Last year, Mother Nature had other plans for the College of Staten Island’s Grace Hillery Breast Cancer Awareness Night, knocking the game out after a number of tries due to weather, but the Dolphins are bringing the event back for a 15th time in 2019, as Tuesday, April 23, marks the day of the event devoted to breast cancer awareness with fund-raising initiatives targeted towards research and finding a cure.  The Dolphins are facing a familiar opponent in Drew University on Tuesday, with first-pitch scheduled for 7pm.   

The 15th Annual Grace Hillery Breast Cancer Awareness Night is CSI Baseball’s initiative that sees the Dolphins donning pink uniforms and will feature raffles throughout the night targeting causes that the program has raised over $70,000 worth of support to in its previous 14-year history. This year’s event, sponsored by TLC Physical Therapy, will feature Staten Island philanthropist and boxing legend and analyst Teddy Atlas greeting the crowd that will honor Staten Island breast cancer survivors Dawn Cottone and Jackie Tripodi and 11-year old Katherine Coaglione, who is surviving Leukemia.

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 and baseball coach at Petrides High School and looks forward to returning to CSI to continue the highlighted event each year.

“I remember approaching the CSI Athletics Department to tie the idea of playing baseball to a fundraiser in honor of my mother, in lieu of all the flowers my family received at the time, ” said Hillery.  “This event has been such a great way of keeping my mother’s name alive while raising money for a great causes and in the name of amazing people.  I never imagined the event would continue the way it has.  It is a testament to the staff and baseball program at CSI and what it does for the community.”

For many years and continuing again this year, portions of the funds raised have gone to the Staten Island Breast Cancer Research Initiative. Made up from a collection of CSI academia and students, the organization 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.  Located on the CSI campus, the organization is led by Professor Donna Gerstle, another featured guest of the evening.  Money raised by the event will also go to groups and organizations chosen by the three honored guests and their families.  For CSI Head Coach Michael Mauro, who has been with the Dolphins since the 2008 season, the evening has come to mean many things.

“With each year, I feel we are growing the event to include the many sides of breast cancer that people don’t see, such as how it effects old and young, women and men,” said Mauro.  “Having Katherine with us as a survivor of Leukemia reminds us of how important cancer research is, and it’s a chance for us to reach out to our family and friends and show our support for them.  To use our team, our field, and our game vs. Drew to honor Anthony’s mother and our guests on Tuesday is a great feeling and one we are happy to do each year.”

Each year, CSI raises a terrific amount of funds at the CSI Baseball Complex, mostly through concessions, raffle tickets, donations and breast cancer awareness T-shirts. This year, raffle prizes include Major League Baseball memorabilia, gift baskets and gift certificates to local eateries, and tickets to sporting events.  CSI’s opponents, Drew University, are making their 9th appearance for the game this year, and it would have been 10 had Mother Nature not derailed the game a year ago.

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, TLC Physical Therapy, and another by Mr. Atlas.  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 CSI SportsNet at

Admission to the event is free of charge. 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.