Southside Hospital employees faced off against members of the Suffolk County Police Department on Sunday to raise money for kidney disease research.
The game at Bay Shore Middle School was organized by Alex and Julie Peterson, whose 13-year-old son, Christopher, has been battling for 10 years a kidney disease called focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS).
The disease that Peterson suffers from is the second leading cause of kidney failure in children, according to The NephCure Foundation, a kidney research organization.
“If we have to be here again next year and the year after, we’re going to make [the event] bigger and better,” said Claire Cascio, 56, who works for Nephcure. “Hope is hard to come by, and Nephcure brings hope. It brings families home.”
Alex Peterson of Bay Shore had the idea for a charity game one day while playing a pickup game with friends at Southside Hospital. Peterson, an ER technician, said the group was looking to play a game for charity, so he suggested they raise money for NephCure.
That was two years ago. Now Alex, 38, and his wife Julie, 35, have just finished organizing the second annual NephCure Foundation Fundraiser Basketball Game, which raised about $2,000.
“I’m an employee at Southside Hospital, so it’s nice to have the administrators, doctors and nurses behind me,” said Peterson.
Last year’s charity raised $1,500 dollars for Nephcure.
Even though Southside Hospital lost to the Third Precinct with a score of 73 to 88, the game was a success for the NephCure Foundation and the Peterson family in raising awareness about FSGS.
“I think it’s a great thing,” said Joe Feldman, 32, who played for Southside Hospital. “We do everything we can for the kids. At the end of the day they’re our future.”
FSGS is a disease that causes poor filtration in the kidneys, which can lead to a loss of essential proteins into the urine. If a person lacks enough of these proteins, it can lead to edema, in which water seeps from the blood into the surrounding tissues. Currently, there is no known cause for FSGS, and can lead to kidney failure and permanent dialysis.
The event drew over 100 friends, community members and Nephcure volunteers, many of which had personal connections to the Peterson family.
“Right after we ended the game last year we said ‘OK, what are we doing next year?’” said Julie Peterson. “It’s been wonderful. I’m just overwhelmed with all this generosity from everybody.”
Pictured above: Southside Hospital employees play members of the Suffolk County Police Department's Third Precinct in a basketball game at Bay Shore Middle School to raise money for kidney disease research. (Feb. 12, 2012)