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A Night To Remember

Night on the Town draws 500 people

It was never the end for Frank Ferrante in February 2011, when he was diagnosed with Stage 4 liver and colon cancer.

His answer to fighting the sickness? “Go forward and don’t ever look back.”

Ferrante, now 75, still plays tennis six hours a week, a ritual he’s kept since he began his tussle with cancer. He, along with his hero Dr. Vincent Vinciguerra of North Short LIJ, were honored at Night on the Town in Mineola at Jericho Terrace on May 22.

Vinciguerra helped Ferrante during his health battles. Ferrante, who underwent 48 hours straight of chemotherapy every other week, is currently in remission. He commended Vinciguerra and his family for helping in his health battles.

“The reason I survived is my [family],” Ferrante said. “They wanted me to stay home and do nothing. I couldn’t let [cancer] run my life. I’m going to keep [doing these events] as long as I’m alive.”

Vinciguerra usually shies away from big events, but couldn’t pass up standing next to Ferrante last week.

“Normally I don’t seek out [attention] but I found out what this was about and I saw who was running it,” Vinciguerra said. “Concerning cancer, our treatments have become better, they’re less toxic and things are promising in treating cancer. What motivates us is the patients. They are the heroes. They keep fighting and they never give up.”

Ferrante was awarded the Pasquale Lubrano Community Service Award. Former Senator Michael Balboni received the honor in 2012. Event co-chairman, Mineola Chamber of Commerce Vice President and Piccola Bussola owner Tony Lubrano’s mother, Rafaela, presented the award again this year.

“I met [Frank] at church,” Balboni said. “He comes up to me and he’s an usher and said ‘hey, kid, here’s what we got to do.’ He begins to talk about all these amazing things he wants to do. You meet a lot of people in politics and a lot of them don’t accomplish the things they set out to do. Frank is not one of them.”

Night on the Town began about eight years ago, when Mineola resident Harry Zapiti was looking to raise money for the Church of St. Aidan in Williston Park. The event ceased after the closing of the Corpus Christi School in Mineola, which joined in the effort with St. Aidan’s.

In November 2010, Lubrano approached Zapiti for help on a charity event to raise money for leukemia, which brought back Night on the Town.

“When you have 500 or 600 people show up to an event to support Leukemia [& Lymphoma Society], eat some food and have a good time,” said Zapiti. “I’m blessed for having these people come down.”

Last May, the night raised $72,000. It is unknown what this year’s event raised as of press time. The 2013 event saw the likes of Cristina Fontanelli and Edward de Corsia’s New York’s Most Dangerous Big Band with Gina Glickman Giordan, host of “In the Mixx,” as mistress of ceremonies.

Silent auctions were held for various sports/celebrity memorabilia, including a signed New York Jets Joe Namath jersey, a New York Rangers goalie mask autographed by Henrik Lundqvist, a signed portrait of New York Mets greats of Dwight Gooden, Ron Darling, Sid Fernandez and Bob Ojeda as well as pieces honoring New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter’s 3,000th hit and pitcher Mariano Rivera’s 602nd career save.