Selden, N.Y. – The East Coast Conference hosted its Eighth Annual Spirit Showcase this past Sunday, bringing together cheerleading, step and dance teams from East Coast Conference and other Long Island institutions. The event, which raises proceeds for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, raised $3,500 for the foundation.
"Our eighth Annual Spirit Showcase was another success," said ECC Commissioner, Dr. Robert Dranoff. "We really appreciate the efforts and time these young men and women and their coaches put in to perform and raise money for Make-A-Wish. We are honored to be part of all the important service activities the ECC and our schools are involved in. There never seems to be a hesitation when it comes to giving back and making a difference."
Each year the event is kicked off with a former wish recipient provided by the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Suffolk County. This year’s speaker was Gabbi, 19, from Long Island.
Gabbi spoke about her own experience and gratitude with the Make-A-Wish foundation. Born with a rare neurological disease called Neurofibromatosis, otherwise known as “NF,” when Gabbi was three months old, the doctors told her mother that there was no treatment or cure for NF. They also said that she was most likely become blind, paralyzed and deaf. Gabbi had many tumors removed through the years, the first one was removed when she was only seven years old.
After her mother referred her to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Gabbi made her wish to go to Walt Disney World in 2006. The experience had such a positive impact on not only her life, but her family’s life as a whole. While she still struggles with NF today, Gabbi is attending Suffolk County Community College where she studies psychotherapy and sign language and plans to move on with her college education next year with a dream to work with children who are battling serious illnesses.
Dranoff stated, "Thanks especially to Gabbi for speaking and for her family coming by to support her. She is a bright, smart and confident young woman who already has, and will continue to do, great things. We are pleased she was able to be part of this important ECC event. "
After Gabbi spoke, the squads took center stage with outstanding performances. This year's performers included cheerleading squads from Bridgeport, LIU Post, Molloy, Roberts Wesleyan and Suffolk County Community College as well as dance teams from Adelphi, LIU Post, Molloy, Mercy, Queens, and Suffolk County Community College. The step team from Molloy also performed.
Through ticket sales, raffles, and concessions, the East Coast Conference raised $3,500 to donate to the foundation. The event has now raised close to $29,000 for Make-A-Wish in its eight year history.
Dranoff wrapped up his statements by saying, "Finally, thanks go out to our member schools – including first time participant, Roberts Wesleyan College from Rochester, who traveled far to be part of this important day. And once again to Suffolk County Community College for continuing to partner with us to host this effort. And as always, special thanks have to go to SCCC Cheer and Dance Coach, Gina Caputo, who has been part of this effort from the start. Gina helps make this a special day for all the teams, friends and family members who attend and also for those kids who do benefit from our Make-A-Wish work."