Shelter Island Reporter editorials

Cheryl Hannabury, founder of the Island Gift of Life Foundation.

Gift of Life
One of the Island’s great winter traditions mixing fun, community spirit and helping others in need is back this Saturday evening at the Ram’s Head Inn from 6 to 9 p.m.

The 19th annual Celebration of Life community cocktail party is the largest fundraiser for The Island Gift of Life Foundation, founded in 2001 by Island resident Cheryl Hannabury and some friends.

Cheryl battled Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma for several years. In the midst of her illness, she was shocked at the amount of money cancer patients have to spend, with most of it not covered by insurance companies.

She decided to do something for the patients and their families, to relieve just one more stress from an already overwhelming situation.

Cheryl died of her illness in 2002, but her mother, Charlotte, picked up the fallen standard and the Island community rallied behind her and Cheryl’s memory, pushing The Island Gift of Life Foundation into a higher gear.

In addition to fundraising, the foundation is involved in a bone marrow donor registry, bringing awareness to the issue of finding donors.

If you can make it, don’t miss the event this Saturday at the Ram’s Head. The support is needed, and you can pitch in to give some relief to struggling families.

And that other thing, mentioned at the top — fun — will be in attendance, with an auction, live music and livelier conversation. Raffle tickets are $10 and admission is $50 at the door or online at islandgiftoflife.org/events.

Maria Serano with her children, Daniel and Margaret at the Federal Courthouse in Central Islip on Valentine’s Day after she was sworn in as a newly minted U.S. citizen.

Hearty congratulations go out from all of us here at the Reporter to our neighbor, Maria Serano, owner of Maria’s Kitchen on North Ferry Road, for achieving United States citizenship.

Ms. Serano has been a strong role model for all who come in contact with her, donating her time and food to Island social events, and helping other immigrants here who are navigating the American immigration system.

Her hard work, dedication and perseverance make her an inspiration, the same as many immigrants who are our neighbors.