Each year after Night on the Town in Mineola, Tony Lubrano visits his father’s grave to tell him how much money the event raised for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
Cancer research kept Lubrano’s father, Pasquale Lubrano, alive 15 years longer than doctors expected, so Lubrano considers his goal of raising $1 million for the society a “bill” for that extra time, he said. Lubrano made the pledge in 2010, four years after his father’s death.
He could soon be three-quarters of the way there. Lubrano said he hopes to add $150,000 to his $600,000 total at the seventh annual Night on the Town on April 6.
“I look forward to the day when I go there a year or so from now and I can say, ‘Dad, that bill is paid,'” Lubrano said.
Between 600 and 700 people are expected to attend the affair at Jericho Terrace, which will feature food from more than 20 restaurants, raffle prizes and live music from New York’s Most Dangerous Big Band, a 23-piece swing band, Lubrano said.
A DJ will take over the entertainment later in the evening, and a dance company will encourage the audience to get up on the dance floor, Lubrano said.
Restaurants from New York City and across Long Island prepare spreads of food for free, and Mineola businesses including Tsontos Furs, Willis Hobbies and Mineola Bicycle donate raffle prizes, Lubrano said.
More than $47,500 has already been raised for the event, according to a Leukemia & Lymphoma Society webpage.
This year’s event will honor Kevin Lalezarian, a principal for the New Hyde Park-based real estate developer Lalezarian Properties, who has helped bring in big checks for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Lubrano said.
Lalezarian, whose firm is building its second apartment complex in Mineola, is expected to raise nearly $50,000 for the event this year alone, Lubrano said.
“Not only has he personally been extremely generous in the donation that he’s making personally, but he’s also been able to reach out to a lot of other banks and businesses in the area,” Lubrano said.
Lubrano also credited Harry Zapiti, with whom he started Night on the Town in 2011, and Warriors for a Cause, a local group of philanthropic professionals, with the event’s success.
Funding for blood cancer research has helped drive the childhood leukemia survival rate up from 3 percent 50 years ago to 92 percent today, Sarah Lipsky, the executive director of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Long Island chapter, said at last year’s Night on the Town event.
Getting to a 100 percent survival rate may be a difficult challenge, Lubrano said, but it’s a cause worth fighting for.
“This is something that in our lifetime, we’re going to be able to say, ‘Remember when people used to die from leukemia?’ Because we’re getting that close,” he said.
Tickets for Night on the Town are available for $125 through nightonthetown.lls.org. About 20 tickets for senior citizens are still available for $25; they can be purchased through Lubrano.