HARRISON, N.Y. - Originally, Al Riccobono began playing in the Leukemia and Lymphoma Societys Snowball Softball Mike Kmetz Memorial Tournament because of his willingness to contribute to a worthy cause. A few years later, it became a major part of his life.
This tournament is special to me because my wife, Maria, was diagnosed in 1998 with Hodgkins Lymphoma, said Riccobono, a Stepinac graduate and Silver Lake native. After failing to respond to two chemo regiments, she finally received a bone marrow transplant and today is now 12 years in remission, thank God.
Riccobono and his teammates will take to the field, along with 31 others teams, for the 18th annual tournament at Veterans Memorial Park in Harrison. There is a 16-team mens division and a 16-team co-ed division. The tournament will begin, 8 a.m. and play will continue through 5 p.m.
The tournament is being held this year in honor of Dawn Re, a young mother who passed away last winter because of cancer.
The men and women who participate make it a full day of fun and are so enthusiastic in their support. We have a shelter where donated food and drinks are given to allplayers, and teams hang out before and after playing and have just an awesome day. Last year, Riccobono said the tournament raised $43,000. This year, the organizers are hoping to equal or surpass this number.
After his wife came down with lymphoma, Riccobono suffered two major blows in 2004 and 2006 when his mom passed away because of non-Hodgkins, in 2004, and his dad with lung cancer, in 2006.
Riccobono was touched by cancer in 2006 when he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma. I received radiation treatments, but it returned and is in my system, but the doctors monitor me every six months with scans to wait and see when treatment is needed, Riccobono said.
Last year, Riccobono was the honored player as a cancer survivor. At first, the humble Riccobono refused the honor.
I was touched and honored for sure to be asked to be that, but I refused, in fact, stating that there are way more heroic people out there in worse shape than I am, Riccobono said. Tom Nangle, who I am sure you know, changed my mind and explained why they wanted me to be this player, so I accepted.
In order to make a contribution please visit the tournament website at: http://wch.softball.llsevent.org/
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