The Max Cure Foundation Blog

OrthoCarolina Makes a 30,000 Pair Pledge

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The Max Cure Foundation is pleased to announce that OrthoCarolina has joined the fight against pediatric cancer and has become the newest collection site for DYK.  OC will be collecting sneakers at 30 offices in the Charlotte area and have set a goal to collect 30,000 pair of sneakers by November 30.   (more…)

Tucson Girl Scout Troop #26 Makes a Huge Impact

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The Max Cure Foundation traveled to Tucson, Arizona on September 28th to support the Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona – Troop 26 as they official launch their Take Action Plan. Although these young ladies have been collecting sneakers for Max Cure’s Dunk Your Kicks campaign for three months, their official “kick-off” was this weekend. 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.

IMG_4071“As a new Brownie Troop leader 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.” Stated Nicole Hopkins, the troop leader who also ran the 5k race today to show her support for The Girl Scouts and her Troop.

Rather than The Max Cure team managing the Dunk Your Kicks booth, the troop and a few fathers took on the responsibility while we watched with pride. Their goal is to collect 5,000 pair of sneakers in order to adopt a three families for six months into the Arizona Roar Beyond Barriers program.

IMG_4074Lion Max came out to join the fun at the Thin Mint Sprint, and even ran his very first 5k event! We have to give credit to Jason Piper, Jordan and Jaida’s Father, for wearing our Lion Max costume and running 3.1 miles in the Arizona heat in order to support the young ladies while raising awareness for pediatric cancer causes. His efforts and sacrifice goes to show the dedication of not only the young girls, but also their families, friends, neighbors and community.

Jayden giving medalsMax Cure Foundation’s youngest Dunk Your Kicks ambassador, Jayden, age six from Chandler, Arizona also made the trip. Waking up bright and early he asked his parents “is today the day we get to help kids with cancer?” Jayden had the important role of providing each of the Girl Scouts with a Max Cure Foundation Special Forces medal for their hard work and dedication while making a difference in the lives of children battling cancer. Jayden has been supporting The Max Cure Foundation since he was only four-years-old collecting over 100 pair of sneakers and even running a 4.25k to raise money for the foundation.

The Troop currently has donation locations at Zona Fitness at Rita Ranch, Platinum Fitness at Speedway Blvd and any Jim Click dealership. Their long-term goal is to reach out to other councils where Roar Beyond Boarders is established, using the video to recruit other troops. In addition, they are also trying to organize with U of A to have an end of the semester “dunk your kicks on the UA mall.” 

If you are in Tucson and would like to support the Troop’s efforts, email us here and we will get you in touch with Troop leader, Nicole Hopkins.

Pediatric Cancer Awareness in Washington D.C.

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Last week was an eye opener for me as I travelled to Washington, DC, to attend several events in honor of Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month.  I say this because when I first got involved with the cause in 2007 after Max was diagnosed, there was relatively little attention given to childhood cancer – except of course if you happened to be among those with a child afflicted with the disease, a disease that strikes 15,780 children each year in this country and accounts each year for more deaths by disease in children than any other illness. (more…)

Henry & Me Film Hits A Home Run For Childhood Cancer

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Today I am pleased to share news about an important animated film, Henry & Me, that I hope you will agree, can raise much needed awareness of the needs of pediatric cancers and also help raise funds for multiple charities, including two pediatric cancer organizations, The Max Cure Foundation and St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. (more…)

Live or Let Die | Who Makes The Hard Decisions

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Trying Experimental Treatments for the Terminally and Seriously Ill

Author: Richard Plotkin, Max Cure Foundation Vice-Chairman

At the ripe old age of 69 I made a new friend, Kenneth Moch. At one time I considered him to be my # 1 enemy who I believed did not care if a 7-year-old boy, Josh Hardy, attempting to defeat his cancer died. But, he later became the main hero in saving that boy’s life. (more…)

To Light Up The Night Sky

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Friday August 15th, 2014 – The Empire State Building, a shining and shimmering symbol of America in all of its finest industrial and business splendor, the most well-known spire of the New York City skyline, will illuminate green, white, and orange in honor of India Day. (more…)

Informed Plea For Compassionate Use

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First, as background context on myself: I have extensive clinical experience in oncology pharmacy, having interned for over four years at a major cancer center; my career is as an oncology writer focusing on pharma/biotech-sponsored projects in the area of adult oncology, being called upon to help researchers develop data presentations at congresses (example ASCO – American Society of Clinical Oncology) and peer-reviewed journal publications for pharma sponsored clinical trials.  (more…)

Compassionate Use | Who Decides When its a Child’s Life?

