June 2014

Author: Nicole Hopkins

dunk your kicksAs a new Brownie Troop leader (girls in grades 2 and 3) in the Southern Arizona Region (Troop 26), I wanted to really try and provide my girls with a “girl led” experience, and also introduce them to the idea of impacting a world beyond their immediate view. Additionally, I was interested in helping the girls get prepared for working on their Bronze, Silver and, eventually, their Gold awards; the highest awards that Girl Scouting offers. All of these awards have a component of community service involved.

The girls were all asked to think about the kinds of people they wanted to help, and why it was important to them. Thankfully, my group is small, so the ideas they had were narrowed down to the following:

  • They wanted to help homeless people by giving them food or clothing,
  • They wanted to help women and girls in third world countries,
  • They wanted to help sick kids.

My job, as their leader, was to help guide them to find ways we could accomplish these types of service projects. In my investigation, I was fortunate enough to have found some information about an upcoming Dunk Your Kicks event in Phoenix via Facebook (I am an aspiring runner, so my “ad” feed picked this up). Upon investigating what this event was about, I realized that our girls could accomplish ALL of their goals by sponsoring a Dunk Your Kicks event in Tucson…and we had a potential venue!

Every year, our Girl Scout Council hosts a “Thin Mint Sprint”, which is a 5K event whose proceeds help fund the scholarships which help other girls become Girl Scouts, as well as many council sponsored events through the year. I proposed the idea of having a Dunk Your Kicks event with the team at the Girl Scout Council, and they were fully on board.

GS BoothMy girls are now VERY excited about this project, and plan to leverage the skills they have learned by participating in Girl Scouts to spread the word and raise awareness about the Max Cure foundation and the goals this group has. As a troop, we have identified different stores that might let us collect shoes prior to the Thin Mint Sprint, and the girls plan to “pitch their plan” to store managers. The girls are also excited to share their experience with other troops, and hopefully help engage other troops in participating in the Dunk Your Kicks campaign, not only in Arizona, but possibly coast to coast. They have set a goal of collecting 5,000 pairs of shoes, and plan to donate half of their cookie proceeds to directly sponsor a local family identified by Max Cure.

Not only is the Max Cure Foundation helping families who struggle financially with an unimaginable burden of watching their child suffer with pediatric cancer, they are also assisting my girls in learning about service, communication and organization skills and how to execute a project; skills that will help them become future leaders and individuals committed to making the world a better place.

DYK at Ventura MarathonThe Max Cure Foundation (MCF) is excited to be visiting Ventura, California thanks to the tremendous support of The Ventura Marathon. The weekend of September 5th through the 7th, Max Cure team members and volunteers will have a Dunk Your Kicks booth, collecting used sneakers and running shoes to raise money for pediatric cancer causes.

“We are very excited to help and it is a great fit. We expect to have about 4,000 athletes at the event and hope to collect 1,000 pairs of shoes. I am planning to donate 10 pairs of used running shoes so only 990 to go. In addition to donating used running shoes participants can also fundraise for the Max Cure Foundation. Any participants who raise $500 through our fundraising site will get their entry fee reimbursed.” Says Ventura’s Race Director and Co-Founder, Josh Spiker.

The mission of MCF is threefold. First it seeks to fund research to attempt to find cures for the various forms of childhood cancers and to discover less toxic treatments for the disease in children. As part of that portion of its mission, it is helping to fund an Immune Cell Therapy Laboratory at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Second, MCF established Roar Beyond Barriers, a program to financially assist low income and military families with a child battling cancer. Through monthly gift cards, families are able to purchase food and other necessities. Since the program’s inception, 78 families in 12 states being treated in 21 hospitals have been helped. There are 48 families currently receiving assistance. The third mission is advocacy to increase government funding for childhood cancer research. As part of its advocacy mission, MCF was in the forefront of the #SaveJosh campaign and it’s Vice Chairman, Richard Plotkin, has been invited to serve on a committee consisting of a limited number of childhood cancer advocates dealing with the White House.


