Alumni basketball game set for Waldwick Warrior

Friday February 14, 2014, 10:15 AM

Waldwick Suburban News

WALDWICK – It was no coincidence that Rachael Van Wyckhouse played sports at a high school which has the nickname Warriors. The 1999 Waldwick graduate defined the meaning of that word and proved her worthiness to call herself a Warrior on the soccer and softball fields and on the basketball court.

Waldwick's Rachael Van Wyckhouse (left) battles Eastern Christian goalkeeper Heidi Culp in a 1998 game.

Waldwick’s Rachael Van Wyckhouse (left) battles Eastern Christian goalkeeper Heidi Culp in a 1998 game.

In real life, Rachael again took up the work of a Warrior when she was diagnosed with breast cancer five years ago. Through many chemotherapy and radiation treatments and a total of seven surgeries necessitated by the spread of the cancer, she battled like a Warrior, even still working at her job as vice president and operations manager for an investment bank in New York City.

But last September, Rachael’s courageous fight ended, when she died at the age of 32.

To perpetuate the memory of the woman who was a first-team All-League, first-team All-Suburban and All-County selection in all three of her sports, a non-profit organization called “Rachael Forever” has been founded to celebrate her life.

“Rachael Forever” is staging its first event, an alumni basketball game, on Saturday, March 8, starting at 1 p.m. at Waldwick High School.

The game will be played between the current Waldwick High School boys varsity team and the alumni who played basketball for the Warriors’ boys program. There have been four 1,000-point scorers in Waldwick boys basketball history, and so far, three will play in the game: senior Doug Palmadessa, who hit the 1,000-point plateau last season, 2000 graduate Greg McBain and 1974 graduate Tim “Bones” Dunnigan. John Lanchantin, a 1971 graduate, was the first 1,000-point scorer.

Outside of administrative fees, 100 percent of all monetary donations will be allocated to scholarships for deserving Waldwick High School graduates and donated to local breast cancer research organizations. Along with monetary donations, “Rachael Forever” is welcome to any donated goods or services that will be raffled off during the event.

For questions, tickets ($10) and donations, contact Rob Finnegan at 201-736-5493 or

All checks should be made payable to Rachael Forever, Inc.