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Local high school sluggers look to rack up ‘WINS for Cancer’

Photo courtesy of The Mary Louis Academy

Like good siblings, the sports teams at Holy Cross High School in Flushing and The Mary Louis Academy in Jamaica have long supported each other, and this spring they’re taking that partnership to a new level for a good cause.

Holy Cross’ varsity and junior varsity baseball teams, along with their softball counterparts at Mary Louis, officially launched their joint “WINS for Cancer” campaign in Jamaica Estates Thursday afternoon.

The athletic programs at the all-boys Holy Cross and all-girls Mary Louis developed a strong bond over the years. Mary Louis cheerleaders rally the crowds at Holy Cross football games. Holy Cross, in turn, opened its gym to Mary Louis for their girls CHSAA basketball games.

With CHSAA baseball and softball seasons on the horizon, the two schools launched “WINS for Cancer,” hoping that their teams’ performance on the field would raise big bucks for the Sunrise Day Camp, a Suffolk County summer escape for children battling cancer and their siblings.

For Joe Lewinger, Mary Louis’ athletic director, “WINS for Cancer” is a personal cause, as his twin son and daughter are cancer survivors.  Diagnosed at age 2, they attended Sunrise Day Camp during and after treatment, and got to enjoy outdoor summer activities that the isolation of cancer treatment deprived them.

“It’s the opportunity for kids who are forced to live an isolated life to feel like a normal kid,” Lewinger said. The experience at Sunrise proved wonderful for his children, both of whom are now 9 and in remission.

Sunrise Day Camp is the only camp of its kind in the U.S. dedicated to cancer survivors and their siblings from 3 1/2 to 16 years of age. It is equipped with specialized services and facilities to allow all children to have fun in safety, including an on-call medical staff.

The camp is offered free to parents and relies solely on donations.

According to Lewinger, Holy Cross’ baseball teams pledged to contribute $10 per league win, while Mary Louis’ softball will pitch in $20 per league victory; Holy Cross has 16 league games on schedule, while Mary Louis has eight.

Lewinger is hoping for a perfect campaign so Holy Cross and Mary Louis can deliver at least $640 to Sunrise Day Camp. Parents are also invited to sponsor their sons or daughters on the teams and contribute per batting achievement, such as a hit, run, home run or stolen base.

“We got the two teams together, hope to win a lot of games and help a good cause,” Holy Cross Assistant Athletic Director Tim Gilvary added.

Click here for more information about Sunrise Day Camp.

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