Written by Michael Scro Wednesday, 22 January 2014 00:00
Laughter truly was the best medicine for family and friends of 2 1/2-year old Owen Hogan of New Hyde Park, son of FDNY firefighter Tim Hogan, who was recently diagnosed with aplastic anemia. The recent “Laughter Saves Lives” comedy benefit on at the Long Beach Hotel raised $5,000.
Although Owen has been undergoing treatment since being diagnosed last year, his greatest chance of survival is with a bone marrow transplant. He is currently hospitalized in Philadelphia with his parents by his side.
In October 2013, doctors said Owen was not responding to treatment, and as of now, a bone marrow match has not been made available.
“Life was pretty good,” Tim said in a recent statement. “We had a happy, healthy toddler and a new baby on the way. Then, after bringing Owen to the hospital we received the devastating news that he had severe aplastic anemia. As he battles this life-threatening disease, we remain hopeful that in spreading the word, the registry will continue to grow, and a match for Owen will be found.”
Attending the fundraiser were Owen’s grandparents, Maddie and Joseph Hogan, who reside in Queens Village.
“The support and generosity our family has received since Owen’s diagnosis has been overwhelming,” Maddie said. “I encourage everyone to become a bone marrow donor--—you can save a life.”
Joseph echoed his wife’s sentiments, saying, “we are so thankful for everyone’s help and we’re going to continue to do everything we can for Owen.”
President of the Laughter Saves Lives Foundation and MC of the evening John Larocchia came into contact with the Hogan family through his daughter, who after hearing about Owen from Don Campbell, teacher at Grand Avenue Middle School in Bellmore and friend of Tom Hogan, said to her father “let’s do a show for Owen.”
The event also garnered bone marrow donor registrations collected by Delete Blood Cancer, an organization that teamed up with the family.
“I lost my mother to leukemia when I was 14,” stated Katharina Harf, co-founder of Delete Blood Cancer, “and I have made it my mission to recruit more donors so that other families don’t have to go through the pain we did. We need your help so we can save more lives.”
Comedians Tom Dadario, Carrie Karavas, Jimmy Britt, Steve Alleva and Sal Govanelli entertained guests. Prizes were also raffled, including World Series mini-mega tickets from 1977, 1986 and 1996.
“The least we can do is bring laughter and raise money for the family to help ease the burden of medical bills,” Lorocchia said. The Laughter Saves Lives Foundation was established in memory of FDNY members who were killed on September 11, 2001 and raise money for police, fire fighters, EMS and military.
For more information, go to www.aheroforowen.com