One of MCF’s main fundraising initiatives is Dunk Your Kicks, a national campaign which facilitates the collection of used sneakers by Rethink Nation, an international recycler who sells those sneakers to exporters/distributors which, in turn, sell the sneakers in emerging market countries as part of the Affordable Clothing Market. MCF receives payment from the recycler up to $1.00 per pair of sneakers based on the quality of the sneakers collected. In addition to serving as a fundraising vehicle for MCF, Dunk Your Kicks helps the environment by keeping the sneakers out of landfills (200 million pairs of sneakers end up in landfills annually) while, at the same time, creates tens of thousands of jobs globally and reduces the risk of disease in those living in developing countries who go barefoot. Dunk Your Kicks gives a 2nd and even a 3rd life to the sneakers that would otherwise end up, unused, in closets and ultimately be thrown out.

So now its time for Ventura to clean out their closets and Dunk Your Kicks for pediatric cancer causes. Bring those used sneakers with you to the Ventura Marathon or take the sneakers off your feet after the race and let someone else walk a mile in your shoes.


Author: Richard Plotkin, MCF Vice-Chairman

Max and Qualeek (3)I recently had the pleasure of attending the 5th grade graduations of my grandson, Max Plotkin, and of Qualeek McNeil. These 11 year old boys have much in common in addition to the fact they are looking forward in September to entering into middle school, including the fact they were both afflicted by childhood cancers at young ages, Max on the eve of his 4th birthday and Qualeek when he was 6 years old. Max was diagnosed with B-Cell Lymphoma and Qualeek with brain cancer. Qualeek, due to the chemotherapy treatment he received, is partially deaf, one of the insidious side effects experienced by pediatric cancer survivors. Max is considered a childhood cancer survivor whereas Qualeek still goes for periodic treatments but thankfully every indication is he, too, will be a survivor of pediatric cancer.

Richard and Max 5th grade graduationMax graduated from the Smith School in Tenafly, New Jersey, an upscale suburban community, just minutes from Manhattan. Qualeek graduated from P.S. 309 in the Bedford Stuyvesant area of Brooklyn, also just minutes from Manhattan. Despite their respective proximities to Manhattan, the communities in which these two boys reside are as different as two communities could be. However, what was not different was the pride felt by the parents and relatives of those graduating from the 5th grade and the joy that filled the two school auditoriums, one in Tenafly and one in Bedford Stuyvesant. A significant moment for me at Qualeek’s graduation, in addition to Qualeek winning a medal placed around his neck for his participation in music activities, came from one of the speakers who looked directly at the children, all of whom appeared to be African American or Hispanic, telling them that if they work hard and continue in school, there is no reason why they could not become doctors or lawyers or indeed, as stated by the speaker, “as recent events have proven, even President of the United States.” Wow, that was a powerful message and reinforced how significant it is that this country elected, and then re-elected, an African American as President. The program distributed at Qualeek’s graduation prominently displays the following words on the top of the cover page, “We Believe, We Will Achieve.”

Qualeek was among the first three children whose families were included in the Roar Beyond Barriers program launched in New York City in November, 2011. He and his family attended our Family Day Carnivals in East Hampton during the summers of 2012 and 2013, having stayed at my home in Amagansett during their 2012 visit. Qualeek and his mother, Felicia, attended the Gala on the eve of the September, 2012 Golf Outing with Trent Tucker’s All4Kids Foundation and met celebrity guests such as Patrick Ewing, Charles Oakley, John Starks, Greg Anthony and Trent Tucker, all having played for the Knicks, and Mike Woodson (then coach of the Knicks) and Howard Cross former NFL All-Pro player for the Giants – and many other celebrity athletes and entertainers. A special friendship developed between Max and Qualeek at these events, a friendship that came about because it is evident that childhood cancers do not discriminate based on race, creed, or socio economic circumstances.

Richard and Qualeek graduationI was honored when, several months ago, Felicia told me that Qualeek asked if I could attend his graduation (I told her I would not miss it for the world) and was particularly moved when I saw the smile on his face as he saw me waiting outside P.S. 309 as he and Felicia approached the school for Qualeek’s special day. I quickly understood how significant the Roar Beyond Barriers program is not only in that it financially assists low income families battling cancer in their children, but it also gives the message to the children afflicted with cancer that others care about them. That I was selected by Qualeek to be one of his four guests, made me realize that The Max Cure Foundation is indeed making a difference in the lives of children with cancer and their families.

