UPDATE (Monday, Feb. 27, at 4:51 p.m.): The total money raised by this event has now exceeded $53,000, and donations are still being accepted.
Saturday at Brentwood Park may have been centered around hockey, but the day was never about hockey.
For the families of the late Tom Cavataio, of Brentwood Borough, and Julie (Andrulonis) Duttine, of nearby , things like hockey stopped being important too long ago.
Both Tom and Julie—Brentwood High School alumni—died from cancer in December, leaving a hole in the lives of their families and friends. But events like Saturday's aimed to fill at least part of that hole.
Friends, relatives, neighbors, classmates and even total strangers descended on Brentwood Park for raffles, feasts and a street hockey tournament to raise funds in the names of Tom and Julie.
Ryan Trimbur, another Brentwood High grad who lives in Whitehall, was one of the event's biggest organizers. Combining player entry fees, Chinese auction tickets, 50-50 tickets, a bake sale, breakfast, lunch, dinner, local business sponsorships and more, Trimbur estimated that Saturday's ordeal raised over $53,000 to be split between Tom's favorite charity—the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America—and the Duttine family.
Tom suffered from Crohn's disease most of his life before dying at the age of 45, and by splitting Saturday's proceeds between his memory and Julie's, Tom's fight against Crohn's will live on in his absence.
For the Duttines, cancer has been especially rough. Jaden Duttine, son of Julie and Joseph, was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 2. Jaden has since turned 4 and is doing better, but he is still not out of the woods. And his mother died at 36 after fighting cancer alongside her son for two years and for much longer overall.
Joseph, Jaden and Jaden's older brother, Joey, continue to live on, but battling cancer on two fronts has been very costly for the family. Saturday's fun gave the Duttines a brief escape, and its funds will certainly help, as well.
Although hockey turned out to be secondary on Saturday, it was the glue that held the event together. The tournament itself was a big draw, luring 20 teams and their fans at $20 per player, and some of the day's biggest raffle prizes were Pittsburgh Penguins treasures, including a Mario Lemieux-autographed stick and jersey, a James Neal-autographed picture and jersey, game tickets, and many, many others.
Tom was a hockey enthusiast largely responsible for developing street hockey in Brentwood, and the deck hockey surface that he helped to build at Brentwood Park was the site of Saturday's championship game, won by the "Designated Drinkers," who had to survive four single-elimination games to earn bragging rights. That team's roster: Roy Duttine Sr., Roy Duttine Jr., John Schultz, Scott Schultz, Todd Schultz, Anthony Sekula, Travis Bogdanski, Darrell Kochanski, Dan Prilla, Jay Kass, Aaron Hahn and Gary Delehanty.
It was a great day for hockey, but it was an even better day for friendship and family. And it was the epitome of community.
(View the VIDEO and slideshow above to enjoy part of the experience. And please upload your own photos and videos from the event.)
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