Paula Natale, of Shrub Oak, will serve as a walk ambassador for Support Connection’s annual Support-a-Walk on Sunday, Oct. 6.

Held every year at FDR Park in Yorktown Heights, the walk brings attention to the needs of people affected by breast and ovarian cancer and raises funds for Support Connection’s free counseling and other support services for those affected by these diseases.

Walk ambassadors share their personal stories to illustrate the spirit and purpose of the annual event. In honor of the walk’s 25th anniversary, this year’s ambassadors were chosen because of their longtime participation in the event. 

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The two ambassadors are Natale and Melissa Frederick (Cortlandt Manor)

Natale recently celebrated her 20-year anniversary as a breast cancer survivor. In 1999, when she learned of her diagnosis, she was understandably devastated and didn’t know where to turn. That’s why Natale is so grateful that friends told her about Support Connection. When she called the organization for the first time, she was surprised but pleased and comforted to hear the voice of a longtime friend: Katherine Quinn, Support Connection’s executive director.

From that day forward, Natale knew Support Connection was there for her. She participated in support groups and met other women who understood what she was going through. As she recovered and began feeling better, Natale became one of the organization’s most enthusiastic cheerleaders. Any time she meets someone dealing with breast or ovarian cancer, in addition to offering them hope by sharing her experiences, Natale encourages them to reach out to Support Connection for the help she knows is waiting for them.

“I tell women Support Connection will help them get through cancer, from start to finish,” Natale said. “The people there are so warm and caring. They helped me get through all these years.”

Over the past 20 years, Natale and her family have attended numerous Support Connection events. They never miss the Support-a-Walk, walking with friends (including Paula’s NewYork-Presbyterian Hudson Valley Hospital “family”) who all believe in the cause. They’ve raised thousands of dollars altogether. Natale’s son, Steve Kollias, recently joined Support Connection’s Board of Directors.

“I want to try to give back to help other people the way Support Connection helped me,” Natale said of being named a walk ambassador.
She encourages everyone to join her to see for themselves the power of support.

“What strikes me the most is the thousands of people who show up for the walk,” she said. “It shows love, courage, and hope in all of these people’s faces.”

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