Patient Care

Wilmot Cancer Institute to celebrate cancer survivorship at fourth annual Wilmot Warrior Walk

Sep. 9, 2016
More than 730 people expected on Sunday, Sept. 11

UR Medicine’s Wilmot Cancer Institute will host its fourth annual Wilmot Warrior Walk to celebrate life beyond cancer on Sunday, Sept. 11 at the Highland Park Bowl in Rochester. The event features a certified 5K, certified 10K and a 1-mile walk. Proceeds will support cancer research at Wilmot as well as the Judy DiMarzo Cancer Survivorship Program, established in 2012 to help cancer survivors navigate life after treatment.  

More than 730 people are expected to attend this year’s event, which has already raised more than $55,000 through online donations. Since the first Wilmot Warrior Walk in 2013, the walk has raised more than $140,000 to support the survivorship program. This is the first year the event also benefits cancer research.

“More advances in cancer treatment make it possible to have more cancer survivors. Today, there are over 15 million cancer survivors living in the U.S. As research continues to make improvements, more people will live longer after a cancer diagnosis, but they will face new challenges adjusting to life after treatment,” says Jonathan W. Friedberg, M.D., M.M.Sc., director of Wilmot Cancer Institute. “The Wilmot Warrior Walk is important because, beyond a fantastic celebration, it provides funding for resources survivors need and helps fund cancer research happening right in our community.  We’re so grateful for the generosity Rochester continues to show in the local fight against cancer by participating in events like this.”

Following the races, a celebration of cancer survivorship will start at 10:30 a.m. Scott Spezzano from 98.9 the Buzz will serve as emcee and the No Name Band will play live music. Young participants can enjoy bounce houses, and food trucks will be on site to sell food. Community groups will have booths to share information about healthy living and cancer survivorship. Participants can also try yoga or tai chi and learn from an exercise physiologist from URMC’s PEAK Lab. Because it is the 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, a moment of remembrance will take place and firefighters from Rochester Fire Department Truck 3 plan to attend with a fire truck.

During a ceremony starting at 11:45 a.m., 29 cancer survivors and caregivers will be recognized as honorees for the way they’ve approached life when dealing with a cancer diagnosis. This year’s honorees are:

  • John Aarne, rectal cancer survivor from Macedon, and Valerie Aarne, his daughter and caregiver
  • Kailee McManus, tongue cancer survivor from Avon
  • Paul Barden, rectal cancer survivor from Fairport
  • Meghan Bauer, acute lymphoblastic lymphoma survivor from Greece
  • Jason Buitrago, testicular cancer survivor from Rochester, and Christopher Buitrago, Jason’s husband and caregiver
  • Jimmy Catalano, diagnosed with bladder cancer and passed away in 2016
  • Walter Chatman, Hodgkin’s lymphoma survivor from Rochester
  • Frank Colasurdo, lung cancer survivor from Newark
  • Mike Crumb, pancreatic cancer survivor from Hilton
  • Charleen Davis, breast cancer survivor from Orlando, Florida
  • Dennis DeVelder, brain cancer survivor from Gates
  • Jessica Drexler, colon cancer survivor from Gates
  • Eugene Evanitsky, brain cancer survivor from Pittsford
  • James Garrity, prostate cancer and lymphoma survivor from Irondequoit
  • Mary Georger, caregiver from West Irondequoit
  • Lorraine Griggs, caregiver from Webster
  • Matthew Hazzard, lymphoma survivor from Cooperstown
  • Paris Lanning, caregiver from Greece
  • Robert Larter, non-Hodgkins lymphoma survivor from Rochester
  • Denise Lazore, from Brockport, survivor of cervical cancer, breast cancer, multiple myeloma and lung cancer
  • Olivia Marsh, Ewing’s sarcoma survivor from Brighton
  • Steven Pelino, brain cancer survivor from Penfield
  • Kevin Rhode, esophageal cancer survivor from Penfield
  • Walt Standhart, pancreatic cancer survivor from Greece
  • Jacqueline Vaccaro, lacrimal sac (sinus) cancer survivor from Greece
  • Willard “Jim” Walker, larynx cancer survivor from Greece
  • Jim Walsh, colorectal cancer survivor from Pittsford

“These honorees personify what the Wilmot Warrior Walk is all about – celebrating the positives of life despite the tragedy and challenges that a cancer diagnosis often brings,” says Tiffany Paine-Cirrincione, associate director, Advancement and Community Events for Wilmot Cancer Institute. “We are delighted to lift up these 29 individuals and all who have been touched by cancer at the Wilmot Warrior Walk on Sunday.”

The Wilmot Warrior Walk is sponsored by Christian Flooring, Karl and Debbie Klein, Wegmans, Shadow Lake Golf Club, Texas de Brazil, Dunkin Donuts, Morgan Stanley, Richard DiMarzo, Dixon Schwabl, e-Health Technologies, Erdman Anthony and Manning & Napier.

Registration for the Wilmot Warrior Walk is $25. Participants can register online through Friday, Sept. 9 at 5 p.m. or they can register the day of the event, beginning at 7:30 a.m. To learn more or register, visit


UR Medicine’s Wilmot Cancer Institute is the Finger Lakes region’s leader for cancer care and research. As a component of Strong Memorial Hospital, Wilmot Cancer Institute provides specialty cancer care services at the University of Rochester Medical Center and a network of locations throughout the region. The Institute also includes a team of 100 scientists who investigate many aspects of cancer, with an emphasis on how best to provide precision cancer care. To learn more, visit