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.
“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.
Lion 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.
Max 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.
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.”
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
Lion Max took a trip from the east coast to visit some children at the Phoenix Children’s Hospital in July 2014. With Team Max Cure Superhero capes in hand, he joined some friends to serve smiles in the summer heat.
The Tucson Brownie Troop who has dedicated their service project to Dunk Your Kicks joined Lion Max and Little Lion Max (Jayden, a 6-year-old Chandler resident) and his sister (Angelisa, age 12) and handed out capes and other fun gifts to the kids receiving treatment that day. Troop leader Nicole Hopkins said “visiting the children and staff at Phoenix Children’s Hospital really helped our girls connect with their Take Action Project, and has given them renewed vigor in their desire to help these families. Meeting Max the Lion was pretty cool also. The girls really want to visit again and spend more time with the kids, and they ALL promise to sing this time!”
It was a privileged to watch the beauty behind their innocence, wanting to make a difference but too young to really understand. Little Lion Max and the girls were a bit nervous at first. Not fully understanding what these kids were at the hospital for, or what their exact purpose there meant, it was a little difficult at first to warm up but by the time everyone left, Chloe (age 8) even sang “Bumble Bee” for everyone. It was fun to watch children, parents, nurses and a big lion squishing “bees” with their hands and laughing!
Kiersten, a local Mom and Max Cure Volunteer also joined us. Even though she has never personally been affected by pediatric cancer, she makes it her mission to become a voice for these children. “For nearly two years I’ve been fighting for children with cancer, but I never had the opportunity to actually meet who I’m fighting for. When Erica invited me to join, I can’t deny how nervous I was!! I fight for these kids, because I’m a mother myself!! Our kids need more treatment options!!” She stated.
“Running races and raising awareness for childhood cancer is one thing, going in and spreading happiness with children fighting for their lives is another. So I took the advice I was given, didn’t put on my mascara and headed for the Phoenix Children’s Hospital. I walked through those doors and what I found was the most strong, brave and courageous little people I’ve ever meet!! No tears streamed my face, I was in awe of these kids spirit and strength!! They have more strength in their young years than I could gain in a lifetime!!”
It was a special day for us all at Max Cure and we hope we were able to give the same to the children we met. The Brownie Troop has set an aggressive goal so they may adopt families in our Roar Beyond Barriers Arizona program. We solute them and hope you will support them in their efforts. To date they have donated 154 pair and have a goal to reach 5,000 which would support 3 families for 6 months.
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.
Sadly, Jovan lost his battle to osteosarcoma on January 24, 2015.
Jovan, known to his friends as Jovi, was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma in January of 2013 at the young age of 13. Jovi’s battle began when they found a tumor in his left femur. He has undergone chemotherapy and major surgery to remove the tumor which has been successful so far. Jovi’s strength is inspiring; he even had to learn how to walk again after the surgery. Unfortunately this year a new tumor on his rib (and possible others) were located. He has started more chemo treatment and more surgeries are potentially planned.
Like most teenage boys he loves video games. His Make-a-Wish request is to be a voice in the next Batman video game and they are trying to make that happen. He always speaks about creating a video game when he grows up. Batman and Iron Man are some of his favorite hero’s. Jovi likes the Miami Heat and the Pittsburgh Steelers and although Jovi is primarily shy when it comes to the sports teams he likes they definitely catch his attention.
Jovi’s amazing team of warriors, including Weekawken High School Peer Leadership, West New York Board of Education (for collecting at 6 grammar schools), Hamilton School, in Harrison NJ, Sims Metal Management, the Latin American Motorcycle Association, Pocono Chapter for coordinating a drop off location at the Pocono Mountain Harley Davidson Store, USB Financial Services, and friends from Florida to Brooklyn to Gathersburg have aided in the collection of over 1200 pair of sneakers in the last thirty days. We were originally introduce to Jovi and his Mother when his Aunt reached out to the foundation.
“The Max Cure Foundation was introduced to me by my friend and colleague from work, Amanda Goldman. She explained the great mission the foundation has and how they strive to bring awareness and funding for Pediatric Cancer research. I took this opportunity to coordinate a donation event with all of our supporters known as “Team Jovi”. With the help of our amazing family and friends we have collected a total of over 1200 pair of sneakers and the donations keep coming.
My personal mission in doing this is to let my nephew know that he is not in this battle alone!! Kids get Cancer too and we fight as one! My nephew is my inspiration and my hero. His smile is one that lights up a room and this has helped him see that so many people close and as far as Florida are helping to bring awareness about this disease and are here for him. He doesn’t fight alone as no child fighting this battle does. I am proud to be his aunt and proud to bring awareness about Pediatric Cancer! #TeamJovi #Wefightasone”
By starting a Dunk Your Kicks collection you are making a difference in the lives of those who have children battling cancer, but you are also leaving an environmental footprint while providing jobs to individuals in this country and abroad. The Max Cure Foundation will receive up to $1.00 per pair based on the quality of the sneakers collected. Start a drop-box program, become an ambassador or host an event. There are many ways to help, you just start by clicking here.
For the month of February The Max Cure Foundation would like to honor the Ryan family as our Roar Beyond Barriers featured family. Manijeh, the Ryan’s oldest child, and only daughter is a brave 14-year-old who has been battling brain cancer for about five years. Manijeh started having seizures when she was 3 years old, which as it turns out, was caused by a brain tumor which was initially benign. In 2010 the Ryan family was given the news no parent ever wants to hear, the tumor had become cancerous.
Over the years, with radiation and bi-weekly chemotherapy treatments, Manijeh’s medial team was not able to shrink the entire tumor however we are happy to share that as of right now, her chemotherapy is over and the cancer is gone! Even though the diagnosis is good, Manijeh continues to have seizures and requires continuous medication. She will require continued care as those children that survive have a ten times greater mortality rate due to the increased risk of heart and liver disease as well as recurrence of the cancer. “Families facing such challenges have to stay positive” Amos said during an interview at Max Cure’s August 2013 event. With such positive surroundings, Manijeh has the inspiration she needs to continue to fight this battle with bravery.
Manijeh is supported by her loving family and friends including her younger brother, Jalen, her Mother Canela, and her Father, Amos. Amos Ryan is a former high school (East Hampton High School) and collegiate (Southampton College) basketball star who, while in college, went on to be ranked among the nation’s top rebounders. Amos came to this country as a teenager from Union Island in the Grenadines. Following graduation from college, Amos became a police officer in New York City, a position he continues to hold. The Max Cure Foundation recently awarded Amos with the Roar Beyond Barriers Award on August 28, 2013 for his honor, bravery, integrity and the unconditional love he had shown for his family and community.
Manijeh’s Mom stated while the family was included in the Roar Beyond Barriers program that it “has been a great help. It’s taken a weight off so that we can focus on the medical part. If it weren’t for the Plotkin’s foundation, we probably would have our lights shut off.”
The Max Cure Foundation has provided support in excess of $260,000 to 77 families in 12 states from 21 different hospitals. Currently those families receiving support are located in Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas and Washington. You can help support the program by making a donation here and by starting your own Dunk Your Kicks collection. Together we will “Roar For a Cure” until one is found.