Selden, N.Y. – The East Coast Conference hosted its 10th Annual Spirit Showcase on Friday, March 15, 2019, 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 $3,300 for the foundation.
"It is hard to believe that we have been hosting this amazing event for ten years," said ECC Commissioner, Dr. Robert Dranoff. "The commitment that is made each from these young men and women and their coaches put to perform and raise money for Make-A-Wish is so inspiring. But even more inspiring is the work the folks at MAW put in and the courageous efforts their Wish Recipients make. 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 Delaney. After being diagnosed with bone cancer at age 11, Delaney was faced with many challenging decisions. Being a dancer since age 3, salvaging her entire leg came with the cost of never being able to dance again or perform high-impact activity. After exploring all of her options, she and her family decided that a rotationplasty amputation procedure would be the most fitting for Delaney and her active lifestyle. Despite the possibility of losing her leg, Delaney knew after becoming a qualified recipient of the Make-A-Wish Foundation that her one true wish was to learn how to surf the waves of Hawaii. This past August, Delaney, her parents and twin brother, Cameron, took flight to the tropical islands where they were greeted with authentic Hawaiian leis. Delaney fearlessly faced the powerful waves and learned how to surf (even on her hands)! She stated how looking forward to her wish allowed her to heal faster by having a countdown for something good to happen.
Dranoff stated, "We have some memorable Wish kids over the years and Delaney was amazing. Her speech was outstanding but even more astounding was her solo dance later in the evening. Delaney is a strong, bright and confident young woman, full of enthusiasm and who already has, and will continue to do, great things. We are pleased she was able to be part of this important ECC event and we hope she will be part of this event for years to come."
After Delaney spoke, the squads took center stage with outstanding performances. This year's performers included cheerleading squads from Molloy, Roberts Wesleyan, SUNY Old Westbury, and Suffolk County Community College as well as dance teams from Adelphi, Molloy, Queens, and Suffolk County Community College. There was a special performance by the Massapequa Challenger Cheer Squad, as well.
Ticket sales, entry fees, raffles, and concessions from this years event helped the East Coast Conference raised $3300 to donate to the foundation. The event has now raised close to $34,000 for Make-A-Wish in its 10-year history. To get to $35,000 for the ten years, the ECC is announcing a special $1,000 in 10 Days campaign. Anyone can make a donation to help the ECC reach its goal by downloading the Venmo app and sending money to @eccsports.
Dranoff concluded his statements by saying, "Ten years to host any event is a big deal but we are so proud that we have been able to continue to make a difference to such an important cause. We truly thank all the volunteers from Make-A-Wish of Suffolk County who help us each as well as all the schools that participate. Special thanks again to ECC member 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."