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Each year on the Jewish High Holy day of Rosh Hashanah, which is the beginning of the Jewish New Year, I read a prayer in Temple that states that on that day, it is written in the book of life who in the succeeding year will live and who will die.  That phrase has taken on a less abstract and more secular meaning as I venture into the world of childhood cancers and as I do so, am invited occasionally to take an active role in which children with cancer would live and which would die.   (more…)

Dunk Your Kicks With Driftwood Day Camp

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The Love of a Child Knows No Bounds

From the very moment the boys, Alex and Jacob – 8 respectively, met Max Plotkin – 11 years old, they knew they wanted to get involved in his cause. The story of Max has been in headlines across the country; battling cancer at such a young age and now (cancer-free) fighting with his family and The Max Cure Foundation to bring comfort and charity to low-income and military families across the country fighting to overcome pediatric cancers themselves. The boys have taken inspiration from Max’s bravery and have turned it in to action for the betterment of children and families fighting for their lives.

The Max Cure Foundation coordinates a program entitled “Dunk Your Kicks” which takes used athletic shoes and recycles them, giving new footwear to developing countries and in turn receiving money that goes directly in to the coffers of pediatric cancer funding for research, preventative medicine, and solace that families caring for children in the hospital so desperately need. It keeps shoes out of dumpsters and landfills, and provides footwear for people on the other side of the planet who may never have the comfort. Further, it is not asking of any monetary contributions out of the pockets of hard working people, but rather the benefits are three-fold – getting rid of shoes they were going to throw out anyway, giving the hope of a better life to a cancer patient, and a chance at a more sustainable life to a person across the globe.

Jacob and Alex began a shoe drive with the tremendous support of the staff at the Driftwood Daycamp in Melville, NY. Culminating in some exciting Sneaker Games while families of the children, staff of the Driftwood Day Camp, and Founder of the Max Cure Foundation David Plotkin, celebrated the boys’ accomplishments with a dunk challenge breaking records that made the kids extremely excited! In the mission statement the boys have shared they state:

We have met Max and his bravery is an inspiration to us. Luckily he is now 11 years old and cancer-free, thanks to the help he received from doctors and scientists. But other children are still sick, and that is why we all need to work together to help them. Help us raise money for kids who have cancer by donating old shoes. Please ask your mom, dads, and other family members to clean out their closets and donate sneakers they don’t need anymore. … If we all work together, we can make a difference and help other kids and their families, and feel really good about what we are doing.” 

Dunk your kicks

Having loving parents, moms, dads, grandparents, giving friends, neighbors, co-workers, supportive camp counselors, teachers, and inspirations like the Plotkin’s can help two young boys show their love for strangers – Children they have never met but want to help – While realizing their aspirations for philanthropy can be achieved to such great heights. Over 1,000 pair of sneakers makes an impact that is far greater than the Max Cure Foundation can show appreciation for. Alex and Jacob are the heroes in this headline story and are becoming an inspiration to others.

Author: Serena Knierim, Max Cure Volunteer, Arizona

Roar Beyond Barriers Needs Your Help!

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Imagine living in a one-room apartment with five family members. In this family, the Father is disabled and the Mother has to provide for the children leaving her unable to find a job that will be flexible so she can support her family needs. (more…)

Max Cure Foundation Asks Washington to #StepUp

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The pediatric cancer community through the Alliance for Childhood Cancer on Tuesday, June 24, 2014, went to Capitol Hill to meet with Senators and Congressmen from all 50 States. The Max Cure Foundation joined forces with over 60 other CAC2 organizations (The Coalition Against Childhood Cancer – A Collaborative Group) and other advocates from the childhood cancer community to both virtually and physically storm Washington, D.C. (more…)

Max Cure Friend Brightens Smiles on Christmas

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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. (more…)

Max Cure Foundation Comes to the Hamptons Marathon

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The Max Cure Foundation is proud to announce that we will be teaming up with the Hamptons Marathon this year and the Bridgehampton Half Marathon in 2015. The Hamptons Marathon gives 100% of their proceeds to different charities each year, and Max Cure is thrilled to have been selected as one of them for this year’s race.

Considering that David Plotkin, Max Cure founder, spent his summers growing up in the Hamptons, and also that Max spent many days recuperating from treatment in Amagansett, we are especially excited to return to our founder’s roots, the site of where it all started for our foundation. We know that we will have an enormous amount of support from our followers in that area, in addition to the support of the Hamptons Marathon, which is very pleased to have us at their events.

The Hamptons Marathon has invited Max Cure and to collect sneakers for our Dunk Your Kicks initiative on their packet pickup days and on the race days. The Dunk Your Kicks program has been crucial to our efforts over the years, and we are very grateful for the opportunity to further expand those efforts at the races in September of this year and May of next.

