When Jen LaBier formed Team LaBier, LLC, with her third-grade classroom five years ago, Gabrielle DiCarlo was the first beneficiary of the group’s fundraising efforts.
T-shirt sales raised a total of $400 to be divided between the cancer-stricken 5-year-old and Friends of Karen, a non-profit organization that provides “emotional, financial and advocacy support for children with a life-threatening illness and their families,” which also selected DiCarlo as a recipient.
DiCarlo, who was diagnosed with neuroblastoma in 2012 and a brain tumor in 2015, was selected as a recipient by Friends of Karen again this year.
“I just think they’re being really nice, and I really like that they’re doing that,” said DiCarlo, 9, who has already undergone more than a dozen surgeries, including one that removed her tumor.
Team LaBier, LLC, has now raised over $30,000 since its inception, the bulk of which has come from the group’s annual “North Rockland Sports Day,” which debuted last year. After surpassing its goal of $10,000 last year, the class has set a goal of $15,000 for this year.
The group has already raised more than $14,000 before this year’s event, which will take place April 30 at North Rockland High School from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. The fundraising effort has drawn approximately 70 sponsors.
“When somebody is in need, this community just comes together,” said Nicole DiCarlo, Gabby’s mother. “They’ve helped me with my traveling expenses, for medical bills. … It just has lifted a burden, financially.”
The proceeds from the event will go to Friends of Karen, Stand Up To Cancer, and the Boomer Esiason Foundation, which specializes in helping those affected by cystic fibrosis such as Stony Point Elementary third-grader Julianna Huebner.
“It means a lot to me,” said Huebner, 8, whose father, Glenn, will run an obstacle course at Sports Day for the second consecutive year. “He wanted to do it for me so that he can raise money for me and help me.”
All fundraising is done through LaBier’s third-graders, who write letters, send emails and make phone calls to prospective sponsors. The class has already been featured on “Good Morning America” and Boomer & Carton for their work.
More than 200 North Rockland student-athletes will help run more than 20 stations at Sports Day. The New York Red Bulls are also expected to attend the event.
“We want people to come out and raise awareness for charity and have an amazing experience,” said LaBier, a 1993 North Rockland alumna and current tennis coach for the Red Raiders.
“It’s an honor to live here and coach here and work here,” LaBier said.