Mastic Beach – The William Floyd cheerleading program (varsity, junior varsity and both middle schools) recently teamed up to raise $1,000 for Rett Syndrome, which according to the National Institutes of Health is a rare non-inherited genetic neurological disorder that occurs almost exclusively in girls and leads to severe impairments, affecting nearly every aspect of a child’s life including the ability to speak, walk, eat and even breathe easily. Currently, approximately 15,000 women and girls in the United States and 350,000 worldwide suffer from this disorder.
All of the funds raised by the cheerleaders will be presented to Girl Power 2 Cure and Rett Syndrome Research Trust, organizations that seek to develop treatments and a cure for this debilitating disease. The cheerleaders were inspired by Valentina Priolo, the cousin of Felicia Cangin, senior captain of the varsity cheerleading team. Valentina’s mother Raquel Priolo is a graduate of William Floyd, class of 1988, who currently resides with her family in Queens. Valentina was born just like every average baby girl, and then around six-months old she began having seizures. At three-years old she lost her hand functions and was unable to walk without assistance and has a hard time speaking. Valentina and her family have been working with Rett Syndrome Research Trust Fund and she is currently on an FDA approved medication which is helping her walk, focus and talk better.
“Our hope is that one day there will be a cure for Rett Syndrome,” said Alyssa Cabrera, William Floyd High School varsity cheerleading coach. “The girls were very excited and eager to help. I feel that it’s important that we give back to the community and for our girls to look out for and empower one another.”