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Top stories of 2018: Community rallies for families in need

Baseball has always been a huge part of Dylan Newman’s life. The Southold teen even played on the school’s varsity team as an eighth-grader in the spring of 2017. Ever since he was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, a type of bone cancer, Dylan has funneled that enthusiasm for baseball as motivation.

In 2018, the community rallied around several North Fork families facing the unthinkable. For Dylan, the baseball team all wore shirts with “Newman” and his number, 5, for their last regular-season game. It was a way to show him the team had his back. The junior high softball team also wore green hair ribbons with the number 5.

In June, the school organized the Dash for Dylan, a Spirit Day-style event with games like tug-of-war, at the Southold High School gym. Dylan and about a dozen of his friends debuted freshly shaved heads.

“The community’s been incredible,” said Dylan’s mom, Tanya, in June. “Totally incredible.” 

In August, Mattituck-Laurel Library unveiled Claire’s Corner, the new toddler section created in memory of Claire Anne Lincoln. Claire died suddenly in November 2017 at 14 months old. The project was made possible by hundreds of donations.

The new entryway features an arch with the name “Claire’s Corner” and blocks with numbers and letters as the pillars leading into the green carpeted area filled with books and toys. The idea came from co-workers at Riverhead Building Supply, where Claire’s father, Judd, works, and Hyatt Place East End, where her mother, Suzanne, works.

In April, the community was saddened to learn Morgan West, a third-grader at Cutchogue East Elementary School, had died after a six-and-a-half-year battle with an aggressive brain tumor. Morgan’s determined spirit was an inspiration for all those who met her. And through donations from walks, fundraiser events, lemonade stands and more, Morgan’s parents were able to stay home with her during her last two months while she was in hospice care.

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