Despite the frigid winds on Sunday, October 2, community members, health advocates and supporters of the fight against breast cancer came together at Stewart International Airport for the 2022 Hudson Valley Plane Pull. $67,000 has been raised so far, and more funds are still coming in at this current time.
The plane pull was brought about by Real Men Wear Pink David Claisse which will benefit the Real Men Wear Pink campaign from the American Cancer Society. On that Sunday morning, about a dozen teams with varying members joined together. Several teams included Rhinebeck Bank, Belfor, Hudson Valley Women in Business, Glio Leo, Montefiore St. Luke’s Cornwall, Resorts World Hudson Valley and the Templar Knights Motorcycle Club. Military members and personnel and Newburgh Free Academy Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps [ROTC] cadets also participated in the plane pull.
Teams were made up of ten members who would be pulling a United GoJet CRG 145. This type of plane is a 50 passenger plane. The goal for each team would be to compete for the fastest time from the start to finish point. The second fastest time would also be recognized, and teams with the most spirit and biggest heart would also be able to be recognized.
The opening ceremony for the plane pull began with the singing of the national anthem by Julia Roome, followed by guest speaker Eileen Connors who shared her journey and fight with cancer. Teams would then gather with pull organizers and referees to go over safety and other plane pull related items.
Kathy Barnett, who was waiting with her team, shared that she was remembering friends and family that have fought and won the battle and those who have lost but are remembered today. “It’s a great cause. Today, we’re here raising money for breast cancer awareness. There’s probably 20 or 30 teams here today, trying to raise as much money as we can to get support out to the community, and to all the local folks who are battling and fighting every day,” Barnett said.
Barnett shared that men and women should go out and be cancer screened, stay on top of their health and to provide support for all those who may be in need of it.
Kathleen Bennett of the Hudson Valley Women in Business Team was excited to be out there with her fellow team members, supporting the fight against breast cancer. Bennett also shared that the group has already discussed doing the event next year. “I’m just glad that we [Hudson Valley Women in Business] discovered this. It’s October, it’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Everybody, you know, just do what you can so we can all get ahead of this thing,” said Bennett.
For that morning, Bennett shared that she is remembering her grandmother who passed from breast cancer, a good friend of hers who’s battling and she herself will be going in a week’s time for testing.
Mark Kennedy, along with mother-in-law Karen Skinner, dressed in lion themed costumes, joined their friends and colleagues as part of the Glio Leo team at the plane pull. Skinner is also the current owner of Continental Screen Print & Design, Inc. that made the shirts for the plane pull. Kennedy is the CEO and Co-Founder of the Glio Leo Foundation.
“It’s so nice to see the community come together. I know it’s the start of breast cancer awareness month but for us, and Team Glio Leo, we’re really thinking about it as cancer awareness. Cancer is everywhere,” said Kennedy. “ I think everybody’s here to just come together and be one unit to try to help figure this out together. And I’m sure we’re all thinking of our loved ones,” Skinner said.
On the day of the pull, both Kennedy and Skinner remembered over the course of that day the life and memory of Shelby Kennedy, Mark’s wife and Karen’s daughter, whose purpose with the Glio Leo Foundation was to raise money and awareness for glioblastoma, which she lost the battle to several months before. Glioblastoma is a rare and aggressive form of cancer that can originate in the brain or spinal cord.
Over the course of the morning into the afternoon, outdoor games were offered, a rock climbing wall for kids was available, a live DJ provided music and entertainment, kid and adult crafts were offered, a photo roamer captured shots of the event and several food trucks offered warmed food. Organizers and supporters thanked all who contributed and were able to attend this event.
The American Cancer Society [ACS] reports that breast cancer is the most common cancer in women here in the United States. Breast cancer mainly arises in middle-aged and older women. The age of 62 is the median age at the time of a diagnosis. Additionally, women younger than 45 can still be diagnosed. In 2022, the ACS estimated that about 287,850 cases will be diagnosed in women, about 51,400 new cases of ductal carcinoma in situ [DCIS], also known as stage 0 breast cancer, will be diagnosed and about 43,250 women will die from breast cancer.
More information and statistics can be found at the American Cancer Society website at cancer.org/cancer/breast-cancer/about/how-common-is-breast-cancer.html.