HIGHTSTOWN, N.J. — When driver Yannick Gingras heard about the upcoming Trotting 4 Charity event, he knew immediately he wanted to participate. Gingras’ brother-in-law, Brian Michonski, lost a battle with pancreatic cancer in 2014 and Gingras will drive in Brian’s memory to raise money for the National Pancreatic Cancer Foundation.

Trotting 4 Charity, organized by TrotCast’s Ryan Macedonio, will be held May 18-20 at racetracks throughout North America. Participating drivers and trainers will wear a custom-made replica jersey of their own colors, with their selected charity logo displayed on the jersey.

During the weekend, drivers will race in their jersey. After the event, auctions will be held for fans to bid on the jerseys and all proceeds from winning bids will be donated to the corresponding charities.

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The mission of the National Pancreatic Cancer Foundation is to deliver unwavering support for patients and families fighting pancreatic cancer. It was founded in 2009.

Michonski, a Maine resident who was 50 when he passed away, worked in his family’s masonry business and was active in sports and the community throughout his life. He played baseball and ice hockey and coached both sports at the youth level. He also was an avid fisherman and outdoorsman and loved to travel with his family.

“This is always a charity that is important to me,” Gingras, who is among 40 horsemen and horsewomen participating in the event, said about the National Pancreatic Cancer Foundation. “I’m always willing to help out and when I heard about (Trotting 4 Charity) I thought it was a great idea and wanted to get involved.

“This brings attention to these charities and the work they do, which is very important. It also brings attention to harness racing. It’s just a good thing for everyone.”

To kick things off Gingras is set to have seven drives at Harrah's Philadelphia on May 18. 

Also trotting for charity, Matt Kakaley who has been sidelined since being seriously injured in a March 13 racing accident, is assigned nine drives at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on May 19.

“I can’t wait. I really can’t wait,” Kakaley said. “It’s been a tough couple months, but I’m feeling good now and I’m itching to get back. Seeing my name on the entries, it was a good feeling.”

Kakaley was injured at Yonkers Raceway when the horse he was driving took a bad step and went down. Kakaley was thrown to the track and suffered injuries that required three surgeries, including one for a broken orbital bone and another for a fractured collarbone. He has spent the past month rehabbing and getting in shape for his return.

Kakaley’s charity is Marley’s Mission, which is based near Pocono and provides equine-based psychotherapy free of charge to children, and their families, who have experienced trauma.

“I think it’s a great event and I thought Marley’s Mission was a perfect fit,” Kakaley said. “I wanted to do something locally and this is great exposure for them, as well as harness racing.”

Following is a list of drivers and trainers participating in Trotting 4 Charity, with their corresponding charities. 

Allan Davis - Nemours Children's Hospital

Andrew Harris - The Breast Cancer Research Foundation

Andy McCarthy - St. Jude Children's Research Hospital - Science and Medicine

Andy Miller - Pacing For The Cure

Bob McClure - Children's Wish Foundation of Canada

Brady Galliers - Ronald McDonald House Charities

Brian Burton - Potomac Valley Boxing Association

Chris Page - Jimmy V Foundation

Colin Kelly - Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation

Corey Callahan - Harness Horse Youth Foundation

Declan Donoway - St. Jude Children's Hospital

Dolores Basilone Case - American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

Doug McNair - Autism Speaks

Emily Hay - Leukemia Research Foundation

Frank Milby - Talbot Special Riders, Inc.

J Bradley Harris - Breast Cancer Research Foundation

James MacDonald - Canadian Cancer Society

Jim Morrill - Wounded Warrior Project

Julie Miller - Pacing For The Cure

Louis-Philippe Roy - Fondation Rêves d'enfants, Québec - Children's Wish Foundation, Quebec

Marc Campbell - IWK Foundation

Marcus Miller - Dogs For Better Lives

Matt Kakaley - Marley's Mission

Montrell Teague - St. Jude

Pat Berry - St. Jude

Robert Shepherd - Autism Speaks

Roger Plante - Ronald McDonald House

Russell Foster - Freedom Hill Horse Rescue

Ryan Macedonio - Big Brothers Big Sisters

Scott Young - Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

Scott Zeron - Standardbred Retirement Foundation - Adoptahorse.org

Sean Bier - Cardiac Kids

Simon Allard - Wigs For Kids

Timmy Offutt - Maryland International Harvest Foundation

Tom Jackson - Lung Cancer Research Foundation

Travis Henry - Breast Cancer Research Foundation

Trevor Henry - The War Amps

Tyler Buter - Wounded Warriors

Tyler Smith - St. Jude

Yannick Gingras - National Pancreatic Cancer Foundation

See www.trotting4charity.com  or www.trotcast.com.

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