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Kicking For Sara

To say that Sara Testa has been having a difficult year would be an understatement. During a time when the Glen Cove High School junior should be focused on college tours, taking the SATs, playing soccer and generally enjoying being a teen, she has instead had to endure the better part of the school year in the hospital with an undiagnosed condition.

 

“It’s been a long battle for her,” says Sara’s mother, Ricki Testa.

 

“She spent Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, Valentine’s Day, and the day of the junior prom in the hospital,” says Rose Iannelli, a family friend whose daughter, Tanni, is a classmate of Sara’s.

 

Sara suffered a “presumed” brain stem encephalitis which has affected her vision and her ability to eat or even to swallow food, though the cause of her illness is still unknown, and therefore, difficult to treat.

 

“It’s been really bad...we thought we were going to lose her,” says Iannelli.

 

“Her own body is attacking the brain stem,” says Ricki.

 

Sara was an All-Conference soccer play for the girls varsity team last fall, and was healthy until November. Then she suddenly started having headaches and went to the hospital for the first time with a migraine. Since then, things got worse, with symptoms including the inability to open her eyes, move her limbs or swallow food.

 

Sara has had numerous MRIs, a blood transfusion and while she has just returned home again, she does require a feeding tube. And according to Iannelli, the ongoing treatment costs include physical therapy and new eyeglasses in addition to the hospital bills. 

 

To add to the family’s woes, Sara’s father has been out of work for more than a year.

 

“Things have been tight here,” says Ricki. “We lost our insurance and had to go on Medicaid, and a lot of her doctors don’t take Medicaid.”

 

On a recent Sunday, Iannelli and other supporters were outside of the Glen Cove Bagel Cafe asking for donations and trying to raise awareness about the struggle the local girl is going through. To date, their efforts have raised $4,800, and they are continuously looking for new ways to raise funds.

 

Kicks For Sara, an event sponsored by DECA and organized by Tanni Iannelli and Rosa Pangari, will take place at 3 p.m. on Friday, May 16, in the high school gym. The admission to the kickball tournament ($4 to play, $2 to watch) will go toward raising funds for the Testa family. They will also be selling soccer balls.

 

“Her dream is to play college soccer,” says Ricki.

 

 And, while the 17-year-old is currently only attending  one class at school every day and is mainly home schooled, Rick says, “She is forging ahead, pushing herself...she’s a very strong girl. The things she went through, I don’t think any child could survive.”

 

The family has been to hospitals all over the state and is currently trying to get into a children’s hospital in Pennsylvania in hopes of getting a diagnosis. Ricki says Sara even had a spinal tap and vial sent to Barcelona, Spain, but they have still not gotten a diagnosis. She says their goal is to get to National Institutes of Health (NIH).

 

A profile has also been created for Sara on www.youcaring.com. Those interested in contributing can visit the site or attend the kickball tournament. They are aiming to raise $150,000 by next February.

 

“We’re crossing our fingers and saying our prayers that this will work and we’ll find the antibodies to fix her,” says Ricki.


News

The Glen Cove City Council’s decision to allow amplified music at outdoor cafes at last week’s special meeting was music to the ears of The View Grill manager Frank Venturino. The council voted 6-1 in favor of the decision to allow music from the period of Aug. 12 to Sept. 30. Councilman Efraim Spagnoletti was the only council member to vote no on the resolution.

 

“We just want to have some background entertainment for our patrons while they are at our restaurant,” said Venturino. “We don’t plan to get wild with the music. We just want to support local talent who entertain people with a microphone and maybe an acoustic guitar from 3 to 7 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.”

Mayor Reginald Spinello is pictured with students at the School for Language and Communication Development in Glen Cove. The students had prepared a showcase of their projects for a “World Day Celebration.”  They spoke to the guests about the many different cultures and languages spoken around the world. 

 

“The administration, faculty, and staff at the School for Language and Communication Development provide the students with an exceptional education and I am very proud that they are a part of our great city,” said Mayor Spinello. 



Sports

All athletes interested in putting their bodies to the ultimate test can hop on over to Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park in Oyster Bay, which will once again be the site of Long Island’s premiere multisport event – the 27th annual Runner’s Edge - Town of Oyster Bay Triathlon on Saturday, Aug. 23, and the Runner’s Edge – Town of Oyster Bay Junior Triathlon for youngsters ages 8-13 on Sunday, Aug. 24. 

 

The Saturday main event is a “sprint” triathlon, which consists of a half-mile swim in Oyster Bay harbor, a one loop 15 kilometer bike ride over hill and dale through beautiful Oyster Bay, Oyster Bay Cove and Laurel Hollow, and a 5 kilometer run through Mill Neck and Brookville, “up” to Planting Fields Arboretum and “down”to the finish at back at  Roosevelt  Park.

Kristen Gillman earned a come-from-behind two-up victory over Brooke Mackenzie Henderson in the 36-hole championship match of the 2014 U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship, being conducted at the 6,297-yard, par-70 Nassau Country Club in Glen Cove. The final match was held on Sunday, Aug. 10.

 

Gillman, 16, of Austin, Texas, was three down through 26 holes to Henderson, 16, of Canada. But Gillman, a junior at Lake Travis High School, birdied five of the final 10 holes to complete the remarkable rally.


Calendar

Live Music - August 20

Sunset Serenades - August 21

Sea Cliff Beach Concerts - August 22


Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com