The male players of the Lake Valhalla Softball Club have been wearing pink proudly this week as the league has been raising money for its first Cancer Awareness Week.
During the week, each of the 136 players in the league was asked to donate at least $10 at games toward an effort called "Play for Pink," which will help send a team of 13 Montville women, including breast cancer survivor Jamie Mach, to the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer in New York City in October. Money raised for the 39.3-mile walk will be used to support breast cancer research and awareness.
Mach, a 45-year-old resident, was diagnosed with breast cancer last year. She felt a lump in her breast and went to her doctor for a mammogram. The doctor did not notice anything unusual, but Mach was convinced something was wrong. She received a second opinion, at which time her doctor located the lump and opted for surgery. A biopsy confirmed that she had an agressive form of Stage 1 breast cancer.
"If my doctor didn't have the intuition to do the surgery and take it out... I would have been in a much graver situation," Mach said.
Mach, a mother of three, had to have repeat surgeries and continues to take daily and monthly medications as an alternative to chemotherapy.
"I opted to do it this way beause I felt that chemo was so much more invasive on my body," she said.
She also had to endure a six-week radiation therapy program which she concluded in March.
"That was the most difficult," she said.
Now Mach is doing well and said she wants to help others who are going through a similar experience. As her husband is a player on the Lake Valhalla Softball Club men's league, she reached out to commissioner Jason Crimmins to see if the league would be interested in helping to sponsor Mach, her daughter, and several of their friends in the Avon walk. Mach said Crimmins was incredibly supportive and the male players sported pink t-shirts, bandanas and wristbands during the games.
"This was the first year we have instituted Cancer Awareness Week and look forward to continue instituting this great cause in years to come," Crimmins said. "Many members have contributed their time and efforts in a hope for a cure and the Lake Valhalla Softball Club, as well as myself, are honored to be a part of helping even more towards finding that cure."
Crimmins said he has personally been affected by cancer, as his close friends, Josine Murano, Joan Lindquist, Vinnie Dotterweich and Mach, among others, have "battled and won in the fight against cancer."
"When I was approached about the idea of hosting 'Play for Pink,' I said 'yes' without hesitation, simply for those who have fought, those who are still fighting and those who hopefully will not have to fight," Crimmins said.
Crimmins said the past week has been inspiring, watching the players come together to support the cause. Nearly $4,000 was raised within the first three games alone, Mach said. Additionally, Alexa Mach, 16, Jamie Mach's daughter, sold t-shirts at the this spring to help raise money.
"People were giving hundreds of dollars, it was just beyond unbelieveable, the generosity of some people," Mach said.
To show their appreciation, the Machs donated two Yankees tickets to be raffled off to a donor at one of the games. Mach said she has been impressed by the support of her community.
"Everybody's been great, everybody's been very supportive," she said.