By Jano Tantongco
A inspiring fixture in the Huntington School District community, 15-year-old Eli Mollineaux, died Monday in his fight against Pearson Syndrome.
Huntington principal Brenden Cusack stated the school’s favorite Blue Devil has “truly brought out the best in all of us and taught us to ‘bELIeve.’ ”
“Eli helped us all come together in amazing ways and his spirit will live on with us. It is a tribute to his memory to see so many students and staff supporting each other today,” he stated. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the wonderful Mollineaux family.”
Mollineaux was a sophomore at the high school. He was diagnosed as a child with a rare mitochondrial condition, Pearson’s Syndrome, which inhibits cell growth. Despite all odds, he has made waves in the Huntington community, including an appearance on Huntington’s football field in September.
The Blue Devils football team recruited Mollineaux to the field for an exhibition play in the team’s showdown against Smithtown West. When he took to the field, Mollineaux grabbed the football and went 50 yards for a touchdown.
Also on hand was former New York Jets player Marty Lyons, who presented Mollineaux with an autographed football and jersey.
Huntington Union Free School District Superintendent James Polansky stated that Mollineaux’s “positive attitude, kindness, compassion and perennial smile were infectious.”
“He had the rare ability to bring an entire community together and to promote a culture of caring and respect, which was evidenced on so many occasions,” Polansky said. “He loved Huntington and all in Huntington loved him right back.”
Mollineaux previously attended Woodhull Intermediate School. There, school officials spearheaded a winter basketball game known as “Eli’s March Madness.” As part of the game, teachers and staff played against colleagues from around the district.
The game, which has become an annual tradition, will go on as planned in 2017, with proceeds going to a scholarship for a Huntington High School senior.
Fellow Huntington sophomore, Chris Engle, stated that Mollineaux was always around to help cheer him up in difficult times.
“Every time I was with him he taught me something new about life and appreciating what you have because you don’t know how long you’ll have it,” Engle stated. “Eli was the strongest, happiest and funniest person I knew. He was able to change every person he met just by being himself.”
Mollineaux is survived by parents Ellen and Jeff; and brothers Joshua and Samuel.