Sunset Tavern stands up to cancer

By Raquel Garcia….

Golfers (left to righ)Shane Close, Manny Lopez, Jahn Kirchoff and Patty Karpinski on the links

The deluge of rain that soaked the Crandon Golf Course at Key Biscayne could not dampen the spirits of the over 40 players who gathered together at the 10th Annual Sunset Tavern Golf Tournament in support of the Stand Up to Cancer organization honoring the memory of Catherine Karpinski.

“Thank God I had t-shirts for everybody because we all got soaked,” said Catering and Special Events Director of Sunset Tavern and Deli Lane Patty Karpinski. “We managed to make it through nine holes before the major monsoon hit and then we called it a day and headed to the Tavern. Everybody was laughing; we had a great time and ended up bringing in over $5000 for a great cause. The support has been incredible.”

Patty Karpinski’s sister Catherine was diagnosed in 2008 with a rare form of cancer; appendiceal cancer. It is a hard to treat “nuisance” cancer that essentially lies hidden behind the appendix and feeds off other cells in the body, thus creating cancer clusters that are difficult to contain and treat.
“This type of cancer is like ants running around all over the place in your body. Originally they thought she had ovarian cancer and eventually discovered it was appendiceal. It is the same kind of story that you never think it is going to hit you and when it hit, it hit hard,” said Patty.

“Catherine was the strong one in the family. She was a great sister, mom, wife, and teacher in Orange County New York for over 20 years. She was in amazingly great shape. We lost her a year ago September 15th, just two days from her 59th birthday.

The Karpinski’s have always been a close knit family. Of Polish Catholic descent and from Long Island, New York, Patty was the baby in the family, Catherine the oldest and brothers Vardi and John are in between. They lost their father 25 years ago but matriarch Helen is now 94 years old and still living in Nassau County with one of her sons. She likes to relax at home where she still cooks every night and does the household laundry.

“Before we lost Catherine she was able to come out to the tournament and see me play. We decided after her passing to hold the event as a cancer fundraiser in her name from then on. Every event I host now benefits Stand Up to Cancer.”

Patty credits Catherine’s exceptional fitness for her long endurance with an aggressive cancer. The family was able to enjoy several years together following her prognosis and today not only is her life celebrated by family and friends in Florida but in her hometown of Cornwall, New York as well.

The Orange County School System has created a scholarship endowment fund to benefit underprivileged children in Catherine’s honor. The school grounds a also established a beautiful meditative flower garden with marble benches where kids can go and enjoy quiet time in a natural setting as a tribute to her life.

To find out more about Stand Up to Cancer visit the website at To donate in Catherine Karpinski’s contact Sunset Tavern (305) 665-9996.

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