Erin Bentivegna Loses Her Battle with Cancer

Erin Bentivegna Credits: Deena Bell

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


Cuomo Shores Up His Left Flank (at Our Expense)

We keep hearing how the Republicans are bought and paid for by the NRA. I recently explained to you the truth about this myth. The reality is the Democrats are the ones who are bought and paid for. Not by the NRA, but the environmentalists.

You thought I was going to say public sector unions, didn’t you? Well, they own both parties in New York. However, the environmentalists pull the ...

The Hatch Act and Immigration Updates

This is for information purposes only. So, when you see headlines like the recent “Kellyanne Conway cited for two violations of the Hatch Act,” you will have a working knowledge of what it means. First off, what is the Hatch Act? This has nothing to do with Orrin Hatch, senator from Utah. Simply put, it states one cannot advocate for or against candidates while serving in an official ...

The ‘Feminist’ President ... Ha!

Incredibly, it wasn’t until 1987 that Congress finally acknowledged the part women have played in the great movements of American history, declaring March to be National Women’s History Month.

And each year since, as March rolls around, U.S. presidents have stood at the lectern, extolling the virtues of American women. In President Trump’s statement, released last week, he ...

To Harrison, L'Chaim!

At long last, the smile of spring approaches, as an angry winter recedes into good riddance. Our spirit is ready to be re-charged. Damn the power outages, full speed ahead!

For my wife, Elyse, daughter, Elissa, and me, this otherwise exuberant time of year brings a confusion of mixed emotions. In 2003, on the opening day of spring, March 20, which happens to be my birthday, our 15-year-old son ...

A Half-Baked Column

“I think it’s time we retired this oven,” I said to my husband as I displayed a sheet of blackened sweet potato fries. “Even the dog won’t eat these.”

“Sure he will,” he said, tossing some fries on the floor. The dog immediately sucked them down.

“Not my point,” I said.

We had known that our oven was on its last burners for ...

When It's Not OK to Ask If Everything's OK

There is this thing that I do that annoys the heck out of my family. Well, to be honest, there are a lot of things I do that annoy the heck out of my family, but I am thinking of one thing in particular.

Whenever someone is in the bathroom for what I determine to be an abnormally long period of time, I stand outside the bathroom door and yell,


I ...

I'm All Pumped Up

This time last year, I struggled with my New Year’s resolution to go to the gym.

This year, I have made significant progress. I am going to the gym on a semi-regular basis. And by semi-regular, I mean, I go often enough that I actually remember where it’s located between visits.

The bad news, however, is that my workouts are just, how would you say it? Lame. Yes, they’re ...

Upcoming Events


Sat, March 24, 2:00 PM

South Putnam Animal Hospital, Mahopac

PCDOH Free Rabies Vaccination Clinic

Health & Wellness

Sat, March 24, 2:00 PM

South Putnam Animal Hospital, Mahopac

PCDOH Free Rabies Vaccination Clinic

Health & Wellness

Sun, March 25

First Presbyterian Church of Yorktown, Yorktown Heights

Holy Week at First Presbyterian Church of Yorktown

Religions And Spirituality

NYSEG Needs to Be Investigated

March 22, 2018

[Editor’s note: This letter exceeds the maximum word count (300 words) allowed by Mahopac News, but due to the content, we have made an exception to that rule.]

To the editor,

Friday, after seven days without electrical power, I contacted the office of the Putnam County executive where I found a sympathetic ear willing to prod New York State Gas and Electric (NYSEG) to restore ...