St. Francis basketball team participates in second annual Swish for Kids

January 21, 2013 Editorial Staff
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A group of kids who spend too much time in hospitals and doctor’s offices spent Martin Luther King’s Day shooting hoops with the St. Francis basketball team, who came especially to St. Ephrem’s Gym to be with them.

For the second year, the Francesco Loccisano Memorial Foundation partnered with the Brooklyn Terriers men’s team to put together an eventful day for children who have cancer and other severe illnesses. The teammates ran a fun and energizing basketball play and instructional session for the 25 children, giving them a breather from their medical treatments.

“It’s a day of relief from the whole ordeal,” said Camille Orrichio Loccisano, founder of the foundation, which Loccisano started after the death from cancer of her son, Frankie. “I am so grateful to St. Francis Men’s Basketball team for coming out and making this a special time for our young cancer warriors,” she added.

Cancer survivor and parish athletic representative (P.A.R) Frank Stella, organized the event with the help of many volunteers. He thanked the children and their families for participating, making them stand up amongst the crowd.

Stella is a member of the board of directors of “Frankie’s Mission,” an offshoot of the Loccisano Foundation, who met Frankie personally while he was alive. “We’re honoring him,” explained Stella, who also added that amongst the participants were Tommy and Sophia, patients whom he has visited in the hospital.

“Watching these kids smile and have fun should tell us all that life is truly precious and we should all enjoy it to its fullest, said Stella, who has coached basketball, football and baseball for the parish for nearly two decades.

Alyssa Ramos was one of the many brave little ones running around in the gym. She was diagnosed with neuroblastoma when she was only 26 months of age. She’s now nine years old. “A lot of cancer kids are survivors,” said her father, Michael Ramos, who spoke fondly of his precious little girl, “There’s still hope; it’s a beautiful organization,” he exclaimed.

“He’s a lover of basketball,” said Maria Guardavaccaro about her eight-year-old son, Tommy, “and to have it in an environment that he’s able to be in,” she added with tears in her eyes.

Assistant Coach of the Terriers, Danny Nigro, said “It’s extremely important that our guys help out in the community and lend a helping hand whenever we can.”

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