2004-07-30 / Sports

Hockey Players, Celebrities Putting for Cancer Patients

By Shelly Banjo

Professional hockey players are putting down their sticks and picking up their golf clubs for the Jennifer Ferraro Foundation’s 2nd Annual Golf Tournament on Thursday Aug. 5.

One hundred and forty four professional athletes, celebrities, corporations and health care professionals will be coming to Bethpage State Park to participate in the tournament and raise money for the medical expenses and other related costs of cancer patients.

Chris Ferraro and his brother, Peter, both local professional hockey players, began this foundation after Chris’s wife, Jennifer, died at 32 after fighting stomach cancer for 13 months.

“Throughout her cancer treatment, all she wanted to was help other people,” Chris Ferraro said.

It was from Jennifer’s motivation and inspiration where Ferraro said the foundation came from.

“She couldn’t wait until she finished her treatment so she could help other patients who didn’t have the financial means she had,” he said.

The foundation’s strategy is geared toward helping patients directly that can’t afford their medical bills, medication and treatment that insurance doesn’t cover, and other external costs.

“On top of the cancer treatments, patients can’t work and struggle with earning an income,” Ferraro said. “It is a wonderful feeling when you are able to bring a patient more to peace and ease their hardships because Cancer is stressful enough on the body and mind.”

The Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and doctors at George Washington University Hospital, where Jennifer was treated, helped the Foundation decide how to disburse the money.

By raising $88,000, the foundation directly helped Renee, a cancer patient at the George Washington hospital and mother of three.

The golf tournament stands as the foundation’s biggest fundraiser and although the tournament went well last year, they are expecting even more participants, a bigger auction and more celebrities to attend.

“We are expecting Joe Gahascolli “Vito” from the Sopranos, Billy Baldwin, Larry Brooks and many hockey players including best scoring defensemen in the NHL, Phil Housley, Bryan McCabe, Bobby Nystrom Clark Gillies and many more,” said Jaime VanDyke, who works with the Ferraro brothers and the Foundation.

Southampton BMW is also offering a Z4 BMW as the hole-in-One car.

“The celebrities as well as the local and hockey community have been very helpful and I am thrilled by their support,” Ferraro said.

After the tournament, the golfers will be joined by over 200 people for a sports auction, cocktails and a gala dinner at The Carlyle in Bethpage.

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