Some local celebrities hit the hardwood against the Harlem Wizards at Union College Tuesday night. The stakes were high for this charity basketball game, with kids with cancer benefiting from the night's proceed. And our Maria Valvanis explains, this whole event was inspired by a Shalmont student, who faces a battle with cancer of his own.
SCHENECTADY, N.Y. -- With local lawmakers, police chiefs, and even our favorite sports anchor. Team Dante really was the dream team. But the real star of the game was the coach, 15 year old Dante Gallucci, the giving spirit that brought the whole crowd together.
Alicia Borini said, "You meet people that you know in 15 seconds are going to change the world, Dante's one of those people."
A 3-sport-athlete at Schalmont, Dante was diagnosed with lymphoma last year. Like any child facing a life threatening illness, make a wish stepped in to grant Dante one wish.
Dante Gallucci said, "We had an exchange student from Italy stay with us two years ago so my wish was to go to Italy to see him."
But what Dante and his family wanted to do first.
CEO of Make-A-Wish Northeast, William Trigg, said, "The Gallucci family wanted to pay it forward right away to help support Make-A-Wish, and make other seriously ill kids wishes come true. So this is kind of a first for us."
So Team Dante met the Harlem Wizards, and shot to raise $20,000 for the Make-A-Wish foundation.
Teri Gallucci said, "It's really important for him to upbeat parents, and an upbeat community, it makes all the difference in the world."
Sporting lymphoma awareness green, Dante supporters came from all walks of life.
Joey Drezba said, "It's something to look up to for Dante, and I just wish him the best."
Eric Haller said, "I'm going to help him all the way through and hopefully see him soon on the fields."
Carol Ramundo said, "It's heartbreaking of course, but we have a wonderful community here."
And it's the love from the community that made the whole night, a slam dunk. A night full of laughter, a little sweat, a few kisses, and a basket full of hope.
Dante said, "Going through this is not easy so Make-A-Wish just makes it that much easier to get through everything and to have something to look forward to."