YORKTOWN, N.Y. – Richard J. Adamski, who co-founded Support Connection more than two decades ago in memory of his wife, died last week at the age of 75.
Following the death of his wife, Myra, from breast cancer in 1994, Adamski and dozens of her friends and co-workers travelled to New York City to participate in a breast cancer awareness walk. On the return bus home, Adamski and co-founder Nancy Heller had the idea to do a similar walk in Northern Westchester, and the Support-A-Walk was born.
The walk eventually led to the creation of Support Connection, a Yorktown-based charity organization that has provided support services to thousands of women around the United States battling breast and ovarian cancer.
“He was a classy guy,” Heller said. “He was very dedicated to the organization.”
Entering its 23rd year, the Support-A-Walk, held at FDR Park in Yorktown, remains Support Connection’s largest fundraiser, drawing thousands of participants every October. The walk offers family members and friends the opportunity to honor loved ones who have died from or are battling breast or ovarian cancer.
Heller said there will likely be a tribute to Heller at this year’s walk on Sunday, Oct. 1.
“He was a great man, a great friend and a wonderful human being,” Heller said.
Katherine Quinn, executive director of Support Connection since September 1996, said it was important to Adamski that all counselors be cancer survivors themselves.
“He did not want to see another woman or family go through what his wife did without support,” Quinn said.
Adamski continued to support the organization for the remainder of his life. At the time of his death, he was a member of Support Connection’s Board of Directors.
“He was a person of great integrity, character, and compassion. He just was the salt of the earth,” Quinn said. “He was loved by so many friends. Anyone who knew him respected him and loved him. He would give you the shirt off his back. It’s a tremendous loss. I’m devastated that he’s gone.”
Quinn described Adamski as a decent and humble person who never sought credit.
“What grew from the love for his wife, Myra, has now helped thousands of people,” Quinn said. “Our promise will be to continue doing good work in his name.”
Memorial contributions in Adamski’s name may be made to Support Connection, 40 Triangle Center, Suite 100, Yorktown Heights, N.Y. 10598-4100.