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Night Of Laughter Held In Honor Of Sarah Grace

Foundation thankful to local community, supporters

For the past nine years, The Sarah Grace Foundation For Children With Cancer, Inc. has dedicated itself to helping children and their families faced with the financial and emotional challenges and hardships brought upon by childhood cancer.

To do so, the nonprofit, volunteer-run organization established in 2003 by Hicksville residents Matt and Marissa Weippert in honor of their daughter, Sarah Grace, relies on donations and money raised through garage sales, the sale of custom Christopher Radko Heart and Angel collector pieces and special fundraising events, including its recent Night of Laughter.

Held March 23 at the Milleridge Cottage, the 9th Annual Night of Laughter featured a sit-down dinner and three hours of standup comedy delivered by MC Rick Morgan, impersonator John Santo and comedians Ellen Karis, Rich Ramirez and Pete Michaels.

Close to 150 people attended this year’s fundraiser and helped support the foundation through event and raffle ticket sales. Attendees had an opportunity to partake in raffles for more than 70 different gift baskets, many containing prizes worth close to $500 each and filled with everything from sports memorabilia, restaurant and entertainment gift certificates to gardening, automobile and photography items.

As in previous years, the foundation held a 50/50 raffle with $900 in prizes and raffled off four grand prizes. This year’s top prizes included a GE Profile Deluxe Wine Center complete with a wine and champagne assortment, four Walt Disney World one-day park hopper passes and $250 Disney Gift Card, a Great Wolf Lodge (Poconos) one-night stay for four with water park passes and a $380 gift card and a gift package from The Inn at Fox Hollow.

Overall, the 9th Annual Night of Laughter raised almost $10,000, which the foundation will put toward funding the many programs it sponsors throughout the year, including, but not limited to, holiday parties, meal and transportation allowances, financial aid, toys, games, sporting event tickets, books, etc. In addition, the foundation also sponsors The Bead Program, The Escape Hatch and is the Long Island/New York regional sponsor of Gabe’s Chemo Duck.

The Night of Laughter fundraiser is The Sarah Grace Foundation’s largest annual fundraising event and, as such, “Provides the funding necessary for the foundation to administer the many programs and events sponsored for the children throughout the year,” said Matt Weippert. “All sponsored programs directly benefit the children and as an all-volunteer organization, all funds raised directly benefit the children we serve.”

Weippert is extremely grateful to those who have continued to support the foundation since its inception and help keep Sarah’s memory alive.

“In the economic times we live in it is difficult for any charitable organization to raise the funds necessary for their programs. The Sarah Grace Foundation is fortunate to have a solid support base through a well-rounded network of family, friends and community,” said Weippert, adding, “The support we have today is as strong as it has been from the inception of our organization – almost 10 years ago. We are extremely grateful for the support continually provided to us as a tribute to Sarah and an honor to her memory.”

March was a busy month for the foundation, which also held its Hugs for Sarah campaign and 4th Annual Hugs for Sarah Memorial Blood Drive. Co-sponsored this year with the East Street School PTA, the blood drive took place at Hicksville’s William P. Bennett Community Center on March 31 – a day that the Weipperts hold close to their heart.

“March 31 is Sarah’s birthday. She would have turned 22 this year and we cannot think of a better way to celebrate her life then donating blood, ‘the gift of life,’” Weippert said.

In the days leading up to Sarah’s birthday and at the blood drive, volunteers from the foundation distributed small packages of Hershey Hugs candy with a special message attached.

“The ‘Hugs’ are to remind people how sweet and short life is,” said Weippert. “Our goal is to spread the message about how sweet and short life is. Everyone should spend that extra moment to hug their children or someone they love.”

The blood drive brought in close to 50 potential donors and resulted in the collection of 39 pints of blood. “Throughout Sarah’s illness, the blood and platelets she needed was immeasurable. Giving back is what it’s all about and what better way to honor one life by helping another,” said Weippert.

For more information on The Sarah Grace Foundation For Children With Cancer, Inc., call 433-9745 or visit www.TheSarahGraceFoundation.org. Donations or requests for information may be sent to the foundation at 217 Plainview Road, Hicksville, NY 11801.

News

Rhea Manjrekar traded in her running shoes and track shorts for high heels and an evening gown recently, as she participated in the Miss Teen India New York pageant. The 15-year-old from Hicksville snagged the title of first-runner up, and will be competing for the national title in December. 

 

This was Manjrekar’s first time competing in a pageant. But she started out with major doubts about even participating. 

 

 “At first, I didn’t want to do it. I have extreme stage fright. My mom told me to try it out because she thought it would boost my confidence and look good on my college applications, so I went for the practice,” Manjrekar said. “The girls were so nice. I thought I wouldn’t fit in but I made friends immediately so I decided to do it.” 

The parking lot of Sears in Hicksville transformed into a sea of cars this past Saturday as part of the ninth annual Long Island Cruizin’ For A Cure Car Show. 

 

The show, which was founded by Jericho prostate cancer survivor Sandy Kane, is the only car show on Long Island dedicated to raising funds for research, testing and also education for early detection of prostate cancer. The all-volunteer car show usually draws around 4,000 attendees. It features 600 cars, trucks, motorcycles and more; a perfect day for car enthusiasts and the like.


Sports

This November, Hicksville resident Marlo Signoracci will head to Florida for Ironman, a demanding, long-distance triathlon that includes biking, running and swimming. Here, she shares her story as she prepares for one of the most physically challenging athletic events out there.

 

If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you! 

At 6 a.m. on a blustery Saturday morning 1,600 people arrived at Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park to participate in the 27th annual Runner’s Edge Tobay triathlon and tri- relay race. The participants were from all over Long Island, some from upstate NY, a few from out of state and were all ages and some even with disabilities but all came with one goal in mind, to finish.

The course starts out as a half mile swim in Oyster Bay Harbor, then a 9.3 mile bike ride through Oyster Bay, Laurel Hollow, and Cove neck which is very hilly but finishes with a 2.9 mile downhill to the finish. Then the riders have one more leg of the race which is 3.2 mile run through Mill Neck and Brookville, up to Planting Fields Arboretum and back down to Roosevelt Park to the finish line.


Calendar

Board of Ed Meeting - September 17

Back To School Night - September 18

Pasta Dinner Fundraiser - September 20


Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
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