Shoreham-Wading River midfield GraceAnn Leonard carries the ball up the...

Shoreham-Wading River midfield GraceAnn Leonard carries the ball up the sideline against Ward Melville during the "Lax out Cancer" benefit lacrosse game, Saturday, May 13, 2023 at Shoreham-Wading River high school. Credit: George A Faella

Shoreham-Wading River community members proudly sporting pink shirts, stickers and sneakers flooded the high school’s athletic complex on Saturday morning, and just kept coming.

On the turf field, pink hair and jerseys raced up and down under the hot sun.

But this was no ordinary “pink out” game.

For 15 years, the completely volunteer-run "Lax Out Cancer" event has been held to raise money for local families who are battling cancer. This year, there were four families who were the beneficiaries: the Julian family, the Thomsen family, the Rosati family and the Loscalzo family.

“This year’s recipients are unique in that they have all been a part of this event, whether they donated their time as volunteers or their services,” said Jeremy Brandt, this year’s head organizer. “Gratitude reciprocates. They were there for others, now it was time for us to give back to them.”

“When I took over the program nine years ago, I wanted to continue and grow this event as much as possible. It’s important for our athletes to get involved to appreciate how fortunate they are and encourage them to continue to help,” Shoreham-Wading River boys lacrosse coach Mike Taylor said.

“It’s an honor wearing pink today,” said Liam Kershis, a junior on the boys lacrosse team. “It means everything to give back to the people in this community.”

Megan Julian, a 2017 Shoreham-Wading River graduate who was also a three-sport athlete (field hockey, lacrosse and basketball), was diagnosed with a rare type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma earlier this year.

“I was shocked and grateful to this community for wanting to help me and my family through the difficult journey that we've been through with my cancer treatment,” said Julian, whose brother Max is a junior on the boys varsity team. “Being a part of this today was really special.”

With over $40,000 raised before the event, the total goal of $50,000 was quickly exceeded as volunteers ran youth “fastest shot” competitions, sold food donated by local businesses, and raffled off prizes, some of which included lacrosse sticks signed by alumni and one-on-one practice sessions with girls varsity players. The event boasted over 90 sponsors.

“Being on the receiving side of this today is just overwhelming,” said Robert Thomsen, who was diagnosed with melanoma brain metastases three and a half years ago. “I can’t thank give enough thanks to this community for throwing their love back to us.”

Following the girls’ scrimmage against Ward Melville, the Shoreham-Wading River (10-4) boys lacrosse team hosted the final event. It faced East Islip (9-4) for the teams’ last Suffolk Division II game before the playoffs. Carter Rubin, a Shoreham native and winner of "The Voice" in 2020, sang the national anthem.

“East Islip gave up a home game in its schedule in order to play us during this event,” said Taylor. “For them to do that and acknowledge how important this is beyond the lacrosse community is incredibly honorable. 'Lax Out Cancer' will continue to help families for years to come because of that kind of selflessness and generosity.”

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