Posted Friday, June 15, 2007 by .
Major cancer fundraisers on tap this weekend
By Isaac Cass
Matt Kull, who graduated from Yorktown High School and went on to the University of North Carolina on a lacrosse scholarship, was an all-American performer on the lacrosse field and a standout member of the community.
After he lost his battle with Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2000, a foundation – Matthew’s Mission – was set up to help to provide family-focused facility equipment in order for families to be close to their loved ones while undergoing treatments.
The foundation, which also promotes the sport of lacrosse by providing scholarships and hosting clinics for younger players, will be holding its annual Matt Kull Day, which is one of the largest amateur lacrosse events in the Northeast, on Saturday, June 16 at Yorktown High School. The day will feature a Yorktown Alumni Lax Game (3 PM), an American League game (5 PM) and a blood drive (at the adjacent middle school) running from 9 AM – 5 PM.
According to the foundation’s website, “Matthew’s Mission was born out of a mother-son promise to give back to other young cancer patients and their families all that had been given to us while undergoing treatments for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. We have experienced, firsthand, the difficulties of coping with lymphoma. Young people no matter how determined they are; lose motivation due to the uncertainty of a prognosis. If successive treatments fail, it becomes a constant battle to overcome pain and disappointment.”
“For these young patients there is no substitute for loving human contact, yet day after day families are forced to separate due to lack of facilities or funds. Our goal, through charitable donations, is to provide the affordable means and facilities for families to be together at this very difficult time. A son or daughter needs the strength that’s only found in the physical bonds of the family unit.”
In conjunction with the aforementioned events, the Yorktown Athletic Club is also teaming up to host their second annual Charlie Murphy Youth Lacrosse Tournament (8 AM), featuring boys and girls squads from third through eighth grade.
Donna D’Andrea, who is a volunteer for the YAC, explained that aligning the tournament with Matt Kull Day was solely due to the foundation and the blood drive.
“Most of the proceeds that we are earning will go directly towards Matthew’s Mission,” said D’Andrea.
Relay For Life
The third annual Relay for Life, which raises money for cancer research, education, services for patients and advocacy, is slated for Friday, June 15 at Jack Devito Memorial Field in Yorktown Heights.
Cancer survivors will walk the opening lap, which will commence at 7:00 PM. Then 56 teams of participants – more than doubling last years total of 22 – totaling 600 people will follow.
Each team must have at least one member continuously walking around the track for the next 12 hours. The fact that there must always be someone walking during the duration of the relay signifies that cancer never sleeps. Tents will be set up around the track for those that are taking a break.
At 10 PM there will be a luminary ceremony, where Boy Scouts will line the track with candles placed paper bags. Each light holds a message of someone surviving from cancer.
Monica Garrigan, who is Director of Community Health Initiatives for the Eastern Division of AMS, explained that the outreach from the Yorktown community has been tremendous.
“The event brings the community together to rally around the fight against cancer. In fact, as a result of the great people of Yorktown and their enthusiasm, we have already hit our goal by raising $71,000 dollars.”
However, Garrigan was quick to note that even though the goal has been met, they are not even close to being finished.
“We expect to blow the total of $71,000 out of the water on the day of the event,” said Garrigan. “And we are by no means letting up.”
Local restaurants Murphy’s and Traditions will be catering the relay. There will also be a number of musical acts, including the band Law and Disorder and the Crompond Elementary school chorus.
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