More than 60 players participated in a lacrosse game at Skelos Sports Complex on June 25 to benefit the Jillian E. Daly Foundation, established by family and friends of the 2004 South Side High School graduate who died last October from an autoimmune blood disorder. Daly also attended Hewitt Elementary School and South Side Middle School. During her youth she was a member of the Rockville Centre Soccer Club, and in high school she competed in swimming and gymnastics. One of her proudest moments in high school was when she was elected co-captain of the Red Team her senior year and the team won the annual Red & Blue competition. She went on to attend Sacred Heart University, where she found her calling to help others. She graduated in 2009 with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Jillian was working at Winthrop-University Hospital at the time of her death. The lacrosse game was the second fundraising event — following a cruise around Manhattan last December — held in her honor. Jill had a true passion for lacrosse even though she didn’t play. She was one of the statisticians for the Cyclones’ 2004 state boys’ lacrosse championship team. “We hope to honor her love for the game by playing our alumni game in her name,” said Greg Rudolph, Daly’s cousin and a 2004 South Side grad. “This will be an event held yearly in the month of June for all South Side and Sacred Heart alumni lacrosse players,” he added. “Our foundation plans to hold at least two annual events to honor her.” In the game, teams were split into odd and even graduating years from high school. The odd years were named Team Jillian and the even years were named Team Daly. Team Jillian jumped out to a 5-0 lead at the end of the first half. However, Team Daly fought its way back in the second half and pulled even in the fourth quarter to make it 8-8 and force overtime. The game-winner was scored by Michael Robustello to give Team Jillian the win. About 350 people attended the post-game celebration at Kasey’s Restaurant. Through numerous donations from local businesses and friends, the game exceeded its fundraising expectations. Funds are used to support research in order to understand and learn more about autoimmune blood disorders. The foundation supports annual awards to Sacred Heart University’s School of Nursing and Winthrop University Hospital’s Nurses in Need, to name a few. For more information, visit jilliandalyfoundation.com.
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