A pair of New Rochelle High School students have found a way to marry cookies and lacrosse to benefit the national fight against pediatric cancer.
After hosting their third annual “Be a Good Cookie Lacrosse Tournament,” in April, New Rochelle High School freshmen Evan Phillips and Sam Rosenberg presented the Cookies for Kids' Cancer Center a $37,500 check, the total from their first three tournaments.
Phillips and Rosenberg presented Gretchen Witt, the co-founder and president of the Cookies for Kids’ Center on Thursday with the check, all of the proceeds from their tournaments, including the $13,500 they raised in the most recent event.
The tournament was initially founded as a bar mitzvah project three years ago, but has since grown to a massive annual event that has the teens eyeing larger goals.
Witt and her husband started the organization after their son was diagnosed with cancer. He lost his battle with the disease in 2011, but their organization keeps up the effort and has raised more than $15 million for pediatric cancer research.
“We originally founded the tournament as a bar mitzvah project, but decided to keep it going because of how good it makes us feel to give back,” Rosenberg said. “Our goal before we graduate high school is to raise $100,000, because that’s how much money it takes to start a new clinical trial.”
Hundreds of families filled the Sports Underdome in Mount Vernon during the two-day tournament, where a dozen teams comprised entirely of students from the lower Hudson Valley and Greenwich squared off in brackets named for cookies. A sixth-grade team from Pelham won the Sugar Cookie bracket, while the Larchmont/Mamaroneck seventh and eighth-grade teams won the Chocolate Chip Cookie bracket.
"I cannot hug my son anymore, but to see you two here and to see you two carry on that tradition is amazing," Witt told Phillips and Rosenberg in a brief ceremony in the Embassy - the main high school entrance. "So I salute both of you. Thank you."
The organization also donated 500 cookies - chocolate chip and citrus shortbread - to hand out to students for free.
"It's people like Gretchen who help build character in our young people, and here we have Sam and Evan who are developing that character with their fundraising efforts," Assistant Principal Joseph Starvaggi said.
“We knew we wanted to do something that would have a positive impact on kids,” Phillips added. “With cancer being the number one cause of death by disease of children in the U.S., Cookies for Kids' Cancer was a great fit for what we hope to achieve.”
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