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Local Lax Kids Attack Cancer

The Garden City youth lacrosse program, along with the Jay Gallagher Memorial Foundation, hosted the Sixteenth Annual Jay Gallagher Memorial Tournament on June 15 and 16. The tournament annually raises funds and public awareness for the Andy Foundation, the Mollie Biggane Melanoma Foundation and the Miracle Foundation. The Jay Gallagher Foundation, through gifting to The Cancer Center for Kids at Winthrop University Hospital, is dedicated to improving the lives of children and adults diagnosed with cancer, concentrating on building cancer awareness with the ultimate goal of a cure.

Over the last 15 years, the tournament has raised over $700,000 for the various programs that it supports. The tournament memorializes Jay Gallagher, Andrew Palmeri, Mollie Biggane, Ryan Kohart and David Leistman. Ryan and David were lost in the September 11 tragedy and both were significant contributors to lacrosse programs in the area.

Games were played at three Garden City sites including St. Paul’s, the middle school and the high school over the two days and included approximately 120 teams with over 4,000 players, coaches and parents attending the event. Teams attending the two-day event came from all over the Northeast including Massachusetts, Connecticut and New Jersey as well as the many towns throughout New York State stretching from Eastern Long Island to Upper Westchester.

In order to be as successful as the tournament has been over the past 16 years, tournament director Anthony Randi has enlisted the help and support of many individuals and businesses throughout the local communities. The sponsors are too many to list but if you happened to be on the field either day of the tournament you saw the many signs and banners that were prominently displayed throughout the fields and food court. If you were there you also saw the many volunteers sporting their bright pink tee shirts.

Randi notes on the Jay Gallagher website that the volunteers this year included more than 80 elementary, middle and high school students who donated their entire weekend to support The Andy Foundation’s mission statement of ‘By Kids, For Kids.’ The Jay Gallagher Foundation, on behalf of the Miracle and Andy Foundations, are granting half of the tournament proceeds to the Cancer Center for Kids at Winthrop University Hospital. These young adults made this event possible and their devotion to the community and charitable service is greatly appreciated.

The games were played between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. each day and featured some outstanding lacrosse by both girls and boys teams. The boys games included players from the second through eighth grade, while the girls games featured teams from the fourth through sixth grade.

The players and families enjoyed the county fair atmosphere throughout the weekend. A highlight, and one of the busier tents during the two days, was the fastest shot exhibit set up by the NY Lizards where players tested the velocity of their shots.

As one out of town coach said ‘this tournament is THE highlight of our season. The boys look forward to this weekend because of the competition. The parents and coaches enjoy the fact that we get to come to one of the best lacrosse communities and participate in a tournament for a great cause.’