Friday, 11 May 2012 00:00
Professional and amateur skaters took to the ice April 15 for a charity hockey game to raise money for two very dedicated and worthwhile organizations. The 2nd Annual Kings Park/ Commack Alumni vs. NY Islanders Alumni Hockey Game, held at the Superior Ice Rink, attracted 1,200 spectators and raised approximately $16,000 to be split between the Hicksville-based Sarah Grace Foundation For Children With Cancer, Inc. and the Northport-based Frank J. Rizzo V Memorial Scholarship Fund.
“The turnout was phenomenal. What a wonderful way to honor Sarah and Frank,” said Matt Weippert, who along with his wife Marissa, established The Sarah Grace Foundation For Children With Cancer, Inc. nine years ago.
Kevin Barattini, captain of the Kings Park/Commack Alumni Hockey Team, organized the fundraiser to support both The Sarah Grace Foundation and the scholarship fund established in honor of his friend and teammate Frank Rizzo who died in a car accident in September 2010.
This year’s game pitted retired professional hockey players Clark Gillies, Benoit Hogue, Bobby Nystrom, Mick Vukota and Doug Weight, among others, against members of the Kings Park-Commack Alumni Hockey Team. Former New York Jet and radio personality Boomer Esiason along with co-host Craig Carton also took to the ice. Following the game, which ended 6-5 in favor of the all-stars, the players signed and auctioned off their game-day jerseys.
“We cannot begin to thank Kevin Barattini for organizing the event and, once again, making us a part of it,” said Weippert, adding, “We are also especially grateful to Sal Ferro, president of Alure Home Improvement, for his generosity and for being a friend and supporter, and to Rich McGuigan for use of the rink. We are so grateful to everyone involved who recognized both these causes and reached out to make a difference.”
After losing their 12-year-old daughter Sarah Grace to Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) in 2002, the Weippert’s set out to keep her memory alive while helping other children and their families facing the financial and emotional challenges and hardships brought upon by childhood cancer.
The non-profit, volunteer-run organization works directly with social workers and staff members from the Pediatric Oncology Departments at various New York hospitals – including Cohen Children’s Medical Center of New York, Winthrop’s Cancer Center for Kids, Nassau University Medical Center and Children’s Hospital of New York-Presbyterian – to help meet the needs of the sick child and their siblings.
To do so, the non-profit, volunteer-run organization relies on donations and money raised through garage sales, custom Christopher Radko Heart and Angel collector pieces and special fundraising events such as its annual Night of Laughter, the charity hockey game and, most recently, a dance-a-thon sponsored by Steppin-N-Style Dance Studio in Levittown.
Students obtained pledges for the amount of time they would dance and, according to studio owner Laura Bowen, all participants danced for two hours. The event was a huge success, with approximately $1,100 raised for the Foundation.
“We are extremely grateful to Laura for organizing the dance-a-thon and to her students for participating,” said Weippert. “Our heartfelt thanks go out to them for their efforts and for honoring Sarah’s memory.”
Bowen, whose daughter was friends with Sarah Grace, said she always wanted to do something to help the Foundation and its mission. A dance-a-thon, she said, was the perfect fundraiser. “The girls had a blast and really enjoyed doing something for a good cause,” Bowen said, adding, “I would love to do it again next year!”
According to Weippert, the money raised at the charity hockey game and the dance-a-thon will “help fund the many programs the Foundation sponsors throughout the year, including The Bead Program, Gabe’s Chemo Duck, book carts and more as well as enable us to continue providing financial aid to families in need.”
Currently, The Sarah Grace Foundation For Children With Cancer, Inc. is gearing up for its 2nd Annual Theatrical fundraiser. “Unrehearsed: A Night of Improv” will take place on Friday, June 1 and Saturday, June 2 at 7 p.m. in the Hicksville United Methodist Church Social Hall, 130 W. Old Country Road, Hicksville.
The Sarah Grace Foundation For Children With Cancer, Inc. provides financial support and other assistance to help families offset medical costs and other related expenses. To do so, The Sarah Grace Foundation relies heavily on donations from the community. To find out how you can help, call 433-9745 or visit www.The SarahGraceFoundation.org. Donations or requests for information may be sent to The Sarah Grace Foundation at 217 Plainview Road, Hicksville, NY 11801.
Saturday, 30 August 2014 00:00
Who says a bride has to wear white on her wedding day? For South Asian brides, no color is off limits including brilliant reds, blues and golds. For the past 17 years, Vastra in Hicksville has been helping brides from New York and across the country find the perfect dress for their special day.
There’s no lack of Indian sari boutiques in Hicksville but according to Marketing Director Prachi Jain, what sets Vastra apart from the others is its emphasis on one of a kind, hand-embroidered Indian dresses.
Friday, 29 August 2014 00:00
Many would consider it rude to play with your food. That is unless, you’re participating in the Long Island Potato Festival. The event, which was held in Cutchogue, NY, included a mashed potato sculpting contest which was dominated by Hicksville’s Sarah Tsang, who won first place in the youth division.
Contestants were allowed to use any tools and materials to help bring their creation to life. Sculptures were left on display throughout the day and voted on by festival goers.
Friday, 29 August 2014 00:00
Somehow LSA, the Levittown Swimming Association, has always been a part of our Hicksville summers. My family’s introduction to the organization in 1975 began when our two older daughters tried out for the Parkway Swim Team, one of the nine teams that competed through July and most of August.
It was no small task for the younger girl, swimming her first full lap in the deep end of the pool to qualify at age six, but both girls made the team and donned the coveted gray tee shirts as the trees cast their shadows over the pool water at the end of practice.
Thursday, 28 August 2014 00:00
I’m convinced that the soul and the center of Hicksville is Cantiague Park. And why not? Every weekend it’s a beehive of activity ranging from tennis matches, hand ball games, basketball and baseball games, swimming, hockey and of course ‘the beautiful game’ called soccer. Cantiague has two professional soccer fields that are perfectly manicured and begging to be played on. And they were. This weekend was the finals of the East Meadow Soccer Tournament which is one of the largest youth soccer tournaments in the nation, sponsored by the US Soccer Federation. There were 18 boys and girls teams in the finals and a large staff of referees.
Two of the refs were Steven Orozco and Randy Vogt who told me how soccer had been growing and has now become the second most popular participation sport in America with 25 million of us watching this year’s World Cup. I also met and interviewed Joe Codispoti who along with Tim Bradbury is the head coach of Rockville Centre United, a U16 boys club. This U16 team has a group of standout players led by Jack Graziano, AJ Codispoti and Pat Basile who have been playing together for six years.