The College of Staten Island men’s baseball program will be ringing in the 8th Annual Grace Hillery Breast Cancer Awareness Night tomorrow night, when they host the Drew University Rangers in a single non-conference affair at 7pm at the CSI Baseball Complex. The initiative will see the Dolphins donning pink uniforms and will feature live entertainment and a host of games, contests and raffles targeting a cause that the program has raised over $30,000 worth of support to in its seven-year history. Despite very chilly weather, last year’s event raised nearly $6k. This year temperatures are expected in the low-70’s and the festivities are ready to go.
Originating in 2004, the special evening serves to honor the memory of Grace Hillery, mother to former CSI student-athlete and baseball star Anthony Hillery, who passed away from the disease prior to the 2004 baseball season. Hillery went on to play for the Dolphins through the 2005 campaign and has since graduated CSI with a degree in History and Education. He is currently a teacher at Petrides High School and baseball coach at New Dorp High School, and looks forward to returning to CSI to continue the highlighted event each year.
“It was my grandmother who felt that it would be better if our family could raise money for breast cancer awareness, in lieu of all the flowers we received at my mother’s funeral,” said Hillery. ”I felt if I tied that idea into a baseball game dedicated to my mother, it would be a nice way of keeping her memory alive while raising money for a great cause.”
Funds generated from the event will be donated to the Staten Island Breast Cancer Research Initiative. Made up from a collection of CSI academia and students, the SIBCRI is charged with developing a epidemiological history of the disease, raising community awareness, and focusing on new and advanced ways of battling the epidemic through biological testing. The grass-roots initiative, which was started on CSI’s Willowbrook campus is specific to Staten Island, and focuses on Staten Island’s environmental impact on breast cancer, and what people in the borough can do to protect themselves.
“I’m happy to have this event done each year,” Hillery said. “It keeps my mother’s memory alive and helps other people as well. Everyone has been very supportive, and if we can keep this going for years to come, it would be incredible.”
In 2010, CSI raised over $5,700 for the cause, the most-ever in its seven years, mostly through concessions, raffle tickets, donations and breast cancer awareness T-shirts. It was a remarkable number considering the game was played on a very chilly evening with high winds. This year, raffle prizes will feature prizes that include Major League Baseball game-used attire and memorabilia, the CSI Sports & Recreation Center, New York Yankees, New York Mets, Staten Island Yankees, and Pandora Jewelers.
The game will be broadcast live through the internet via CSI SportsNet at www.csidolphins.com and WSIA 88.9FM on the radio dial.
“This is a great event for us each year and the team puts so much effort into it, and everyone rallies around to make it a success for Anthony and his family,” said Michael Mauro, who is in his third season as Head Coach of the Dolphins. “The community really comes through each year and we go out there and try to get a win for Anthony and all of the alumni that comes out to support us and the cause.”
“Tuesday evening’s game is a signature event to our sports season each year,” said Associate Athletic Director David Pizzuto. “Not only is it a chance to honor Mrs. Hillery and her son’s wishes to keep her memory alive and support breast cancer research, but it serves to bring our athletics family closer, and the teamwork by everyone involved goes a long way each year.”
Admission to the event is free of charge. CSI matches up with Drew University for the second-straight year for the game. The Dolphins took a 17-6 victory over the Rangers last year. Those who cannot attend the game but would still like to make a contribution, can do so by contacting the CSI Athletics Office at (718) 982-3169.