DYK at Santa Rosa Marathon

Start cleaning out your closets Santa Rosa because The Max Cure Foundation is coming to town with our signature Dunk Your Kicks campaign. We want to extend a roaring thank you to the team at The Santa Rosa Marathon for inviting Max Cure to have a booth during their expo and on race day, August 22nd through the 24th. The Santa Rosa Marathon’s Health and Fitness Expo will be held at the lovely DeLoach Vineyards will feature a variety of national and local vendors. Among those you will find our team of volunteers asking for your sneakers!

“When we met the Santa Rosa Marathon team we were welcomed to this event with open arms. The individuals who run this event could not be more supportive and we are lucky to be working with them,” said Max Cure Marketing Director, Erica Bailey. “Our Dunk Your Kicks collections have been widely supported in California so far… Everyone we meet, like the Santa Rosa team, has gone above and beyond to get the message out and we are truly touched by their efforts.”

If you are running the in the marathon or a spectator at the event, take an extra bag with you and pack up your used sneakers and running shoes. Find the Max Cure Dunk Your Kicks booth and Dunk Your Kicks for pediatric cancer causes.

We look forward to seeing you there, taking a stand against pediatric cancer, one pair of sneakers at a time.

Cards Creating Change

Imagine if a holiday card, a birthday card, or any card could change the world? Imagine that you could create a moment, in todays fast past world, where you can give someone a reason to slow down and enjoy the luxury of opening a card…Imagine too that this card would give $1 to the Max Cure Foundation.

Hard to believe? Check out CARDS CREATING CHANGE. an incredible company that donates $1 of every card sent ($2.99) to the charity of the sender’s choice. The company has added the Max Cure Foundation to their select charities and we can’t roar loud enough to share this news!

examples of cards

Steven Potchatek, CCC Founder, combined his love of beautiful greeting cards with his passion to make a difference in the world and created CARDS CREATING CHANGE, a downloadable app that offers personalized greeting cards of which $1 of every card ($2.99) is donated to the charity of the person’s choice.

Steven first heard Max’s story on the Today Show and recounts his decision to include MCF in his mission.

“I knew by the end of the introduction video, I needed to become a part of the Max Cure Foundation! Like Max, I too have survived and like Max, my mission is to help others in the way I was helped. I know his ‘story’ it is my ‘story’!

Owing my life to non-profits of all shapes and sizes, I am on a mission to meet one of the most critical needs facing non-profit organizations… unrestricted funding. I imagined a participation fee free, hands-off, volunteer hour free solution that can be maximized by doing exactly what organizations do today… Communicate with their supporters and friends via email, mail, and social media. I co-founded NJAC Group, LLC and we developed Cards Creating Change, a smartphone app that allows you to send a REAL gallery quality greeting card right from your phone for only $2.99 (plus tax and postage). I am proud to donate 30% of the purchase price or $1.00 to our non-profit partners. Again, like Max, we have an aggressive goal of providing $40MM of unrestricted to funds over the next 5 years.

A few weeks after initially contacted MCF and while reading Facebook, I came across an article about little Josh. As I was reading, I learned that Richard had made the call to offer the money to save Josh! I want to be a part of that kind of change. I want to know that I have done what I can do to help MCF do what you do!! This app is so exciting, I am loving sending cards and creating connectedness. My whole life has been about connectedness and service. Cards Creating Change does both!”

Don’t imagine any more…Send a card for birthdays, holidays, to say hello…whatever the reason, we invite you to create a moment and bring a smile to a friend or loved one while supporting The Max Cure Foundation. The process is simple:

  1. Go to your App Store on Apple or Android devices;
  2. Search for Cards Creating Change;
  3. Download the App;
  4. Type in MaxCure for your charity;
  5. Start sending cards today!

graphicIn today’s fast paced world, think of the moment you create for someone when they open a card and hold a luxurious personalized card…Think of the smile, the opportunity to slow down, even for one minute, to enjoy the personal message. With this App you can do just that with the ease of your mobile device and give back to The Max Cure Foundation with every purchase. Download Cards Creating Change today and make someone smile tomorrow.