Written by Edwina Bien-Aime Thursday, 01 August 2013 00:00
New Hyde Park Memorial High school alum Neil Duggan will be honored at The 23rd Annual Gladiator Fund Golf Classic Friday, Sept. 13. The Gladiator Fund is a local organization, which aids families afflicted by catastrophic illness.
Duggan has bone cancer. He was diagnosed a week before Christmas in 2012 and after spending time in the hospital, he said he had “good results.” Duggan went into the hospital again Friday, July 24. “It’s an honor [to be recognized], to have all the support from friends and family.”
Duggan said he is getting a treatment known as a stem cell harvest.
“Neil is a humble guy,” said Dan Connor, president and CEO of the Gladiator Fund. Some of the Fund’s board members know Duggan from high school. Upon catching up, Connor and the other board members learned Duggan has cancer.
“It’s not like I’m at the same level as I used to be,” Duggan said. He said he was never sick growing up and misses the type of physical activity he used to do.
Duggan was active in Boy Scout Troop 298 of New Hyde Park with his son and they went on many camping trips. His last trip was to New Mexico, where he hiked in the mountains. Duggan said he can no longer walk long for long periods of time .
“You appreciate life and family more,” Duggan said, of his currently challenging times. He is currently working as a property manager in New York City.
At every event the Gladiator Fund has hosted, a resident from New Hyde Park is honored. The Fund has been hosting annual dinner/dance fundraisers for about 24 years. They have been hosting the annual golf classic for almost as long.
Corporate sponsors also donate. The Gladiator Fund has raised an estimated $800,000 over 24 years. Connor said all of the proceeds go directly to the families. Over the years, families have received amounts from $5,000 to $7,000.
Board members of the Fund meet to discuss who gets honored. People in the community of New Hyde Park either request financial assistance from the Gladiator Fund or the fund learns of residents who have an illness and need help.
“I think it is amazing that we have this local charity,” said New Hyde Park Village Trustee Donald Barbieri, who has multiple sclerosis. Both he and his sister are past recipients of funds from Gladiator. He always goes to the annual dance gala.
“I love these people,” Barbieri said of the fund’s board members.
The Gladiator Fund Golf Classic will take place Sept. 13 at Clearview Golf Course in Queens, N.Y.. For further information, call Dan Connor at 516-352-7602. RSVP by Aug. 23.