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Fundraising Events Held In Honor Of Sarah Grace

Hockey game, dance-a-thon helping Hicksville-based Sarah Grace Foundation

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.

News

When life hands you lemons, make lemonade. That’s just what a Hicksville baker is doing, except in her case it isn’t lemons, but a gluten-free diet. Her lemonade stand of choice is her brand new gluten-free eatery, “Jac’s Bakeshop and Bistro,” which held its grand opening on April 12.  

“I’m a baker who can’t even eat wheat or eggs,” said owner Jaclyn Messina, chuckling at the irony.

There’s a lot you can do in 99 minutes. You could cook dinner, play a non-stop soccer game, watch a romantic comedy or hang out with Odysseus, Achilles and Hercules. If you chose the last option, Hicksville High School’s upcoming theatre production of The Iliad, The Odyssey, and All of Greek Mythology in 99 Minutes or Less  is the place for you.

The mouthful of a title says it all. The cast will take on over 80 characters as they speed through all of Greek mythology, including popular tales such as The Iliad and The Odyssey, in a little over an hour and a half.


Sports

Vito Sciascia was recently named Hicksville Soccer Club’s Volunteer of the Year at the 2014 Long Island Junior Soccer League 2014 Kick-off Convention.

Sciascia started coaching travel soccer in 1998 for a boys team, the Flash, who later changed their names to the Muddogs. He could always be found at various sporting fields trying to recruit new soccer players. He would make each of these boys feel important and there was always room for another player. He tried to never turn a child away and when other coaches were having trouble with a boy he would take them on his team, no one was ever too much for him. Sciascia found the good in all those boys and they in return respected him. He took them to many tournaments and solicited enough sponsorship so that it was never a financial burden on their families.

Cantiague Park Senior Men’s Golf League had its first tournament on Thursday April 4. Twenty golfers came out on on a crisp but sunny morning. Charlie Hong was the only man to score under a 40, with a 38 and won for low overall score. Jim O’ Brien  scored a 41, and won low overall net in a tie-breaker with Mike Guerriero.

Competition on the nine-hole course is divided into two divisions. Flight A is for players with a handicap of 13 or lower. Flight B is for players with a handicap of 14 or more. The league is a 100 percent handicap league. Any man 55 years or older is eligible for membership. We have many openings for this year, and you can sign up anytime throughout the the season.


Calendar

American Legion Meeting

April 21

HS Theater in the Round

April 24-26

Science Fair

April 26



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