Footballers Donate $5K To Autism Research

Cold Spring Harbor kicker Eli Gordon and Seahawk super fan Nicky Melillo.   Photo by Shanah Gordon

Cold Spring Harbor kicker Eli Gordon and Seahawk super fan Nicky Melillo. Photo by Shanah Gordon

By Janee Law

Cold Spring Harbor Jr./Sr. High School senior kicker Eli Gordon once again led a fundraising effort throughout this year’s football season, raising $5,000 towards autism research for the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.

The Seahawks presented a check for $5,000 to Professor Michael Ronemus, a member of Dr. Michael Wigler’s Autism Research Team at CSH Labs, at a ceremony on Dec. 12.

Gordon, of Lloyd Harbor, led the “Tackle Autism” fundraising initiative, honoring classmate and Seahawks super fan Nicky Melillo.

“He’s been our classmate since kindergarten so I wanted to do this for him since he’s done so much for the football team off the field,” Gordon, 18, said. “He’s our biggest fan and he’s always smiling, has a positive attitude and he inspired us throughout the season and that was something to be recognized.”

The team raised the funds throughout the season by receiving donations from members of the community during every home game.

“Most of the families and the football community participated by donating so it was great to see this year,” Gordon said. “I got the whole team involved and it was great we were all able to come together and donate and show our support for autism research.”

This follows Gordon’s fundraising efforts from last year, where he raised $1,000 to breast cancer research at the CSH Labs in memory of a teacher, as part of his “Kick Cancer” initiative.

For their efforts this year, the Seahawks received the Nassau County community service award at the county football coach’s dinner awards early this month, Jon Mendreski said. He added, the fundraising campaign is a good reflection of the team’s efforts and is “good for the community.”

Gordon’s mother, Shanah, said this year’s fundraising efforts were particularly special because majority of the team have been together since kindergarten and will be graduating in the fall.

The Seahawks were undefeated in their regular Nassau IV league season. They went on to battle in the Nassau IV championship, but fell to Seaford, 21-0.