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Atlantic Youth Hockey League

 

Luke Wins His Royal Battle

Release Date : 11/30/2015

KINGS PARK, N.Y. – The Long Island Royals raised nearly $2,500 on Sunday afternoon, pushing them across the $7,000 needed to send Luke Carusillo, and his family, to Disney World.

Before a capacity crowd at the Superior Ice Rink, the Royals invited four-year old Luke into their locker room, which contained a stall, complete with nameplate, for the youngster, immediately making him part of the team.

“When we first met Luke, it was very emotional,” Kyle Jadatz (Kings Park, N.Y.), one of the two event organizers said. “Knowing that he has been through so much in a such a short amount of time gave us such a boost of motivation to play our hearts out on the ice.”

Without prompts from the coaching staff, Jadatz, and his teammate Lenny Schwartz (East Islip, N.Y.), reached out to Make-A-Wish Suffolk County and learned of Luke’s illness and desire to have a family trip to Disney World. Luke suffers from pilocytic astrocytoma, a rare form of juvenile cancer that has left the vibrant youngster with a partially inoperable brain tumor. Earlier this year, Luke underwent a procedure that removed the majority of the tumor.

The pair organized several fundraisers aimed at granting Luke’s wish and in the weeks leading up to the game, the Royals raised nearly half of the needed amount. Sunday’s game completed the process of sending the family on their special trip.

“Life is so fragile and when we see Luke and his family with all smiles in Disney, then that’s what this was all about,” Schwartz was quoted as saying prior to the event.

With representatives from Make-A-Wish Suffolk County, along with several local media outlets, including CBS-2 and TV-55 Long Island, Luke’s entire experience was captured for the world to see, as he finally came face-to-face with his Royal heroes.

   

“At first he was a little tentative,” Ralph Carusillo said. “But as the day went on, it was just a great day.”

To complete the Royal sendoff, another team family donated round-trip airfare for the Carusillos.

“As a player and coach, I have been involved in many games charged with emotion,” Barbara added. “This was as emotional an atmosphere as any [game] in recent memory. This is one we will ALL remember for a long time.”

As for the game itself, as if there was any other way for this story to end, Jadatz scored the go-ahead goal right in front of Luke and his family as the Royals claimed a 6-3 victory. After the game the team presented the game puck to the Carusillos.

“They were such amazing young men,” Ralph said. “My entire family, we just want to thank Lenny and Kyle, their parents and the Long Island Royals organization, and the multiple people that put this day together for Luke. It was fantastic.”

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