Slide Show: SWR community walks for Liam

10/16/2011 10:47 AM |

The Shoreham-Wading River High School track was a sea of orange —  the leukemia awareness color — Sunday morning as hundreds of people came out to walk in support of Liam McGuire, a seven-year-old diagnosed with the disease in January.

Mary Mitchell, a health teacher at the high school and adviser to the school’s group Natural Helpers, organized the event to raise money to help the McGuire family with expenses.

The total amount of money raised was not yet available, but Ms. Mitchell said she hoped the event would raise over $10,000. 500 people had pre-registered and hundreds more people came out Sunday, she said.

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Liam, then a first-grader at Briarcliff Elementary School, was diagnosed with a rare chromosomal form of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia days before his seventh birthday in January.

Ms. Mitchell said she was inspired to help the McGuires after the Lax Out Cancer lacrosse game at the high school last year, which raised $21,000 for the family as well as Kait Suarez, a high school student who is also fighting cancer.

“I felt obligated to do something,” she said.

Earlier this year, Karen Campisi of Shoreham and Staci Naso of Wading River, both of whom are friends with Liam’s parents, started the nonprofit organization “Friends 4 Liam” to raise funds for the McGuire family’s medical costs and household expenses.

The community has since donated thousands of dollars to the family through various fundraisers which has enabled Liam’s mom, Sara, to take time off from her job as a pediatric nurse practitioner. Liam’s father Matt updates the community through a Facebook page, Friends 4 Liam.

The hundreds of people walking around the track burst into applause as Liam and his family arrived Sunday morning.

“We’re just so thankful for everything that everyone has done for us,” Ms. McGuire said.

VERA CHINESE PHOTO | SWR senior Haylie Kinsler, junior Taylor Brand, senior Chirag Raparia and senior Dan Hauser show off the orange bracelets they were selling.