Serena Ahne’s father brought her to her first baseball game at Shea Stadium to watch the New York Mets play in the late 1980s. Since then, she has been an avid baseball fan.
Ahne, now 30, has been traveling to baseball stadiums across the country with her friend Lisa Leone, of North Bellmore, since 2007.
It wasn’t until her father, Fred Ahne, was diagnosed with testicular cancer about a year later that they both realized how much more they had in common than baseball.
Both of their fathers ended up cancer survivors. Five years earlier, Leone’s father, also named Fred, was diagnosed with oral cancer at age 51.
“Lisa and I wanted to do a charity in the name of our dads, so we approached a couple of cancer organizations about doing a fundraiser that our dollars would go towards these two diseases,” said Ahne, of Plainview. They couldn’t guarantee it, so we decided to do our own charity.”
Two years ago, after their fathers were diagnosed cancer-free, they teamed up to form a nonprofit, Fred K’s Cancer, to raise awareness and funds for oral and testicular cancer research.
On Friday, Leah and Manny Hartofelis, owners of Breathe N Flow Yoga in Freeport, agreed for the second year in a row to donate one of their 60-minute donation-based yoga classes to the nonprofit. The class brought in 11 people.
“Karma is a very big part of yoga and I believe that you need to put out positive karma in order to receive it back and spread it,” said Leah Hartofelis, 38, of Oceanside. “Giving back through community and donating makes you feel really good.”
It was Jeanette Geraci’s first time at the studio, and even though she had three years of experience, she decided to attend her friend and yoga teacher Tracy Needham’s class.
“The charity hits close to home,” said Geraci, 24, of Rockville Centre. “My grandfather died of a brain tumor and both of my grandmothers, at some point, did have cancer, so it’s great to be here to support the cause.”
Donations raised through Fred K’s Cancer are split between the Oral Cancer Foundation and Sean Kimerling Testicular Cancer Foundation, established in memory of an Emmy-winning sports journalist who died of testicular cancer in 2003 at age 37.
Leone’s father got a second chance after surgery removed the cancer, and she uses events like these to celebrate life.
“If you survive it and you’re a fighter it could be a celebration,” said Leone, 33. “In a way, Fred K’s Cancer is a celebration because we’re celebrating two people who fought it.”
The third annual Fred K’s Cancer Walk will be on June 23 at Eisenhower Park from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. For more information, email email@example.com.
Above: Serena Ahne, left, and Lisa Leone at Breathe N Flow Yoga in Freeport.