Through the Dunk Your Kicks program, the Max Cure Foundation will collect used sneakers from participants at the race. For each pair of sneakers donated, The Max Cure Foundation will receive up to $1.00 from an international shoe recycler called Rethink Nation. The sneakers will then be sold by Rethink Nation at an affordable price in developing nations, saving the shoes from landfills and putting them to good use. The money Max Cure receives through Dunk Your Kicks goes towards funding research for innovative medical techniques to fight pediatric cancer, and also to low-income families of children with pediatric cancer, whom we help through our Roar Beyond the Barriers campaign.

The Hamptons Marathon will take place on September 27, 2014 in East Hampton, New York. There will also be a half marathon at the event, with a 5K. You can register for both the 5K and the Hamptons Marathon at their website, where you can also find directions to the race. Packet pickup dates for the Hamptons Marathon will take place on September 22 and 23 on 140 W 72nd Street in NYC, and on September 26 and 27 at the Spring School in East Hampton. There will also be a 5K on race day, as well as a half marathon in Bridgehampton, New York in May 2015.

We look forward to seeing Max Cure supporters at the Hamptons Marathon and Bridgehampton Half Marathon, where we hope to make yet another stride in our battle against pediatric cancer.

Want to join Team Max Cure and run? We have a few bibs available but fundraising must be completed by August 15, 2014.  Email us here for more information.

run hamptons marathon

Max Cure Vice-Chair Attends RBB Graduation

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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.

John D. Herz Art

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John D. Herz not only inspires the world through his pencil drawings, but now will be supporting The Max Cure Foundation (MCF) through his incredible gift. John always enjoyed drawing, but did not consider himself an artist. John never took lessons and drew occasionally as the mood hit him. Then on John’s 58th birthday, Nancy, his significant other and muse, as a surprise took John to an art store and had him pick out supplies, which became his birthday present. This gift sparked a passion for drawing and the search for the perfect subject. At the time, he had not picked up a pencil in over 8 years. John saw things differently, and his talent was taken to a whole new level. John had been an entrepreneur and had been in business over much of his life. During the last eight years John put all his energy into his artwork.

John had been looking for a charity to partner with – allowing John to donate a significant portion of the receipts from the sale of his artwork to that charity. John has a personal experience with pediatric cancer as a grandson of his dear cousin was recently diagnosed. After being introduce to Max Cure, and forming a relationship with Richard Plotkin, MCF Vice-Chair, and Max’s Grandfather, that given his family’s experience over the last year with Luke’s cancer, it was fate that brought him to MCF saying, “There is no greater cause that I could think to support than fighting childhood cancer and after learning about MCF, there is no better charity to align myself with.”

The relationship between John and MCF was formed, with both promising to make a difference in the world of pediatric cancers – fighting together a parent’s worst nightmare, a child with cancer. Payments are made to Max Cure Foundation, a 501 ( c ) ( 3 ) non-profit corporation, with it retaining 30% of the proceeds from each Giclee and 50% of the proceeds from each poster sold to enable it to advance its mission for pediatric cancer.

The Max Cure Foundation currently offers three of John’s amazing works available for immediate purchase through website. If you prefer a different piece of John’s artwork not currently available for purchase online, you may contact us here for availability.
The Domino Effect Image
While visiting Mystic, Connecticut I came across a wonderful store named “Radio Waves.” The store sells a unique assortment of gifts and nostalgia. I loved the window display and took many photographs. When I looked at the images I saw a great still life drawing waiting to be rendered. The portion that I chose to draw has so many different textures, from the assorted wood grains, to a trumpet and a lampshade made of shells. I always like to challenge myself with my art and this challenge proved to be really fun.

Born Free Image
Not long ago I had the opportunity to meet a wonderful photographer, Stephen Lang. When he shared his images with me I was awed by many of them. These four beautiful stallions frolicking  really caught my eye so I made arrangements with the photographer to draw them.  When I consider a subject to draw it always has to bring out an emotion in me. The raw power of these horses and their majestic playground just grabbed me.
The Domino Effect Image
As an artist, I see this drawing as a portrait of men playing dominoes. Even though you can’t see their faces their hands tell their story. The wrinkles and age spots on two of the men’s hands and the smoother skin on the other men give a sign of their age. Hands can be as telling as a face. Skin texture is like a landscape, within the lines and wrinkles there are shadows and highlights.

 

 

Every month John will feature additional artwork available for a limited time to Max Cure supporters only. Stay tuned for more information, or click here to contact John about adding a piece to your art collection and support The Max Cure Foundation.

Click here to see the rest of the John D. Herz collection