Number of Participants: 525
Hours Donated: 2
Value of Time Served: $8,873
Event Type: Health & Medicine
Date: December 2, 2013
New York 11788, United States
October 2013 – Kicks for Cancer Events
Former Hauppauge student and LIU Post Softball player Alexis Gonzalez helped start Kicks for Cancer with Hauppauge girls varsity soccer coach Jesseca Kulesa in 2008 because she wanted to do something for Courtney Tomkin, her close friend who she remembered as an outgoing and carefree person that always had a smile on her face.
Courtney was diagnosed with a rare, inoperable brain cancer. She was being treated at Hassenfeld hospital in NYC. Any treatment she received was experimental. Alexis wanted to do something for Courtney but It was too late in the school year to organize an event because summer was coming.
So Alexis went to her coach Jessica Kulesa (one of the most passionate human beings you can meet) and they brainstormed to make kicks for cancer happen.
Courtney could not believe this event actually took place Her senior year even though she was in pain, she did all her work, and did what she could to not miss class. She would attend the soccer games in the freezing cold and never complained.
The first Kicks for Cancer event we were all blessed to actually have Courtney with us. She ran on the field as if she was never in pain or sick. We raised over $30K that day, something we never imagined would happened. We lost Courtney 2 months later.
The day Courtney passed Alexis went into the school and retrieved Courtney’s desk. It was signed by many students. It was brought to the steps of Courtney’s house that night. There stood most of the Hauppauge community holding candles singing Silent Night outside her home. Courtney was an inspiration to many. Courtney’s passing changed Alexis’ perspective on life. We will not forget her and will continue to build this fundraiser yearly.
Alexis organizes and attends each event event. If it wasn’t for the support from Coach Kulesa, who listened to some kid wanting to do something, this wouldn’t of happened. We get almost everything donated each year from The community supporting us and it is amazing.
We have almost 40 other towns participating in Kicks for cancer games and that number keeps growing.
The initial goal was to raise $15,000. In its first year, she said the event raised $35,000. Now with 56 additional schools participating and hosting their own events, Kicks for Cancer has raised more than $100,000 in four years.
“We started this when things weren’t great in the economy and people were still giving and donating,” Gonzalez said. “Each year we get more sponsors and more donations. Almost everything here is donated. It’s been five years now and, to be honest, I can’t even imagine where it will be five years from now.”
It’s an experience that draws a lot of people throughout the Month of October, raises a lot of money and produces a lot of pink. More importantly, it brings a tight-knit community together as they remember one of their own in Courtney Tomkin.