In 2017, the Max Cure Foundation was able to disburse $68,290 in financial assistance through the Roar Beyond Barriers Program. This covered a total of 53 families across 11 states, especially in the states of Pennsylvania, New York, and Ohio, the three of which made up 51% of the total population of the program. Of these funds, $1,050 was directly paid to families in emergency situations who requested help from our Emergency Grant Fund, which helps families in critical situations where utility service, rent, or other important bills require payment. (more…)
Tamlyn and Colm were already parents of a beautiful little girl named Eve who was five-years-old when she learned she was going to be a big sister. Tamlyn’s pregnancy was normal, and on March 1, 2014 she gave birth to a beautiful, happy little boy named Finn. (more…)
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…)
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.
Shreveport Louisiana: Mia, like many kids, has never had anything more than a cold or the flu during the first 8 years of her life. When she had symptoms of what was thought to be the flu, her family took her to see the pediatrician. The flu was indeed ruled out but, blood work pointed to a virus. Another week went by, and symptoms were the same. Three weeks came and went, and she got a small cut on her hand. Within 24 hours, that cut became infected. Although her hand started to heal, Mia still felt achy and feverish. It was at this point her parents noticed her stomach starting to swell from internal pressure. On April 14th, 2011, approximately 4 weeks later, they took yet another visit to see her pediatrician; one which changed their lives forever. They were immediately sent to LSUHSC in Shreveport, Louisiana. Mia, just 8 years old at the time, was diagnosed with leukemia.
On April 15th, 2011 Mia and her mother, Christie Barnes, were flown to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. The days became weeks, which turned to long months filled with intense chemotherapy, and sleepless nights. Although, they were hopeful, there were many moments blanketed by fear. Sometimes in life, even in the darkest of moments there are small glimpses of light, even if just for a moment. That light coupled with a strong faith and strength from within, Mia, and her family powered through with courage and bravery.
“It was in the beginning of Mia’s treatment when she and I first met. I was in Shrevport, Louisiana planning the launch of our first Dunk Your Kicks Event outside the Tri-State Area, with local friends Sonja Bailes, and Ken Ash. I passed through security, and headed towards the gate, on my way home to Manhattan. As I approached the gate, I noticed a mother sitting off in the corner with her daughter. Her daughter had a mask on her face, protecting her from germs. She was hairless. I knew instantly that they were off to St. Judes. I sat down next to the mom, even though there were at least 50 open seats available in the waiting area. I gave her my card, and said if there was anything that she needed to please give me a call. I got up and sat on the other side of the seating area to give them their space. My guess was that they were not up for small talk, especially from a random “Yankee” like myself. To my surprise, weeks later I received a call from Christie Barnes, Mia’s mom. Mia was one of the very first children to be in our Roar Beyond Barriers Program.” Says Max Cure Chairman, David Plotkin.
It has been 2 1/2 years since Mia was diagnosed with leukemia. Like all leukemia patients, Mia succumbed to the harsh side effects brought on by the treatments. She lost her hair, she gained weight, was pale and nauseous most days, vomiting often in the middle of the night. Her life was far different from her friends and their families. Many times her white blood cell counts were so low, and her fever ran high, she was forced to make late night visits to the urgent care unit. I can remember when Max’s fever would run north of 102 and his counts were low. We bundled him up, put him in a stroller and I ran down 68th street on the Upper East Side to the Urgent Care Unit at Memorial Sloan- Kettering Cancer Center. Those were long and painful nights.
Happily, two weeks ago Mia finished her last round of chemotherapy. This was the best early Christmas present she and her family could ever have hoped to receive. Today Mia, is cancer free, which means today is a great day. Tomorrow is a new day of hope, and the following day is one step further away from the cancer that poisoned Mia, and the harsh memories of the past 2 1/2 years. One never knows how much our children will remember of the tough times. As parents, we hope it wont hold them back, as they strive for greatness, and live the life they deserve. Perhaps, for many of the children who fought the battle of cancer and survived, will be better prepared for life and its challenges. For the siblings and the family members of children who were not fortunate to survive, I hope they too will be stronger. There is so much to this disease that I will never understand. These innocent children get drafted to fight a war they never signed up for. Many do survive, but too many don’t. For me, the words “it’s malignant” still echo in my ear every day. Walk one city block in the shoes of a parent who has a child battling cancer, and all the other stuff in your life becomes just “stuff”.
As parents of a pediatric cancer survivor, life is never the same. We never know if the cancer will come back, nor will we know the side effects from the chemotherapy. Chemotherapy is like a tsunami and it takes out everything in it’s path. We hope the flowers will one day grow again, and pray the weeds don’t come back.
Learning that Mia successfully completed her treatment, and is in remission today, hits home to me personally. Of the 60 plus families across the country which we have helped and who is currently in our program, I don’t have the opportunity to meet most of them. But, Mia and her mom invited me to Shrevport, Louisiana back in spring of 2012 to bring Dunk Your Kicks to Bossier Parish. I introduced the community to The Max Cure Foundation, and our mission. It was a roaring success, and we even made it to the State Fair in November.
Now that Mia is no longer on treatment, she and her family can try and get back to life as they once knew it. Every time I approach a gate in any airport, I think of Mia and her mom, and how pediatric cancer does not discriminate. It can come into ones home at any given time, whether living in Manhattan or in Shrevport, Louisiana. It doesn’t care about the color of your skin, how much money you have, or who you know. I learned that for Mia’s Make A Wish Experience, she wants to visit New York City this summer. I promised her mom that with Max, we will take her to one of our favorite NYC Restaurants. On behalf of The Max Cure Foundation, I would like to give three ROARS for Mia. We will Roar for a Cure until one is found. – David Plotkin