Skating community to hold event for cancer victims

Ridgeland Common rink is site of Skate Fest 2019

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Sports Editor

Few people in this world can execute "the worm" on dry land, much less the slippery terrain on the ice of Ridgeland Common Recreation Center (RCRC).

Don't tell that to Trinity high school sophomore Lily Scully-Granzeier.

Last March at the RCRC's annual ice show, Lily transitioned from sprinting across the skating rink into a full-out break dance in a hot dog costume. She had everyone in attendance laughing and dazzled by the impressive exhibition of body control. After skating at Ridgeland Commons for over 10 years, she had accrued plenty of moments on the rink full of laughs, competitiveness, and a forever-growing ardor for ice skating (the worm-hot dog hybrid being the most emblematic of her zeal).

So when Lily's diagnosis of metastasized thyroid cancer came to the attention of her family a month after the performance at RCRC, the skating community was devastated.

"[The skating community] is a family and when we heard about what Lily was dealing with, we knew we wanted to do something to make sure she felt supported," said Lily's primary skating coach, Cathy Brown. "After we decided to do an event for Lily, it kind of took on a life of its own."

After Lily's friends spread the word on social media, "Skate Fest 2019" quickly turned into a fundraiser to raise awareness about children and young teens impacted by thyroid cancer. Lily, who insisted that the event be not just about her, picked the two charities that the proceeds of the event will go to.

Wellness House and ThyCa are the organizations that have been involved with providing Lily and other patients who are attending the event the resources to combat their illnesses. Wellness House provides families of cancer victims with support groups, fitness classes, and food seminars that help provide nutrition for the kids afflicted. ThyCa is an organization that connects past and current thyroid cancer victims with each other to create support and educates those impacted by the disease. All the proceeds go to these two charities and both are sending representatives to attend the event.

"One of the things that Dr. Ortega said to us after the diagnosis is that we have an opportunity to make a difference and spread awareness about this issue," said Margaret Scully, Lily's mother. "We are doing everything we can to make the best out of this situation, and I am so proud of Lily in the way she has handled this."

Skate Fest 2019 takes place on Sept. 21 and will be held at the Paul Hruby Skate Academy, 6-7:30 pm. People will share their stories about the disease and those impacted by thyroid cancer.

Spilt Milk, Jimmy John's, and Happy Apple all agreed to donate their services to the event. Admission for the event is $15 a ticket, and each raffle ticket is $5 (or 3 tickets for $10). The raffle includes prizes varying from athletic gear to free skating lessons to Blackhawks tickets. Lily will also auction off the jewelry she has been making since her diagnosis. Lily's best friend's mom, Maria Kunigk, hasn't taken off the choker necklace Lily made since the announcement of the diagnosis.

"She's really been holding her strength through all of this, and she's not alone," said Kunigk. "We are fighting with her and this event is our way of showing her that."   

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