By Janee Law
Eli Gordon, a junior kicker for the Cold Spring Harbor Jr./Sr. High School varsity football team, spent his fall season kicking for a cause, raising funds for his “Kick Cancer” initiative.
Through his performance on the football field, Gordon, 16, put away $25 for every extra point he made during the game. With 19 extra points this season, Gordon raised $475 and then matched the funds using birthday and bar mitzvah money to make it $1,000.
Gordon presented the $1,000 check of his own money to Dr. David Spector, director of research and a professor at Cold Spring Harbor Labs, on Dec. 8.
He said he got the idea in May, when he participated in the “Keep Pounding” 5K run in Charlotte with the Carolina Panthers football team. For that, he started a kickstarter page six months prior to the run and raised $1,000 in funds for cancer research for the Carolinas Healthcare Foundation.
“The keep pounding mantra that the Carolina Panthers often use is something I live my life by,” he said. “I never give up and I always put as much hard work and dedication into something I can to really make the most out of it.”
Gordon, of Lloyd Harbor, wanted to bring the cause closer to home, with Cold Spring Harbor Labs known for its cancer research, and Cold Spring Harbor High School teacher Victoria Terenzi who passed away early this year from breast cancer.
Gordon said he was also inspired to bring the cause to home by Sam Mills Jr., a former NFL linebacker and coach for the Carolina Panthers who announced that he was diagnosed with cancer in 2004.
“He said he’s going to keep pounding and that he wants the team to keep pounding and it really became their team mantra and it exists to this day,” Gordon said. “He was really the cause of that so that was really inspiring to me.”
Gordon was also a center midfielder on the Cold Spring Harbor boys varsity soccer team. He was awarded the distinction of being named a New York State Scholar Athlete for the fall of 2016. In addition, Gordon is the president of Save the Children, and a member of Natural Helpers.
Gordon’s mom, Shanah, said that she is so proud of her son.
“He always seemed to have an old world perspective on empathizing with other people,” she said. “To tie together what he knows, which is education in the Cold Spring Harbor School District, with what’s possible in changing people’s lives was very moving to me. It gives you faith in the young people.”
Gordon added that he plans to continue his efforts to the cause.
“I definitely think that I’d like to do it again next year, if possible,” he said. I want to do all I can to help raise money for cancer research because it’s an important part of my life.”