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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 Brady Brothers may only be 15, but they are already making a name for themselves. Sea Cliff twins Dylan and Cody Brady are determined to make their mark on the music industry and follow through with their number one passion. The North Shore High School juniors spent their entire summer working on their EP, You + Me, which was released last month on iTunes, and Dylan has also been pegged for a “Make Your Mark” segment currently airing on the Disney Channel.

The Brady Brothers have music in their blood, and being twins, also feel that collaboration they have as a duo works better than any other band combination they’ve experienced thus far in their careers.

 

Dylan, who says he has been singing since the day he was born and took up the drums at age 6, notes, “We know each other so well; when we’re on stage, if I want to do something different, I can look at him a certain way and he’ll know what I’m saying.”

In an unusual change of venue, the Glen Cove City Council held its Sept. 23 meeting at the Webb Institute instead of City Hall. Before the meeting, more than 100 residents and the council members were given a tour of the college. 

 

Mayor Reginald Spinello said,  “Keith Michel [Webb President] suggested we could use the venue for the city and I thought having a city council meeting there would be an ideal way to show off the city’s precious history. I am hoping that the Holocaust Center will also allow us the opportunity next year.” He added, “There are a few other notable places in Glen Cove to have meetings like this to showcase the city.”


Sports

The North Shore Schools Women’s Cross-Country team traveled to Canton, New York (a few miles away from Canada) to compete in the SUNY Canton Pre-State Invitational. This will be the location for the upcoming New York State Cross-Country Championship in November. Starting where they left off last season, the Vikings placed first by more than 40 points. 

Entering the season, the team had a winning streak of 76-0 in league competition and won six consecutive county championships. 

The Falcon Pride Athletic Booster Club and a generous group of alumni have hit one out of the park with their assistance in upgrading the high school softball field. 

 

Throughout the process, former and current Falcon softball players worked together for a good cause.


Calendar

Cocktail Party Benefit - October 4

Sea Cliff Mini Mart - October 5

Public Hearing - October 7


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