A Syosset-based organization is about to get some heavy lifting help with its efforts to face the challenges of cancer.
CancerCare, which provides free, professional support services and information to help people manage all aspects of the dreaded disease, will be the chief beneficiary of Dawn of the Deadlift—a weight-lifting competition at Training for Warriors (TFW) in Hicksville on Nov. 1. The competition will be a costumed-charity event, with attendees encouraged to dress up as they throw down some lifts.
Bethpage’s Mat DeSanno organized the fundraising event in loving memory of his mother Debbie, who died of lung cancer in 2010. That ordeal led DeSanno, and his sister Michelle, to discover CancerCare. With the experience of losing their mother to cancer, they knew the emotional and financial difficulties that many people go through and they wanted to help any way they could.
“It was just awful,” said DeSanno, who grew up in Levittown. “And when our ordeal was over, we thought about how we could help make this easier for someone else. My sister found CancerCare and learned about a fundraising walk they organize and now we do it every year.”
The DeSanno’s formed Team Debbie in honor of their late mother, recruiting family, friends and anyone else to walk with them in their mission to raise money for CancerCare.
“We didn’t have to deal with some of the stuff that others do, in terms of the financial side of treatment,” he said. “Knowing what we went through and how difficult it was, it’s hard to imagine also having to deal with money under those circumstances.”
CancerCare’s services include counseling and support groups over the phone, online and in person, as well as educational workshops, informational material and financial and co-payment assistance. The services are provided by oncology social workers and world-leading cancer experts. In the past year, CancerCare has provided more than $15 million in financial assistance.
One week after Dawn of the Deadlift, CancerCare will hold its 13th annual Lung Cancer Walk for Hope, Sunday, Nov. 8, at the Town of Oyster Bay Golf Course in Woodbury. Registration begins at 8 a.m. and the walk will officially kick off at 9:30 a.m. Anyone interested in starting a team or walking as an individual can register in advance at www.cancer
care.org/lungcancerwalk or by calling 888-814-9255.
DeSanno’s Team Debbie will be walking proudly on Nov. 8, and he himself will be lifting at Dawn of the Deadlift. He said all levels of experience are welcome at the lifting event. At the end of the day, after three flights for men and two flights for women are completed, only one man and one woman will be left who can lift the weight. Best costume awards will be presented and spectators are welcome. Call 516-551-8900 to register or visit TFW at 67 Bloomingdale Rd. in Hicksville.
“We will all be there for something bigger than ourselves,” he said. “It’ll be a fun event to bring the community together and really help the people who need it.”
DeSanno has been working out with weights since the seventh or eighth grade. He went to school for nutrition because he wanted to do what he could to help people stay healthy and avoid getting sick. It is this drive that helps DeSanno draw parallels between lifting weights and working to help people bear the burden of cancer.
“You have to know that the goal you are chasing is more important than how you feel right now,” he said. “Future you is counting on you. You have to keep going.”