The College of Staten Island men’s baseball program will be ringing in the 11th Annual Grace Hillery Breast Cancer Awareness Night on Tuesday, when they host the Drew University Rangers in a single non-conference affair at 7pm at the Tomas D. Morales Baseball Field. The initiative will see the Dolphins donning pink uniforms and will feature contests and raffles targeting a cause that the program has raised over $48,000 worth of support to in its ten-year history. Last year’s event raised over $4,500 for the cause. Z100’s BethanY Watson, the Co-host of the station’s Elvis Duran and the Morning Show will be on hand to help celebrate the event, and will toss the evening’s opening pitch with Janet Sorrentino, a breast cancer survivor who will be honored during pre-game festivities.
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.”
Last year, CSI raised another terrific amount of funds on what was a very cool evening at the Tomas D. Morales Baseball Field, mostly through concessions, raffle tickets, donations and breast cancer awareness T-shirts. This year, raffle prizes will feature prizes that include Major League Baseball memorabilia, gift baskets from local vendors like the Staten Island Furrier, video games, and much more.
A rousing pre-game ceremony will take place before first pitch, explaining the event and honoring special guests. The ceremony will be followed by an official kick off to the fundraising, with a ceremonial check offered by the night’s keynote sponsor, One on One Sports Rehabilitation. During the seventh inning stretch, Anthony Hillery will address the crowd as he does every season.
The game will be broadcast live through the internet via www.wsia.fm 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 sixth 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 fourth-straight year for the game. The Dolphins took a 3-1 loss to 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.