Acting Up for a Good Cause
ALBERTSON, N.Y. -- While Mick Foley may not have the physique of an Olympic swimmer, he does have the heart of a champion. Which is why the Hardcore Legend donned a swim cap, goggles and a foam, chiseled chest to portray gold medalist Mark Spitz in a play to benefit a Long Island school and training facility for the physically-challenged.
Foley and fellow WWE Superstar Matt Striker polished their acting chops when the pair participated in the 42nd annual Celebrity Sports Night Dinner to benefit the Henry Viscardi School and the Abilities! center in Albertson, N.Y.
In front of an audience of nearly 600 contributors, Foley and Striker participated in "The Albertson Olympics," a play involving both Henry Viscardi students as well as other professional athletes, including Olympic figure skater Scott Hamilton and former New York Mets shortstop Bud Harrelson.
"This is probably my favorite charity event of the year," said Foley, who has participated for the past six years and lends his time to a slew of worthy causes. "Any time you take part in a fundraising event for a good cause, you're doing something important, but this one is especially fun."
And it showed, as evidenced by the smiles on the faces of the play's actors as well as the audience members.
"It's a blessing to be part of WWE," said Striker, himself a former high school teacher. "It makes me feel good to give back to my community, to lend my time and ability and be as goofy as possible to put a smile on people's faces."
Foley and Striker found themselves in good company. In addition to WWE Superstars Tommy Dreamer and Nunzio, the two were also joined during a reception for the event by the New York Mets' Rusty Staub and Darryl Strawberry, New York Jets' Marty Lyons and Bruce Harper and the New York Rangers' Rod Gilbert, among others.
Organizers hoped to raise nearly $1 million through ticket sales and auctions for both the school, which teaches roughly 200 physically-challenged students in grades pre-kindergarten through 12, as well as for the center, which assists in job-training and placement for the physically-challenged.
"The kids are really unbelievable," said Olympic figure skater Jo Jo Starbuck, who produced the play and has been involved in the fundraiser for nearly 20 years. "They are so inspiring to all of us—besides, they know their parts way better than us athletes do!"
If you'd like to learn more about the Henry Viscardi School and the Abilities! center, you can visit their website at www.abilitiesonline.org.