Family and friends pack North Fork vineyard to support Southold teen battling rare bone cancer

By: Ashley Gagen and Simon Ahn

The North Fork community came together on Friday evening, Oct. 19, at Duck Walk Vineyards in Peconic to fundraise for 14-year old, Dylan Newman, who is battling Ewing sarcoma, a rare type of bone cancer.

According to the National Cancer Institute, each year approximately 225 children and teenagers are diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma.

Hundreds packed the vineyard to support for the teenager and his family. Tickets cost $50 and the Riverhead Police Benevolent Association(PBA) sponsored the event, where Dylan’s mother, Tanya has worked for 18 years as a public safety dispatcher.

The PBA have helped the Newmans as much as they can because “they are their family,” according to Charles Mauceri and John Morris, two co-workers of Tanya’s.

“As families we started to think of ways we could help,” Mauceri, Treasurer of the PBA said. “Dylan’s treatments have put a tremendous financial burden on the Newman family and the Riverhead Police Benevolent Association wanted to hold an event that would help alleviate some of that burden,” Morris, the Vice President of the PBA added.

Southbound LI, a Long Island band, performed for the entire night, with nearly everyone on the floor dancing away. Lite fare, beer and wine were served. In addition, there was a 50/50 raffle as well as a Chinese auction,  a combo of a raffle and auction.. Many of Dylan’s friends wore green t-shirts with “Team Dylan #5” on them to show their support.

This past April, Dylan began feeling pain in his right hip. His parents took him to get an MRI. The results weren’t what they were expecting. “We didn’t tell him the type of hospital we were going to that morning, just because we didn’t want to scare him any more than he already was,” Tanya said.

Dylan, is “a old baseball soul”, as described by his father, Todd, and has been playing baseball all his life. He is a 9th grader at Southold High School and was playing on the Varsity baseball team as a starting third baseman and a leadoff hitter, before the onset of the disease.

“He sits there in bed with a glove in his hand tossing a ball back and forth,” Todd said. “He misses his friends from the travel team he was on the Titans and Team Steel. “No matter win or lose, he just loves the game,” he added.

“The hardest moment with all of this, was the first day at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC),” Nancy Harned Maaiki, a close family friend of the Newmans said.

When Dylan was diagnosed this April, the doctor assured him that the team at Sloan’s “were going to do everything in their power to make sure he is here for a long time and will have a story to tell.” As for Dylan himself, he has been fighting and is determined to play baseball again. “When this is all over, I can’t wait to get back on the field,” Dylan said.

“I’ve been friends with Todd for years,” Wendy Zuhoski, a deli owner in Mattituck said. “I put a donation jar out without even notifying them. People don’t hesitate to drop whatever they can into it.”

The fundraisers that have been held since June supported Dylan & his family with the financial burden. Todd’s insurance from his job covers a majority of the treatments, however the co-pays, lodging and travel begin to stack up.

“They are amazing people. Dylan is very strong-willed young boy. Todd & Tanya are both amazing, hard working and very community oriented,” Zuhoski said.

Both Todd and Tanya are extremely grateful to receive hearty support for their son’s treatment in these last six months. “It sometimes leaves me speechless,” Tanya said. “We get cards from people all over because of Dylan’s story being shared across the Internet. We’ve kept each one, and when he is done fighting this, then we can thank each person individually.”