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.
Thursday, 23 May 2013 00:00
Hicksville native Jae Lee recently rose to the top of his senior class at New York Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), winning the Critic Award for sportswear. But fashion wasn’t the path that Lee originally chose.
In high school, Lee excelled in art classes and thought that he wanted to go to college and major in fine arts. However, he said, it was while watching an episode of “Project Runway” that he had a revelation. “All of a sudden I was thinking that it was something I could/should do and that’s what kind of led to it,” he said. He made up his mind that he was going to apply to fashion school and enlisted the help of one of his art teachers in school to help him. “We really scrambled and put together this presentation in about two weeks, where other people, I’m sure, worked on theirs for months,” he said. Lee said that when he went to present his portfolio, he didn’t think the meeting went well at all. “Everyone was really well prepared,” he said. But, he admitted, it must have gone better than he thought, because he was accepted to FIT.
Thursday, 23 May 2013 00:00
In the face of cancelled air shows and the downgrading of NYC’s Fleet Week, Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano announced on May 9, that American soldiers will be forever honored on Long Island through the creation of the Museum of American Armor to be built at Old Bethpage Village Restoration thanks, in part, to a million dollar gift from Lawrence Kadish.
“We are watching powerful tributes to our American military reduced or eliminated across the nation and its just plain wrong,” stated County Executive Mangano. “Fortunately, the Memorial Day weekend air show at Jones Beach will be held regardless of the loss of the Thunderbirds, but Fleet Week in New York City will be greatly diminished and across the country air shows are being cancelled weekly. Nassau County is moving in another direction. An armor museum that honors every American soldier will be created on county property this year which will not only pay tribute to those who have defended our nation but will also strengthen the county’s tourism and destination industry and provide a new source of revenue.”
Thursday, 23 May 2013 00:00
The U.S. Tennis Association Long Island Region has recognized several Hicksville residents for their tennis playing or volunteering achievements. The group was honored at the USTA Long Island Region’s 23rd Annual Awards Dinner, which recognizes superior efforts both on and off the tennis court.
Terry Fontana received the Vitas Gerulaitis for the Love of Tennis award. She has been a longtime fixture in the Hicksville tennis community and is the driving force behind the Hicksville Community Tennis Association (CTA), which, since 1995, has been promoting the development of tennis as a means of healthy recreation and physical fitness and to create a community resource for physical activity throughout the area.
Thursday, 23 May 2013 00:00
It was a cold season for softball this year, colder than usual. Anyone who knows the sport recognizes that the weather can be changeable, but this softball season was fraught with snow, pouring rain, cancelled games, frigid temperatures, and blowing winds that would cause any team to crave the warmth of indoors.
That wasn’t the case with the Hicksville High School Lady Comets Varsity Softball team. They played through it all like champions, and endured the rough weather like superstars.