BY GABRIELLE GUZ
Only three years have passed since her sister, Teresa Ann “TiTi” Favret, lost her battle with lung cancer, but Donna Russo-Lubrano, a Bay Ridge resident who’s the manager of the Hearts Connected Group, has already learned to face her grief in an inspiring way. On Sunday, July 21, she will host her second annual bowling fundraiser in her sister’s memory.
The event will take place at 1600 Hylan Boulevard in Staten Island, beginning at 1 p.m.
According to Russo-Lubrano, at least 64 people are expected to attend — that is twice as many as last year. “I want to celebrate my sister’s life. She loved bowling and children and helping people, so this event is very fitting,” she said.
Each guest will be asked to donate $30 in exchange for two hours of bowling, pizza, beverages and homemade desserts. For those who decide not to bowl, $20 will get them a spectator bracelet which allows them to eat and drink with participants. In addition, they will be able to purchase raffle tickets for over 55 different gift baskets. Among other items, the baskets will include certificates from Rab’s, Ripley’s, One World Observatory, Dave and Buster’s, Shell Lanes, Shipwrecked, Kick Axe and Rebounderz.
For their efforts, the best — and worst — bowlers will receive trophies, which have been purchased from the Country Pro Shop.
All of the proceeds will go toward the LUNGevity foundation, a non-profit organization focused on lung cancer research and education.
The idea for the bowl-a-thon emerged when Russo-Lubrano and her daughter Angelia, who had a special connection with her aunt, were cleaning out Favret’s apartment. There, Angelia found Favret’s bowling shoes, ball and trophies, and she suggested that they go bowling each year on the anniversary of her aunt’s death. That suggestion soon grew into something bigger: annual bowling fundraisers to benefit cancer patients.
“My sister always said, ‘When I get better, we’ll go [bowling] together, and I’ll show you how good I am,’” Russo-Lubrano said.
“Knowing that people will have smiles on their faces the whole time they are at [the bowl-a-thon] in memory of TiTi, makes me smile, and I’m sure it will make TiTi smile from above. I know that we will feel her presence on Sunday, and that is what I’m most proud of,” Russo-Lubrano said. “I’m grateful to my ‘village’ — my husband Joe, my daughter and my amazing friends — who helped me set up, deliver, bake, and who participated in the event and helped spread the word.”