Carmen F. Amato Sr. didn't have it easy in life. He lost his wife, Grace, in 1980, when his children were just 13, 11 and 6.
"My Dad raised us on his own and as I got older I helped a great deal," his son, Carmen F. Amato Jr., recalled. "While other kids my age were doing things they should be doing, I was doing things to help my Dad in the household."
Just two years after his wife died, Amato was diagnosed with adrenal cancer. He fought the disease for 20 years, through nine major surgeries, before he died in 2003.
And his sons, Carmen and Ralph, and daughter, Maria, will be thinking of him when they walk on Saturday for "Team Knute" in the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life at Veteran's Park.
"He took everything in stride and one of his many sayings was "what is meant to be is meant to be,' " Amato said. "He never had any regrets and self-pity about his cancer. We miss him every day."
The event kicks off at noon and ends on Sunday at 6 a.m. Team members will walk a non-stop circuit around the field near the park's bandstand.
Amato recalls his father, nicknamed "Knute," as an amazing man, a role model and a terrific father. Carmen Jr. was only 15 when his father was diagnosed.
"It's upsetting that he did not have the chance to see his two boys get married and meet his daughter-in-laws and his two grandchildren," Amato said. "He did see my sister get married, but he was in so much pain, he could not walk my sister down the isle. My brother and I escorted her. It was sad. I cried the entire time down the aisle."
Shortly after his daughter's wedding, Carmen Sr. was back in Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York for another surgery.
To make a donation to Team Knute, visit www.relayforlife.org.