Community

Erin Bentivegna Loses Her Battle with Cancer

6569a7644e397d121703_48194_.jpg
Erin Bentivegna Credits: Deena Bell
6569a7644e397d121703_48194_.jpg

MAHOPAC, N.Y.— Erin Bentivegna, the Mahopac High School senior who has fought an ongoing battle with cancer since she was 4 years old, passed away Monday morning, Jan. 30, at the age of 18.

Bentivegna might be best known for being named a Woman of Distinction when she was in seventh grade by then-state Sen. Greg Ball in 2012.

Ball said she was being recognized for her “indomitable spirit” and that she “served as an inspiration and role model for those facing difficult challenges.”

Sign Up for E-News

She was only 4 years old when she was first diagnosed with a benign brain tumor. After surgery to remove it and a year and a half of treatment, she was once again well. In November 2006, doctors told her that she had a cancerous kidney tumor. After her kidney was removed, she faced six months of chemotherapy. A short time later, she was told she had another tumor on her brain that entailed additional surgery and then months of treatment that prevented her from going to school. Having fought and defeated cancer three times, Bentivegna was once again back in school until eventually, the disease caught up with her.

In 2011, Community Cares honored her with the Light of Hope Award, citing her positive attitude, and spirit of life and for providing inspiration to others through her challenging personal experiences.

“I think she just wanted to be a normal kid,” said Amy Sayegh, founder of Community Cares. “She was such a sweet girl. At the gala that we had honoring her, she talked about her favorite movies and how she wanted to get her driver’s license and for her first car get a purple (VW) bug. She said she wanted to marry an Irish guy.  She had all these hopes and dreams. She was in all the school plays and was part of the Drama Club.”

Bentivegna told friends she hoped to be a kindergarten teacher someday.

Tracey Walsh, chair of Mahopac’s Relay for Life—the annual fundraiser for the American Cancer Society—said that Bentivegna has become a big part of the Relay for Life family.

“We have known her since she was a young girl,” Walsh said. “She came to Relay every year. It made her feel supported and part of a group. She also came to the Relay in Patterson every year. She lit the torch in Patterson and led the survivor lap in Mahopac. She was always there with a smile on her face. This is a huge loss. We knew she was sick, but it still comes as a terrible shock.

Walsh wrote a tribute to Bentivegna on her Facebook page:

“Your Relay Family has loved you since you were a little girl—from the moment you stepped on the track. You loved Relay so much that you were part of the Mahopac and Patterson events. You were so smart and spoke so eloquently. You gave hope to so many. Please watch over us as we continue to fight for a cure for cancer.  I know you are cancer-free now. No more pain.”

Dr. Dennis Creedon, superintendent of schools, said Bentivegna would be sorely missed by the school community.

“It was truly tragic to learn today that Erin Bentivegna lost her long and courageous battle with cancer,” Creedon said. “She was a leading member of our Drama Club and was loved by her senior classmates and teachers.  Our hearts go out to her parents and brother Johnathan in this time of sorrow.

A wake will be held at Joseph J. Smith Funeral Home, Route 6 in Mahopac, on Thursday. Feb. 2, from 2 to 4 p.m., and from 7 to 9 p.m. There will be a funeral mass on Friday, Feb. 3, at 11:30 a.m., at St. John the Evangelist Church in Mahopac, followed by a Catholic burial at Assumption Cemetery in Cortlandt Manor.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Mahopac

I Do Not Make Stuff Up!

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote in my column, “Watergate analogies apply to Obama, not Trump,” that President Obama’s Justice Department planted a spy in the Trump campaign. I said I used the term “spy” because this was a counter-intelligence operation, not a criminal investigation, where the term informant would have been proper.

That statement has been brought ...

Here's What You Missed Last Week

Last week, the Daily News ran a headline, “When is our father coming home?” This dealt with a person here illegally, married to an American woman with a family, who was arrested at an Army base while delivering pizza. You are supposed to think that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), under Trump, is tearing families apart. As usual, it was a crock of cow pies. It was ...

Reagan on Trump

The party of “Honest Abe” has now become the party of Dishonest Don, and what follows are some disturbing displays of a Republican Party that has become devoid of conscience:

• More than 4,600 American citizens dead in Puerto Rico—a postscript to the government’s abysmal response to the widespread devastation of Hurricane Maria; 
• The underhanded ...

The Rich Get Richer, and We’re Paying For It

According to a Harvard University study published late last year, most Americans believe that the richest 20 percent of Americans own just half of the nation’s wealth. Wrong! The top 20 percent own 93 percent of the nation’s wealth, and the top 1 percent own 40 percent of that wealth. Additionally, the top 10 percent of earners in 2017 took home more than half the nation’s ...

What Kind of Sports Parent Are You?

Social media recently showered a lot of likes and love on a high school pitcher in Minnesota whose team was playing in a regional final that would send the winning team to the state championship game.

After the last batter of the game struck out, the pitcher did something unheard of. Rather than spontaneously join his teammates in an on-field celebration, as is customary, the pitcher ...

Competing—Against Yourself

This is the time of year when students are recognized at public ceremonies for notable achievements in their studies, their sports and in their extracurricular pursuits.

Where we live, there are awards in various sports that are named for our son, who also is memorialized by town ballfield Harrison Apar Field of Dreams and a charitable foundation of the same name.

Due to a rare dwarfism, ...

Packing Heat

“Are you leaving me?” asked my husband one night as he surveyed the contents of my closet on our bed.

“What? No!” I said. “Why would you think that?”

“Every single article of clothing you own is laid out on our bed,” he replied. “So I have to assume you are either leaving me or you have joined the armed services and if that’s the ...

I Come from the Land Down Under

I know this is a family column, so I’m going to put this in as delicate terms as possible.

This morning I woke up and I knew, as sure as the sun shines over Bora Bora, that something was very, very wrong in that place in my body where the Bora Bora sun doesn’t shine.

It’s that place I used to refer to my daughter as her hoo-hoo. But it certainly wasn’t a happy ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_b4cc78dd32adbbf57c97_2018_hiv_testing_day_eng

Wed, June 27, 9:00 AM

Putnam County Department of Health, Brewster

PCDOH Free HIV Testing Day

Health & Wellness