When Anthony Mustari was a student at Prairie Ridge High School in Crystal Lake, he never failed to support his school, always cheering at games of football, basketball, baseball and hockey.
Anthony, whose nickname is "Moose," was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia this summer after graduating high school. Since then, the Miracles for Moose Foundation has organized several benefits for the Crystal Lake teen, the most recent one a hockey game Saturday morning at Leafs Ice Centre in West Dundee.
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About 40 people watched from the stands, among them Nick Margiotta of Crystal Lake, who also graduated from Prairie Ridge in May.
"Anthony was the number one superfan of Prairie Ridge," Margiotta said. "The thought of something like this happening to anybody close to us, especially him of all people ... That's why we're here."
Tyler Kwiatkowski, 18, of Cary, who's known Anthony since the second grade, said Mustari is truly everybody's friend. "He's always trying to put people in a good mood, making jokes and being funny," he said.
Anthony had a bone-marrow transplant Oct. 15 and is currently in isolation while his immune system rebuilds itself, said Hailey Kenny, part of a group of five moms who spearheaded the Miracles for Moose Foundation.
Since July, he's also had major surgery to remove a tumor in his leg, four rounds of chemotherapy, radiation, and now more chemotherapy following the transplant, she said.
"His father lost his job a couple of years ago, so they are pretty financial strapped. With Anthony being so sick, they're just having a tough time," Kenny said.
Saturday's event included a performance from the Silver Leafs synchronized skating teams, a hockey game featuring Prairie Ridge students and alumni, and a free hour of public skate. Lunch at Sponsors Bar and Grill in Huntley included a silent auction with items donated by the Bears, Bulls and Wolves.
Brothers Patrick and Matthew O'Connor of Prairie Grove both played hockey at the event. They are members of the Prairie Ridge High hockey team. "This means a lot to all of us," Patrick said. "We really wanted to be here and show our support for Anthony."
The ice arena donated 3½ hours of ice, Kenny said. "They have been wonderful, they do a lot of work with the community," she said.
Tax deductible donations can be sent to Miracles for Moose, EIN# 46-07548567, c/o Chase Bank, 550 Crystal Pointe Drive, Crystal Lake, IL 60014.