In The Schools

Oak Knoll Hoops Team Honors Friend, Alumna Who is Winning Bigger Battle

Laura Hefferan, left, embraces Oak Knoll classmate and current Varsity Basketball Head Coach, Katie Cummings, during a home game where students raised $1,800 toward cancer research. Credits: Oak Knoll School of the Holy Child

SUMMIT, NJ - When it came time to honor her friend's spirit and courage, Summit's Katie Cummings -- Oak Knoll School Class of 2003 and current Head Coach of the Royals Basketball Team -- found inspiration in the words of the school's foundress, Cornelia Connelly.

“Cornelia Connelly said, ‘Actions, not words,’ so I encourage everyone to come together to find a cure,” said Cummings. “Saturday was a special day in our community as we honored Laura, and came together to raise money for rare cancer research.”

Laura is Cummings' Class of '03 classmate Laura Hefferan, a Chatham resident who, through treatment at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, recently beat a rare form of cancer.

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In her honor, Oak Knoll’s varsity basketball team put on a 'full-court press' to raise $1,800 to benefit the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center through an effort, affectionately dubbed “Hoops for Hope,” which saw students raising funds through a bake sale, selling Hoops for Hope T-shirts, and accepting donations at the Royals' game versus South Plainfield.

Hefferan, a two-sport athlete at Oak Knoll, was diagnosed in July with an extremely rare form of ovarian cancer called immature teratoma. She has since received a clean bill of health after surgery and nine weeks of chemotherapy at Memorial Sloan Kettering.

“I am so blown away by everyone’s generosity, and know that Memorial Sloan Kettering will be incredibly thankful for the donations as well,” said Hefferan, who expressed pride in the spirit of community at her alma mater, including classmate and varsity basketball coach Katie Cummings ’03. “My dear friend Katie Cummings has been such a supportive, wonderful friend to me for as long as I can remember. Showing her players what it truly means to give back to a wonderful cause is what makes Oak Knoll such a special place, which is one that instills values and faith in daily living.”

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