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 fourth annual “Be a Good Cookie Lacrosse Tournament,” on March 31, high school sophomores Evan Phillips and Sam Rosenberg presented the Cookies for Kids' Cancer Center with more than $50,000, the total from their first four tournaments.
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.”
“We started this tournament because we both love lacrosse and wanted to give back while also having fun,” he added. “Having raised more than $40,000 over the last three years, we know that we are making an impact in the fight against cancer. This year we hope to top the $50,000 mark, half the amount needed to fund a new clinical trial.”
"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 last year. "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," interim New Rochelle High School 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.
“With pediatric cancer research receiving less than 5 percent of federal money earmarked for cancer research, Cookies for Kids Cancer is a great fit for what we hope to achieve. This is an organization dedicated to finding new treatments for kids’ cancer and it feels great knowing that our efforts are helping them to do so.”
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