Number of Participants: 40
Hours Donated: 15
Value of Time Served: $5,070
Event Type: Children & Youth
School: Long Beach Senior High School
Date: January 25, 2024
Long Beach High School
Lagoon Drive West, Lido Beach
The Long Beach Athletic Department hosted the 4th Annual Beauty and The Beast Event on Thursday, January 25th, at the LBHS gym. The evening commenced with the Long Beach Band, directed by Mr. Bragino and Ms. Rynecki, captivating the audience, culminating with the theme from Beauty and the Beast. Subsequently, the Long Beach cheerleaders and the Hewlett, Bethpage, and Oceanside gymnastics teams, along with the Long Beach Gymnastics and Wrestling teams, entered the gym to resounding cheers. Max Rosenzweig sang the national anthem.
Arnold Epstein, Director of Health and Physical Education at Long Beach, addressed the audience, explaining the event’s purpose: to raise funds for the Memorial Sloan Kettering Kids Cancer Center (MSK Kids). He emphasized that the event was dedicated to Lia Esposito, a Bethpage student battling cancer. The evening featured raffles for gift baskets, concession stands, the sale of beautifully designed t-shirts, and an online webpage dedicated to fundraising for the event.
The event showcased the talents of the Long Beach cheerleaders, followed by simultaneous gymnastics and wrestling competitions, all of which received enthusiastic support from the crowd. Special acknowledgment goes to Long Beach gymnastics Coach Jessica Tull, who initiated this annual event.
This year’s event raised over $6,800 for MSK Kids, contributing to a total of over $20,000 raised for MSK Kids Cancer Center. None of this would have been possible without the dedication of Long Beach gymnastics and wrestling parents and the entire school community. The event extends its gratitude to the coaches, as well as the members of Bethpage gymnastics, Hewlett gymnastics and wrestling, and Oceanside gymnastics teams and their respective communities for their participation and support.
Around 40 student athletes participated, with the number of volunteer hours fluctuating between 10 to 15. Most of the volunteer work was carried out by the 15 members of the gymnastics team.
Meet Lia Esposito:
On June 11th, 2023, Lia began experiencing stomach pain and a loss of appetite. She was rushed to the hospital for tests and imaging. At Cohen’s Children’s Hospital, her family received devastating news that no one could have imagined: “Your daughter has a large tumor on her left kidney.” The situation necessitated the immediate removal of her kidney and the tumor. Lia had to commence chemotherapy right away. This previously healthy young girl, free from any health issues, was suddenly confronted with cancer—a heart-wrenching revelation. Her kidney had to be surgically removed due to the rapid growth of the tumor, and she spent nine days in the hospital recuperating. After recovery, Lia embarked on a 25-week chemotherapy journey. Remarkably, she successfully completed the 25 weeks of chemo, and her end-of-treatment scans came back clear. Her chemo port was surgically removed, marking the official end of her treatment. Throughout this ordeal, Lia exhibited incredible strength, remaining full of energy, dancing, doing cartwheels, and radiating happiness. We pray that by the end of December, her chemo will be completed, and all scans will remain clear. Lia continues to enjoy playdates, attend school, and actively participate in cheerleading and dance. Nothing can deter Lia; she is a true inspiration to us all. Thank you for taking the time to read Lia’s story!