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.
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
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