted Support Connections offer to be a 2016 Support-A-Walk Ambassador, where she shared her story to encourage others experiencing cancer: “It gives me great pleasure to give back to an amazing organization I truly believe in and that played a major role in my mindset during my own battle with cancer. I hope to be a positive role model for other women facing this disease.” Through her efforts, she helped Support Connection promote the Walk and raise money to help fund their numerous free programs and services. Dottie is a treasure to Support Connection and the many lives she touches.

The Spring Benefit is Support Connection’s second most important annual fundraiser. Proceeds help fund their free breast and ovarian cancer support services and programs. The event begins with a cocktail reception at 7 pm, followed by dinner, music, and dancing until 11:30 pm. In addition to the award presentation, there will also be a silent auction and raffles with numerous valuable prizes. To purchase tickets for the Spring Benefit, to pay tribute with a congratulatory Journal Ad, or to be an Event Sponsor, call 914-962-6402 or email  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. " _cc="" _bcc="" _subject="" _body="" style="color:rgb(149, 79, 114);text-decoration:underline;outline:none"> This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . To learn more, visit www.supportconnection.org/spring-benefit.

PHOTO CAPTION: Support Connection’s 2017 Spirit Award recipients (L-R): Dottie McHugh; Gary Wawrzycki; Ginny Allison-Novotny; Chereese Jervis-Hill; Valerie Peyronnet; Jane Crossley; Elizabeth and Eric DiBartolo


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