One local family is finding ways to raise money and awareness for other family members facing health issues by pushing themselves to the extreme. Chris Maselli of Locust Valley participated in the Empire State Building Run-Up Feb. 6 to honor his cousin-in-law, Tony Lanza, who is battling leukemia. The inspiration for the race comes, in part, as thank you for Lanza’s attempt to raise money on behalf of Maselli’s son, who is autistic.
“When Tony said he was going to raise money for our son, we were really touched,” says Maselli. “We’ve spent the year hoping and praying for his recovery, and we do crazy things to encourage him and boost his spirits, like running to the top of the Empire State Building in his honor.”
Maselli says that last June, Lanza was training for the New York triathlon to raise funds for Autism Speaks in honor of his son who has high functioning autism when he first suspected a health problem.
“He was feeling tired and just not himself. His sister convinced him to go to the doctor and get checked,” says Maselli. “To everyone’s surprise, at 27 years old he was diagnosed with Acute Myeloma Leukemia (AML).”
The Empire State Building Run-Up is an event that raises funds for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, a cancer research foundation that has helped to double survival for patients since its inception in 1998. Participants race up 1,576 steps to the top of the iconic landmark.
Maselli and his wife, Jennifer, are both marathon runners, and it was Jennifer who convinced Maselli to enter the lottery with her this year because of Lanza’s diagnosis. She ran the race last year with her father, but didn’t get in this year. Maselli, who has competed in triathlons as well as marathons, finished the race in 17 minutes, 14 seconds, his first tower run.
“The Run-Up is different because the air gets thin very quickly and your lungs feel like they are on fire,” says Maselli. “Breathing was the toughest part of that race.”
To date, Lanza has undergone many rounds of chemotherapy and received a stem cell transplant on Halloween.
“We could not find a bone marrow match in or out of the family,” says Maselli. “There are so few people on the registry and we would really like to encourage everyone to think about becoming a donor. It is much simpler than it has been in the past and is much like giving a blood donation.”
The Masellis are not the only family members involved in Lanza’s cause. Lanza’s sister, Lauren Lanza, held a bone marrow drive and she and her husband plan to compete in the St. Anthony’s triathlon in Florida on April 28. Maselli says this is a special race because the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training program designated Tony as their honored teammate. She has raised a little more than $3,000 and receives donations through http://pages.teamintraining.org/wch/anttry13/laurenmason.
The Masellis have also started a photo campaign for Lanza, collecting photographs from all over the world to cheer him on his fight against cancer.
“It’s become a statement for him that he will get better and snowboard and live life to the fullest once again.”
Wednesday, 12 March 2014 00:00
In movies like Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead, a parent’s very real nightmare of inadequate child care is at the crux of the film’s storyline. So the promise of a new website with intentions to revolutionize babysitting offered new hope at the party recently held at Melville’s Jewel Restaurant to celebrate its launch.
Babysitting Barter has roughly 1,000 babysitters and 2,700 parents connected to its website nationwide, according to CEO and founder Brian Mannix of Glen Cove.
“This has been a long time coming, about four years in the works,” said Mannix. “We have built our website and I think it’s very different and innovative. It is something that I really think will make a national difference for parents, babysitters, and for businesses as well.”
Saturday, 01 March 2014 00:00
The second meeting of the Powers Chemco property site at Glen Cove City Hall last Thursday night focused on health concerns in the surrounding area. Spokesmen from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), Department of Health (DOH) and other environmental experts discussed the extent of the contaminated soil and water at the site. It was a continued discussion on the proposed clean-up of the State Superfund site, which was formerly occupied by the Columbia Ribbon and Carbon
Manufacturing Company, and now located within the 15-acre Konica Minolta property.
“After careful studies, we found that the contaminated soil and water table poses no threat to nearby residences,” said Nathan Epler, a hydrogeologist from the environmental consulting and management firm Roux Associates.
Thursday, 27 February 2014 00:00
The North Shore High School swimming team completed its season with high honors this year. Both the men’s and women’s teams have qualified individual athletes for all-conference and all-county championship competitions.
Coach Samara Weitz has also been honored with the Nassau County Coach of the Year award—motivating many of her athletes to succeed throughout the season, including senior Kristen Stanis.
“She made sure I was working hard, but also having fun,” Stanis said. “She taught me how to balance work and play and how it’s important to maintain it.”
Thursday, 20 February 2014 00:00
It was all fun and games at the fourth annual Winter Classic Hockey tournament at the Town of Oyster Bay Ice Skating Center in Bethpage on Saturday, Feb. 8. Young adults and kids of all ages from the Long Island Blues Hockey team faced off against three other teams in the event that gives individuals with special needs the opportunity to play ice hockey in an accommodating setting.
Michael Russo, founder of the Long Island Blues team, said he started the program 10 years ago so his son, Nicholas, who has autism, could play hockey.