‘Her fight is my fight’
LAKE HUNTINGTON, NY — Christina Hubert, a high school Spanish teacher at Sullivan West, David “Hopper” Hubert and their three sons are united in battling her recent diagnosis of Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL), a type of blood cancer.
On Saturday, February 16, several hundred folks turned out to pack the stands at Sullivan West’s gymnasium to show support for the Hubert family at this critical time in their lives.
“Hooping for a Cause” featured three consecutive girls’ basketball games between the home team Lady Bulldogs and the Lady Wildcats of Livingston Manor, where David Hubert works as a technology instructor.
The bleachers were awash in lime green, as countless numbers of supporters of the Hubert family donned colorful tee shirts reading “Sullivan West Cares #hopeforhubert” and “LMCS Cares #hopeforhubert.”
According to Catherine Dickey, an English teacher at Sullivan West, the idea for the logoed shirts originated at neighboring Manor as a joint effort to showcase the cause.
Pat Donovan (coach of the Lady Bulldogs) and his girls varsity team have a ‘Pink Out’ every year that raises awareness and donations for those diagnosed with cancer,” she explained.
After the team learned of Hubert’s condition, they banded together with the goal of dedicating this year’s event to their Spanish teacher. They organized the games, set up fundraising and arranged for advertising.
Dickey noted that proceeds from the annual event would normally benefit Sullivan County’s Ride to Survive, but this year’s benefit would honor Christina Hubert, as she is the most recent member of the Sullivan West community to be stricken with cancer.
In her role as announcer, Dickey said by way of introducing the varsity game, “On behalf of the Hubert family, I would like to thank all of you for your support, generosity and for coming to our game today. Sullivan County may be small, but the love we feel for the Huberts is immense.
“Livingston Manor and Sullivan West are very fortunate to have such fine educators as Christina and David Hubert. Senora Hubert is a great teacher who has very high standards…" [her students] know that they can turn to Senora Hubert in times of trouble.
“Christina is a friend who is always there to lend a hand, an ear, or whatever may be needed. Without question, the role that makes Christina most proud is being wife to Hopper and mother to Andrew, Jacob and Alec. This evening is a chance for us to give back in small measure what the Hubert’s have given to us,” added Dickey in conclusion to the intro she penned.
Donovan said of the fundraiser in the wake of a convincing win, “The big thing was the cause, helping the Hubert family out. The spirit that we have here today shows how important they are to our community.”
Kevin Clifford coaches the Manor girls’ varsity squad. “It went to a good cause, great people coming together on a weekend, doing something for the community,” he said.
Sullivan County District Attorney Jim Farrell is no stranger to Sullivan West; both his son Douglas and daughter Kelsey attended the rural high school, and, according to Farrell, came back from college to be at the fundraiser. “They had the debate who Mrs. Hubert liked best,” he said.
Farrell added of the event, “I think it’s outstanding the way this community comes out for someone in need time and time again. It shows what living in a small town is really like.”
Michael A. Schiff serves at the Sullivan County Sheriff. “I think it’s just wonderful the way the community comes out for someone in need like this. Sullivan County always pulls together,” he said.
“The Huberts are wonderful people,” added Schiff, noting that the local chapter of the Ancient Order of Hiberians had a fundraiser on the same day as “Hooping for a Cause,” and pledged to donate a portion of the money to the Huberts.
“It’s Small Town USA,” said Schiff.
On a lighter note, at the end of the event, the county sheriff was spotted headed out the exit door, laden with baked goods. Fending off the usual jokes about cops and donuts, Schiff said, “They’re for my kids and the office. You put it on the counter, they’ll eat it.”
David “Hopper” Hubert was up in the stands watching the game with his trio of sons, 11-year-old Alec, age 12-year-old Jacob and 14-year-old Andrew, along with Hubert’s sister Stephanie Jester.
During the game, he proudly wore a black shirt emblazoned with a stylized boxing glove raised in defiance of the odds: “Her Fight is My Fight.”
“She got diagnosed three weeks ago. Since then, my wife’s spent a lot of time at Westchester Medical Center, and we’ve been going back and forth,” he said. “We’ve got a great community that supports us. We both work in great communities, and, when things happen, they really stick together. The packed house was just amazing.”
Asked how their sons are handling the stressful situation, Hubert replied, “They are picking up the slack at home. We’re doing our part to do what she usually does. They’ve been really good.”
During halftime, Dickey drew the crowd to its feet for a resounding wave of applause when she read a cell phone message she had just received from Christine Hubert from her hospital bed at Westchester while undergoing her initial treatment of chemotherapy.
Excerpted from Hubert’s “Dear Sullivan West colleagues, students and community members:”
“I am saddened I cannot be with everyone today doing something I love most, which is being a proud spectator, teacher and parent at our student games! I am however grateful to have just made it through my first 96-hour round of chemo as of 3:30 a.m., and I want you all to know I never could have completed it without the outpouring of love and support my family and I have received over the last few weeks from everyone. Whether you sent me well-wishes, called, dropped a note, sent food or flowers, or simply smiled and lent a helping-hand, it has been huge in motivating me to move onward to beat this illness. Today I am reminded once again just how awesome our community is, and why I love living and teaching in a rural community with such great parents and students.”
And as a word to her students on their achievements in the classroom and fields of athletic competition, Hubert said, “It motivates me to beat this cancer! You’re always in my thoughts. I miss you all terribly, but will see you all soon when I’m feeling better. Make us proud, Ladies,” signed, “Love, Senora.”
For information on how you can help the Hubert family in their time of need and support, contact Catherine Dickey at Dickeycay@swcds.org or Jackie Peters, secretary to the elementary school principal at Petersjac@swcsd.org.
The event reportedly collected several thousand dollars in donations, concession stand purchase, and bake sale proceeds to help in the Hubert family’s fight against the ravages of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.