MAMARONECK, N.Y. Mamaronecks Ben Foster led a two hour soccer clinic for 80 children at Harbor Island Park on Tuesday to help raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS).
Foster and his co-workers at NOGA Soccer led drills in defense, dribbling and shooting and also led a scrimmage on the wide open field. Children ages 5 to 11 from four elementary schools in Mamaroneck participated in the event.
A lot of people nowadays know people that are affected by some kind of cancer, Foster said. It feels good to do something for such a good cause like this.
The 80 children doubled last years total number of participants, according to an email from Ellen Howse, a Larchmont resident who is on the board of the NYC chapter of the LLS. This year, more than 100 children and parents took part in the event in some capacity. The clinic raised almost $5,000 for the LLS.
The event was held in honor of Ethan Zohn, a professional soccer player and winner of the third season of the reality television show Survivor. Zohn planned to attend the event as he did last year, but his cancer returned.
Erin Zammett Ruddy, a leukemia survivor who just celebrated what she called her 10-year cancerversary, worked the tables at the event selling snacks and raffles, including an eBay auction that includes two field seat tickets to a New York Red Bulls game, two jerseys and two scarves. She is a candidate for the LLS Woman of the Year and is attempting to raise $100,000 by May 17.
Tuesdays clinic was part of that effort, but it also had an extremely personal resonance for her.
I think that a day like this is so special because it involves children, Zammett Ruddy said. Im lucky enough to be a mother of two after surviving cancer. I always look for ways to get the kids involved so that they kind of understand how important it is to give back and to help other people. For me, this day is extra special.
Zammett Ruddy was diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukemia 10 years ago at the age of 23. On year later, her 27-year-old sister Melissa, who was seven months pregnant at the time, was diagnosed with Hodgkins lymphoma. Today, they are both cancer free and have five children between the two of them.
Sara Lipsky, deputy executive director of the New York City chapter of the LLS, also had a hands-on role in Tuesdays event. She praised Zammett Ruddy and Howse for putting together the clinic.
Volunteers like them allow LLS to keep our costs down, since staff is not working to put it all together, so thats key in keeping expenses down, Lipsky said. Were thrilled to have even kids this young help in our cause.
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