Memorial lobsterfest raises cash for young girl battling cancer

TIM KELLY PHOTO | Members of the Peconic Warpipes perform during Sunday's cancer fundraiser at Martha Clara Vineyards.

A large crowd packed the barn at Martha Clara Vineyards on Sound Avenue Sunday night to remember a local man known for his kindness and to raise funds for a little girl struggling with cancer.

The first Rick Terry Memorial Lobsterfest raised funds for the family of 10-year-old Emma Wheeler who has been fighting a cancerous kidney tumor, known as a Wilms tumor, only found in children. The cancer was found after the Wheeler family of Rehoboth, Mass, returned from a trip to Disney World in 2009. The tumor and kidney were removed during seven hours of surgery.

She finished chemotherapy in May 2010, but a scan this past February showed the cancer had returned, leading to a journey to a Chicago hospital for a double stem cell transplant.

Emma’s aunt, Lynne Krauza of Cutchogue, works as a secretary in the Southold town attorney’s office.

The Terry family established the fundraiser to carry on Rick Terry’s concern for helping others. Mr. Terry was the general manager of the Lobster Roll restaurant on Sound Avenue in Riverhead and a professor of hotel and restaurant management at Nassau County Community College. He died last December 20 at age 44.

“We’re trying to carry on Rick’s passion for helping people down on their luck,” said his brother, Mark Terry of Riverhead, principal planner for Southold Town.

Since his brother’s death, Mr. Terry painted about 30 pieces, many set at dawn. Known collectively as “hope rising,” the paintings were sold during a silent auction. Adding atmosphere to the show, two bagpipers marched in with lights off, the only light coming from the glow-sticks attendees wore around their necks.

“It was a very different tribute and spin on a fundraiser,” said Mr. Terry