By Celine Macura
The sun went down rather early on Sept. 30, perhaps succumbing to the imminent October chill. Oct. 1 marks the beginning of sweater weather, pumpkin flavored goodies, and Halloween chatter—fall is officially in full swing. If you can sift through the lingering conversations about apple picking, pumpkin carving, and trick-or-treating, your ears may catch gossip promising more than Fun Size Snickers price cuts. It’s also the month when the girls field hockey team has dedicated themselves to taking on the fight against breast cancer in tribute to Great Neck Public School gym coach Jane Maher, who sadly lost her battle against cancer this summer. When the girls take the field, they are playing for a long overdue cure.
October marks National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and field hockey coach Tara Rosenthal, commonly known as Coach Casey, is leading her team as they raise money and awareness to help find a cure to cancer. The “play for a cure” mission has been held annually for a few years now, but 2015 differs from years past. “This year, we decided as a coaching association to dedicate all of our pink games to Jane Maher,” said Coach Casey. Each Nassau County varsity field hockey team agreed to do one “Jane Maher game.”
The Play 4 the Cure initiative encourages athletes to play for a purpose, allowing them to contribute to a positive and life-changing organization. Upon registering to be part of the movement, the team receives rubber bracelets and a free fundraising kit. In the past year alone, over 600 teams have participated, raising a total sum of $1.5 million. One hundred percent of the money raised went directly to cancer research.
“As a group, we fundraise in the month of October, and all the money is being donated in Jane Maher’s name,” Coach Casey said. For just t-shirts alone, the girls field hockey team bought 40 and has already sold 84 more to faculty. The shirts were sold for a profit of 3 dollars each, raising a total of $369, not including bake sales and bracelets. Coach Casey is optimistic about the progress of sales so far. “When all is said and done, I believe we will [have raised over] $700 from Great Neck South alone.”
Freshman field hockey player Cece Schnall said, “This month, basically everything we do goes along with breast cancer awareness.” According to Schnall, the field hockey team been actively selling pink bracelets to classmates and has organized two bake sales so far. The bracelets are sent from the Play 4 the Cure organization and are sold for $2 each. “We really try to do anything we can that will help donate money for research,” said Schnall.
“She was very caring, very kind, and very passionate about her coaching,” said Coach Casey about Coach Maher. Coach Maher was the athletic director at South before moving to Great Neck North. During her time at South, she coached field hockey and lacrosse, leading her teams to victory. With memories of her in their minds, the field hockey team made their contribution to ensure that the fight against cancer will continue until a cure is found.