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Series of Memorial Events Honor Dana Sassano's Community Spirit

Community bands together for blood drive, dance and other benefits in memory Clarkstown North senior killed in car accident.

Dana Sassano’s spirit of helping others continues this week with the start of fundraisers and benefits organized in her memory.

The New City teenager's tragic death in December 2010 has glavanized the community and brought her family, friends and local businesses together.

A seven-day series of blood drives at 11 Clarkstown schools runs from today, March 8, until Thursday, March 31. The "2011 Drive For The Cup" is dedicated to Dana's memory and sponsored by the New York Blood Center, Clarkstown Central School District and Clarkstown Council of Parent-Teacher Associations. For a list of donation sites, times and dates, see www.nybloodcenter.org.

Hoops 4 Dana

On-site registration for the "Hoops 4 Dana" basketball tournament takes place at Clarkstown North High School through Wednesday, March 9. Online registration is available at hoops4dana@gmail.com until March 10. The 3-on-3 competition for grades 3 through 12 is scheduled for Sunday, March 27 at Clarkstown North, where Sassano was a senior. The entry fee is $20 per player.

Bowling fundraiser

On Sunday, March 13, the USY & Kadima Benefit Bowling Event hosted by the Nanuet Hebrew Center's youth groups will take place at New City Bowl from 3 to 4:30 pm.

New City Pizza will donate 50% of the proceeds from all food purchases beginning at 4 pm on March 29.

Mother-Daughter Dance

Vicki Giannetti, owner of Vicki's Dance Studio, is organizing an April 9 Mother/Daughter Dance in memory of the young leader. She has the help of St. Augustine's Church in New City, numerous local businesses and many volunteers.

Giannetti recalls Dana, who was a student for seven years and enjoyed jazz, tap and hip hop, “as happy, eager to learn, happy to help other students who weren’t getting a step and a great girl all around.” Giannetti says a combination of reasons led her to organize the fundraiser.

“The family as a whole is a beautiful family," she said. "Hopefully the strength in knowing there is a lot of love here will help.”

She feels it is important for local businesses to give back to the community. The event is being held two days before what would have been Dana’s 18th birthday.

The Saturday evening dance begins at 7:30 p.m. and ends at 9 p.m. Tickets are $25 for mother and daughter, $3 more for each additional daughter and is open to women of all ages. Tickets are being sold by reservation. Fliers have been distributed at all Clarkstown Schools and can be downloaded at www.vickistudio.com.

Donations will be accepted from those who cannot attend. More than 20 local restaurants, florists, fitness centers and specialty shops already contributed gift certificates and items for the raffle. Tickets will be sold for $5 for 10 raffle entries. St. Augustine’s Church is donating use of its facilities and businesses have provided bottled water and printing services. Giannetti plans to ask mothers to bring baked goods to sell during the dance. Students from her studio who she considers as part of one great closeknit family will help during the evening.

Giannetti hopes those attending the fundraiser will realize their time together as mothers and daughters is priceless. And she has high expectations.

“I hope it is a fabulous sold-out event with a lot of heart,” Giannetti said.

There will be dancing to favorites including The Cotton-Eyed Joe, Macarena, The Electric Slide and many more familiar songs. All proceeds from the dance will be given to the Sassano family.

West Nyack Elementary Supports Scholarship

Beginning at 3 p.m. on April 30, West Nyack Elementary School staff and
parents will sponsor a benefit at the Clarksville Inn to raise funds.
Details of the event which will include raffles and musical entertainment
are still being worked out.

Dana was a senior at Clarkstown North High School and a member of the National Honor Society. On Dec. 29, she and three friends, all seniors at Clarkstown schools, were returning from a New Jersey ski trip. The car they were riding in went out of control on a hilly stretch of Route 17A near Greenwood Lake and struck a van before plunging down a steep hill.

Dana was involved with various charities including the American Cancer Society, March of Dimes, Heart and Locks of Love. Her family donated her heart, which helped to save the lives of two infants.  

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