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Queens raises funds for soccer star’s dad

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A month after his daughter Alyssa scored the game-winning goal to lead the Queens HS of Teaching girls’ soccer team to the Public Schools Athletic League Class B championship, Joe Faller is continuing his own fight.

After months of frequent seizures and illness, Faller, 43, was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer in May. With the help of doctors from Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C., the Floral Park resident and former sanitation worker will be undergoing experimental treatment.

Faller’s family has set up a fund to help with medical expenses and to save the family’s house from foreclosure. To donate to the Team Joe Fund, send a check to P.O. Box 3724, New Hyde Park, NY 11040. Faller lives with his wife, Carina; daughter Alyssa, 18; and two sons: Joe Jr., 15, and Anthony, 14.

There will also be a fund-raiser run by the city Sanitation Department’s football team at Dupey’s Field at 20th Avenue and the Whitestone Expressway in Whitestone Saturday. The minimum donation is $20 per person. For more information, call organizers Jimmy Tighe at 646-773-2428 or Paddy McCutchen at 646-261-3813.

On May 19, Faller’s three children found their father unconscious and were unable to wake him up. He was rushed to the hospital and a day later an MRI turned up a large tumor on his brain. Doctors removed 95 percent of the tumor, but Joe Faller was still ruled terminal.

Alyssa, one of the best high school girls’ soccer players in the city and the 2008 TimesLedger All-Queens girls’ soccer Player of the Year, had been sitting out the season with a leg injury.

But when her father was diagnosed, she decided she needed to use soccer, the sport she has loved since she was a child, as an outlet for her emotions. Alyssa, headed to Loyola College in Maryland this fall on a full scholarship, went on to lead the Queens HS of Teaching to four straight upsets in the playoffs, culminating in a city championship.

Despite being told to stay out of the sun, Joe Faller was present for his daughter’s title-winning goal June 12 on Randall’s Island. When her ball hit the net in the 65th minute, Faller, who had been getting shade inside the family’s car, jumped out of the vehicle and danced.

After the final whistle blew and Queens HS of Teaching had won the title, Faller walked onto the field with his hands raised in adulation. He found Alyssa and the two met in a long embrace.

“I just told her I loved her so much,” Faller said at the time. “I don’t know how many more of these moments I’m gonna have with my children.”

Reach Associate Sports Editor Marc Raimondi by e-mail at mraimondi@timesledger.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 130.

Posted 6:38 pm, October 10, 2011
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