"Skate for Life:" Teens Organize Benefit Show

Vicki S. Luy
Sarah and Emily Hughes.

“Skate for Life” will take place at the Mennen Sports Arena in Morristown, N.J., on April 3. The charity event, which is aimed at raising funds for breast-cancer research, will feature a number of U.S. and international skaters.

The star-studded cast boasts five Olympians. Sarah Hughes, the 2002 Olympic champion, and her sister Emily Hughes, the 2007 U.S. silver medalist, are slated to headline the show, along with 2002 Olympic bronze medalist Timothy Goebel and 2010 European bronze medalist Elene Gedevanishvili.

“Skate for Life” will also feature local skaters, including Samantha Cesario, the current Eastern Sectional champion, and Felicia Zhang, the 2010 U.S. junior pairs champion with partner Taylor Toth.

For the Hughes sisters, the cause is a personal one. Their mother, Amy Hughes, was diagnosed with stage III breast cancer when they were young. The sisters watched their mother make the transition from patient to survivor and have joined their mother as advocates in raising awareness about the disease.

The Hughes’ family story has been an ongoing inspir-ation for many, including 16-year-old Corinna Lin, who is one of the vibrant, young forces behind this event.

“When I was four and saw Sarah skate at an exhibition at the Goodwill Games at Nassau Coliseum right after she won Junior nationals, I was inspired to start skating,” Lin said.

Thirteen years later Lin is the reigning Chinese Taipei national champion who will perhaps have the chance to compete at the World Junior Championships this season.

Last year she decided that producing a skating show as a fundraiser would be a great use of her talents and connections. In choosing her cause, she was reminded of the family that originally inspired her.

“As a Girl Scout, I have always been conscious of the need to serve the community, and I thought that putting on a skating show would be the best way to do so,” Lin said. “The Hughes’ sisters have inspired me not just with their skating, but also with their determination and strength of character.”

While Amy Hughes’ story was the original inspiration of Lin’s interest in breast-cancer awareness, she said she stands behind the cause because the disease continues to affect so many people.

Lin aspires to become a doctor with a focus on cancer treatment and the search for a cure.

It will be the first skating show Lin and two of her training mates, Madison Olivieri and Veronica Mishkind, will stage.

Olivieri, 15, finished seventh at the novice level at the North Atlantic Regional Championships this season and will skate at the junior level next year.

Mishkind, 16, will represent Israel in the junior ranks this season. All three have been actively seeking donations and sponsors to make this event a show-stopper.

Local skating choreographer Chika Maruta has donated her talents to assist in creating a production that will blend skating with live music provided by Lisa Bouchelle.

The show has been approved as a fundraiser by the Susan G. Komen Foundation of North Jersey. Ticket prices start at $10 and will be available at the Mennen Sports Arena box office.

Originally published in April 2011