On January 14th the Raiders Girls Varsity and Junior Varsity Basketball teams hosted their annual Coaches vs. Cancer games. This year’s games against Central Islip were dedicated to Matt “Dezy” DiStefano and his Dezy Strong Foundation. Dezy came to speak to all the student athletes at Patchogue Medford in the fall of 2019 about his story and to persuade everyone to never take a day for granted, while maintaining a “we get to” mindset.
For those who don’t know, Dezy is a father of three, a husband and a son, as well as a coach and friend to endless amounts of people. This past February he was diagnosed with a rare form of Stage Four Kidney Cancer and has been fighting it strenuously ever since. Once he received the news, he was heartbroken and didn’t know what to do or where to go, as the type of cancer he had come with an 8% rate of survival.
Instead of letting himself be consumed by anguish and despair, he decided to start his own foundation with the goal of helping other people in his situation who felt hopeless just like him. Additionally, he goes around to schools speaking on behalf of the foundation in efforts to inspire not only athletes, but everyone to live by the motto, “we get to.”
Rather than saying “I have to go to practice” or “I have to go to work,” Dezy enforces the idea of saying, “I get to go to work” and “I get to go to practice,” showing the idea that we are lucky to have every day in our lives and should never take them for granted. By enforcing the “we get to” motto, people learn to appreciate every day and opportunity they receive, as some people haven’t been as fortunate.
To learn more about Dezy’s story visit https://youtu.be/ZOd-Lb7NsPc and for more information about the Dezy Strong Foundation itself visit www.dezystrong.org or @dezystrongfoundation on Instagram.
Unfortunately, the Varsity team was defeated by Central Islip 29-23 in a very close game, however the JV team pulled through with a 48-23 victory. All in all, the night was a success with bleachers packed to the brim with seas of blue showing support for Dezy.
**Story update 1/28: Donations from the game raised over $6,000 for the Dezy Strong Foundation.