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Evening Of Tasting, Giving A Charitable Delight

Hicksville’s Magro family fundraises in memory of son, Michael

Last month, the Hicksville-based Michael Magro Foundation held their 8th Annual Evening of Tasting and Giving – a fundraiser celebrating a lifetime worth of friendship, togetherness and support from local residents.

When one first enters the expansive and breathtaking grounds upon which this event took place, The Woodlands, in beautiful Woodbury, one is met with a vision of an old mansion, that turn of the century feel of celebration. That wonderful feeling of knowing, combined with a sense of great anticipation, provided a feeling that suggested all in attendance were a part of something special.

Music at the event was graciously donated by the talents of Charles Henry, a professional who is not only humble but also so incredibly friendly. His music included pop, rock, disco, jazz, classical and alternative music, spanning the 1940s through today’s music.

There were grand auctions, which included raffle tickets at a price of five tickets for $20. There were 44 baskets that required an orange ticket. For a red raffle ticket, which was $20 for one Grand Raffle item, you could place your ticket into a basket for a dinner certificate at Porter House Restaurant of New York (donated by Michael Ammirati), or for a $250 gift certificate to Americana at Manhasset (two of which were donated by Americana), or for a flat screen television, which was graciously donated by Gutterman’s Chapel of Woodbury. In all, there were 12 grand raffle items to bid upon. That made 56 items for the raffles, and that was not even the best part of the evening.

The emcee for the evening was Tom Schaudel of Jewel Restaurant in Melville. After Terrie Magro began the evening with a presentation of a $10,000 donation from the Michael Magro Foundation to the Child Life Specialist of The Children’s Medical Center at Winthrop University Hospital, a video that was created by Andy Morreale, husband of Nancy Morreale, social worker for Winthrop’s Cancer Care for Kids, was displayed on two large flat-screen TVs. The Child Life video, which showcased the child life program, was the main focal point of the evening; the event was to raise awareness about the child life program at Winthrop’s Cancer Care for Kids (CCFK) as well as the inpatient pediatric unit. It was about children, children who have the ability now to be our future because of the advances that have been made with donations that have been attained by nonprofits such as The Michael Magro Foundation.

The Child Life Program begins in the emergency department of the Children’s Medical Center; a specialist from Child Life accompanies the pediatric patient to x-ray, on special procedures, in order to assist that child with comfort and easing anxiety. Child Life Programs are now located at the clinic in Hempstead, at Pediatric Associates on the second floor of the building where CCFK is located, at 120 Old Country Road in Mineola, as well as on the fifth floor of Winthrop University Hospital. Stony Brook Children’s Hospital also has a pediatric oncology division with Child Life Specialists that Terrie and the foundation have started to work with.

The Child Life Specialists are the unsung heroes of CCFK; they are there for all levels of care for the pediatric patient. They bring along an activities box, which is loaded with crayons, viewfinders, coloring books - all distractions in order to help the time pass quickly for a child. Distraction with play assists those children from worrying about what comes next, and having someone there to hold their hands, someone who can accompany them to CAT Scans and MRIs, lumbar punctures, and be there, during a procedure, who is not a parent, makes a world of difference for these children.

The newest item for the Child Life Specialists donated by the foundation is the Medical Memories book. It is a scrapbook for the children who are admitted to the emergency department. It allows the child to write and express their feelings, not unlike the popular book, Wreck This Journal. The Medical Memories scrapbook has been customized for Winthrop and is available in English and Spanish.

Everyone’s generosity at this event helped to raise $66,000 for the foundation. All of the money raised goes right back to the foundation, everyone volunteers their time to help children with cancer and other chronic pediatric conditions. As Terrie has said, “The Evening of Tasting and Giving is a night that people look forward to…it’s great. The people come back, again and again. The enthusiasm…that’s the great part.” And, of course, the fact that it’s about giving. That’s the part that is what really makes it.

News

Vastra boutique finds a niche

in hand-embroidered dresses

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.

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.


Sports

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.

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.


Calendar

Close Encounters with Benevolent ETs and Ascended Masters

August 29

Adventures in Genealogy

September 4

Greek Festival

September 5-7



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