A Wheatley Heights recreational field where children with cancer will be able to play soccer games in the shade was dedicated Monday to a Dix Hills teen killed by a drunken driver.
Matt's MLS Field, named after Matthew Scarpati, 19, was unveiled to many of his family and friends during a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Sunrise Day Camp. The free camp, run by a nonprofit charity organization, offers activities for children ages 3 to 16 who have cancer.
"What we're trying to do is help the kids at the camp have a nice facility in which to play soccer," said Scarpati's father, James, 66. "He would be very proud if he were here today to see the kids having fun."
"It's always tough not having him [Scarpati] here, especially because now we're graduating from college, becoming young adults and just entering into the world," Dan Silver, 21, a friend of Scarpati, said at the ceremony.
Silver was largely responsible for the Matthew Logan Scarpati Memorial Soccer Tournament, which held its third annual event last month at Half Hollow Hills High School East, where they attended classes.
The tournament has raised more than $40,000 since 2009, most of which went to funding the camp's new field, Silver said.
Large tents over the field will allow children in treatment to play in the shade all the time, said Amy Pilott, development associate at the camp.
"We've been waiting a few years to do this," said Silver, who graduated from the University of Michigan.
"It was a tragedy, but look how many people have benefited," Ian Schwartz, 22, said of his friend.
Scarpati's mother, Lynn, said she continues to cope by living life daily. "It's not an easy thing, but we're trying to make positive things happen," she said, adding that her son was an avid soccer fan.