Giving Back

Yorktown Paints the Town Purple

Rachel Casatelli and Sue Davies brave the rain for a good cause. Credits: Gabrielle Bilik
Stefanie Iennaco, of Team Lovestruck, wrings rainwater out of her gloves. Credits: Gabrielle Bilik
Sue Davies holds up a boot she painted purple. Credits: Gabrielle Bilik
Lori Russo said her four-member team, Purple Power, is “small and mighty.” Credits: Gabrielle Bilik
Town Supervisor Michael Grace and Councilman Tom Diana paint the town purple on May 4. Credits: Mary Capoccia
Highway Superintendent Dave Paganelli Credits: Mary Capoccia
Pied Piper Preschool celebrates Paint the Town Purple. Credits: Facebook
Credits: Gabrielle Bilik

YORKTOWN, N.Y. – Yorktown Relay for Life collects thousands annually from passing motorists who spare whatever they can to volunteers holding purple boots or buckets. This year, drenched volunteers rode out the rainy weather Friday, May 5.

Volunteers, equipped with water-resistant ponchos, purple collection buckets and signs, said they participate for themselves, or someone they love who has been affected by cancer. While some volunteers held rain boots that had been painted purple by volunteer Sue Davies, they used them to collect donations rather than to protect their feet from the rain. They appeared unfazed by the inclement weather and were happy to greet each motorist that passed through Commerce Street from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. that day.

Rachel Casatelli, of Team Tough Cookie, said she participates for her niece, who is currently in remission. When volunteers were asked what motivated them to stay outside for almost 12 hours straight, their responses were similar to Casatelli’s, who said, “Cancer doesn’t care if it’s raining.”

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They said several kind passersby brought or offered to get hot beverages and snacks for the volunteers, in addition to donating. Starbucks employees also brought them hot coffee.

“It’s a little bit wet, but people have been very generous,” said Stefanie Iennaco, of Team Lovestruck.

The “Paint the Town Purple” tradition kicks off the fundraising and preparation that happens in the weeks leading up to the event. The day prior to the boot drive, Highway Superintendent Dave Paganelli, along with other town officials, literally painted the road purple.

Many Yorktown businesses also caught the purple fever, and showed support for the cause. Club Fit had a booth set up at its Jefferson Valley location and students at Pied Piper Preschool learned about Relay for Life and celebrated the event’s kick off.

The Relay for Life event will be held Friday, June 9, at Jack DeVito Field, where survivors, their families and the general public will unite under the common goal of one day finding a cure for cancer.

To join in the fight, visit

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