When GCHS ’72 alum Robbie Flanagan Venturino was diagnosed with lung cancer it was life altering for her, her family and the countless individuals she had positively affected throughout her lifetime. True to form, Robbie tackled the disease with the strength of a warrior and an attitude that radiated courage.
Robbie was always very passionate about helping others. She was always there to support anyone down on their luck or suffering momentary setbacks. It was a trait appreciated by others and admired by her family.
While Robbie was battling a reoccurrence of her cancer, her family decided to follow her legacy and do something to fight the disease. Robbie’s husband, Frank, and daughter, Bryanne, decided a charity event was in order. It just so happened that the new girls basketball coach at Friends Academy was married to Robbie’s niece Beth. So with Jason’s taking the lead and the family’s love for the game of basketball with their dedication to curing the disease, Robbie Swish For A Cause was born!
Although Robbie lost her courageous battle with cancer on April 3, 2017, her spirit and legacy lives on. The inaugural event will take place on Friday night Dec. 8 and Saturday afternoon Dec. 9. Friends Academy will host what the family hopes will be a yearly event. On Friday night, the 5 p.m. game will have Our Lady of Mercy play Locust Valley, while the 7 p.m. game will feature Oyster Bay and Friends. Saturday the first game is at noon with Our Lady of Mercy playing Oyster Bay and the second game tipping off at 2 p.m. will have cross town rivals Locust Valley playing Friends Academy.
All donations generated by the tournaments are given to The V Foundation for Cancer Research. The V Foundation was created by Jim Valvano and ESPN for the sole purpose of finding the cure for cancer. With the help of his family and friends they grew the organization and have donated $150 million since 1993. They give 100 percent of all direct cash donations and net event proceeds to cancer research and related programs.
After a lot of research on the various cancer fighting organizations, Frank and Bryanne decided that The V Foundation for Cancer Research as well as Stand Up to Cancer were the two organizations that were putting the most money (100 percent of all in-kind donations) directly into research which they felt would be the greatest way towards a cure. The V Foundation has a big following in the sports world and its founder, Jim Valvano, inspired the family through his Arthur Ashe acceptance speech at the 1993 ESPY Awards, that this was the organization for them.
Join the Facebook page at Robbie For A Cause-Remembering Robbie Venturino to find out about other events planned including the Tee’d Off at Cancer 4 Man Scramble Golf Outing on April 30, 2018.