Richard Plotkin, Vice Chairman of The Max Cure Foundation (MCF) visited one of the Roar Beyond Barriers, NYC, families during the holidays at their new home on Staten Island. The Christmas tree was decorated with festive and religious ornaments, signaling the joy and serenity of this holiday season and the hope along with the anticipated prosperity for the year ahead. Grace, age 9, had made the paper snowflake hanging from the ceiling over the tree. Her proud parents were all smiles as MCF brought gifts donated by a friend (who has requested to remain anonymous) of Max Cure Foundation for Grace and Nikki, her 8 year-old sister.
The presents, which were placed under the tree, included two gift certificates to American Girl Doll’s Manhattan store to allow Grace and Nikki to purchase two American Girl dolls, and outfits. The friend of MCF facilitated for Grace and Nikki the dream of many young girls to take their American Girl dolls to the retail store for the experience of a lifetime. Grace is anxious to be the “make – believe mother” of her special doll, who she will proudly name when she gets to the store, looking into her doll’s eyes with the love and emotion she will hopefully someday experience as a “real life” mother.
Nikki on the other hand will not be able to look into her doll’s eyes with the same expectations and hope. Nikki is blind and she has brain cancer. Indeed, no one knows what the year ahead will bring for Nikki or if she will ever experience the joy of motherhood that awaits Grace. Nikki for years has been battling this horrific disease that robbed her of her sight and continues to take her childhood, and potentially her future. Since May, 2012, this family has been part of the Max Cure Foundation Roar Beyond Barriers program in New York City which financially assists low income families battling childhood cancers.
The friend of MCF heard of the family’s situation and wanted to give the girls special Christmas gifts. The family has received and continues to receive gift cards each month from MCF to be used at a local Target Store to purchase food and other necessities. The New York City program assists families being treated at NYU Cancer Institute, NYU Langone Medical Center, and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. This program in New York City is supported by PNC Foundation with annual grants of $25,000, having been given to MCF since the launch of the program in 2011. The Roar Beyond Barriers program currently assists over 40 low income and military families from around the country who are battling cancer in their children, with over 15 additional families having been part of the program since its inception. Of the 15 children in the latter families they have either gone into remission or passed away.
Until last year, Grace and Nikki’s family lived in a basement apartment on Staten Island. Nikki, who is wheelchair bound had a very difficult time. Hence, they were forced to move into an apartment with wheelchair access. Having a hard time finding a suitable apartment that would accommodate a wheelchair, this family called upon The Max Cure Foundation for advice and guidance. Max Cure Foundation made a phone call to a prospective landlord, who, following that call entered into a lease with the family for their current apartment. When asked in an interview about what MCF means to them, the father replied, “We cannot thank MCF enough for everything they have done for us! The money I make goes towards bills. It is hard and so frustrating. We just barely make ends meet. I get paid bi-weekly, so that is extremely hard. Again, thank you so much for everything.”
After visiting with the family over the holidays, Richard stated “I can truly say that my visit this past weekend with Nikki, Grace and their parents underscored for me the truism – It is better to give than to receive.”
The Roar Beyond Barriers program has done remarkable things for these families and will continue to do so with your help! Donate today by “Matching a Dunk” online or you can mail your donation to:
#DunkYourKicks and #RoarForACure