Residents of 17th Street between Third and Fourth Avenues gathered together on Saturday, August 16 for the ninth annual 17th Street Crusade to raise awareness in the fight against cancer.
“My aunt passed away nine years ago from breast cancer, and this block just came together and formed the 17th Street Crusade,” said event founder Melissa Anceravige. All money raised at the event is donated to the American Cancer Society(ACS) to further cancer research, and the donations have increased each year from $2,000 in year one to over $10,000 last year.
“I’m here for all the volunteers who make such a valiant effort to stand up and fight this disease,” said former 17th street resident Flo Santini. “I come down from upstate New York each year to support my cousins Melissa and Donna who started this event in remembrance of my sister Carmela.”
Music blared as local DJs performed to show their support for the event, and residents organized a clothing sale and barbecue to entertain and feed event participants. Volunteers also sold water bottles to people in passing cars to raise money, as well as a raffle offering prizes ranging from sports memorabilia to gift baskets.
On a more serious note, a pink banner hung from one of the homes on the block, listing all the people from the block’s various families who’ve lost the battle with this devastating illness.
Local politicians including Community Council President Donna Maxil of the 72nd Precinct showed up in support, as did countless others, and Anceravige said she hopes more people continue to stand up to cancer as the disease still devastates countless people in the U.S. and around the world.
“We hope events like this keep getting bigger and bigger because this is an illness that affects people of all backgrounds. [We want to] ensure no one else in the future loses a loved one too soon,” said Anceravige.