The Huntington High School varsity and junior varsity tennis teams came together to participate in a fundraising event to benefit Rachel’s Dance for the Cure, an organization created in memory of Rachel Antorino, the daughter of Huntington English teacher Aimee Antorino, a former Blue Devil tennis player and tennis coach.
The fundraiser was held on Senior Day at Coach Cupp Courts. Hundreds of dollars were raised through contributions and a bake sale. The Blue Devils went on defeat visiting Harborfields in the final league match of the season, 4-3.
The cause was a very important to the team one because it was quite personal to longtime girls’ tennis head coach Jamie Fishlow and the Blue Devil tennis program. “Rachel’s Dance for the Cure was created to honor the life of Rachel,” Coach Fishlow said. “The funds that were raised went to support the fight against pediatric cancer.
The Blue Devils wore special tee-shirts emblazoned with #RACHELSTRONG on the back. Aimee Antorino was invited to the match and presented with a generous donation.
A 12 year old seventh grader at Commack Middle School at the time of her diagnosis, Ms. Antorino displayed remarkable bravery throughout her struggle against acute myeloid leukemia, an especially aggressive and rare form of cancer that cause the bone marrow to make an abnormal number of blood cells.
In recognition of her courage, people began referring to Ms. Antorino as “Rachel Strong.” Her strength was undeniable to everyone she encountered during 20 months of treatment. She passed away at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center on August 30, 2018.
“Rachel loved life, her family and friends,” according to a brief profile posted on the Rachel’s Dance for the Cure organization’s website. “She laughed a lot and had a passion for dance and summer camp. Rachel will always be remembered for her contagious smile and enthusiastic spirit. She inspired all who met her to stay positive and live life to the fullest.”
A 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, Rachel’s Dance for the Cure was established on October 5, 2018 in honor of Ms. Antorino. “This foundation is dedicated to celebrating the lives of those we’ve lost and supporting those that are fighting a similar battle with acute myeloid leukemia,” according to the organization. “In addition, our mission is to help conquer AML by helping to fund research to find a cause and a cure for this devastating disease.”