Nothing but net!
For the sixth straight year, Frankie’s Mission held its Swish for Kids event, a fun-filled event and fundraiser for the local organization that offers assistance to families of children with cancer.
The event took place at St. Ephrem School gym, 7415 Fort Hamilton Parkway, on Sunday, January 22. As previous years, the St. Francis and Mount Saint Vincent men’s basketball teams were on hand to shoot some hoops with children who are cancer survivors or have been diagnosed with the disease.
“It was a wonderful day,” said Camille Orrichio Loccisano, founder of Frankie’s Mission — named after her son Francesco, who lost his battle to osteosarcoma and treatment-related leukemia in 2007 at the age of 17. “It’s hosted specifically for children with cancer. They attend and we reach out to all the families of children with cancer in New York to come for the experience. It’s a day just to have fun and not think at all that they have or had cancer. It’s a great day of fun. We had a great time.”
American streetball player from Brooklyn Jack Ryan was also a part of the festivities, showing off his tricks with hoops. The day didn’t just include basketball drills. Volunteers were dressed up as Disney characters for the young ones, a deejay was on hand for dancing, and face painters and balloons makers were also on hand.
There was also no shortage of food. A pizza party was held courtesy of Peppino’s, bagels and doughnuts were provided by Fort Hamilton Bagels, and dessert was served courtesy of Leske’s Bakery.
New chairperson for Swish for Kids, Mary Donnelly, helped organize the event. “I thought the event went excellently. It was full and 300 people showed up,” she said, adding that the fundraiser generated a fair amount of funds thanks to several sponsors. “Everything we received, 100 percent goes to Frankie’s Mission. We had over 40 raffles donated.”
Sponsors and participants included NIA, BRAVO, Investors Bank and the Knights of Columbus. Students at Saint Ephrem School, Saint Patrick Catholic Academy, Our Lady of Guadalupe School and Our Lady of Perpetual Help School participated in a schoolwide dress down to support the event.
For Loccisano , the event is a personal and therapeutic one. “What is so poignant is St. Ephrem’s is the school Frankie attended. That was his gym,” she said. “He told us he wanted any child with cancer still to smile and have a good time. So we are honoring his memory in this way.”
According to Donnelly, Swish for Kids committee members Brian Cassidy, Shannon Natale and Linda Cavalcante also played a big role.
Spokesperson for State Senator Marty Golden John Quaglione attended the event with his daughter and discussed the significance of the occasion. “The basketball-themed event not only raised money for the foundation, it also gave children and families that have been affected by pediatric cancer a chance to smile,” he said. “The event showed the best of our community when we band together. Hats off to Camille Loccisano, Frankie’s Mission and St. Ephrem’s Sports Program, as they continue show leadership in the fight against childhood cancer.”