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First Annual Kids Run for Pediatric Cancer Research

The first time an event is held is rarely its best showing, but it will be difficult to top the First Annual Philanthropic Children’s Fun Run held Saturday, June 19, that began and ended at Waldmann/Polliwog Pond, for all children in town ages 2-12. There were 150 runners, although it seemed like more, and the run raised over $5,000. Those funds will primarily benefit The Max Cure Foundation for pediatric cancer research.

The Max Cure Foundation was begun about 3 years ago by the Plotkin family. David and Annemarie Plotkin had two children then, Alexander and Max, who, in May 2007, was diagnosed with a rare lymphomia just one day before his 4th birthday. Max spent that birthday in Sloan Kettering and for two years underwent intensive chemotherapy, but since June of 2009 his cancer has been in remission.

What the Plotkins learned following their son’s diagnosis is that pediatric cancer is under funded, that public money is directed to more prevalent cancers, so they launched a foundation to raise awareness, raise money and inspire people to get involved. In less than 3 years their foundation has raised more than $3 million for pediatric cancer research, in one of the toughest economic climates in years.

They decided to reach out to the world through the media—not just to raise funds but to build a brand—”Be Brave”—that would enjoy the same recognition as “Livestrong” does promoting fundraising for testicular cancer with Lance Armstrong as spokesman, and the pink ribbon brand does for breast cancer.

The Max Cure Foundation’s primary beneficiary is The Max Cure Fund at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) in New York. The fund was established by the Plotkin family to underwrite a one-of-its-kind cell therapy lab for alternative treatments and innovative research for pediatric cancer patients.

Plotkin was “grateful to The Munsey Park Women’s Group for choosing us to be the beneficiary of the day’s event. It was a great start to Father’s Day, and seeing all the kids smiling is a reminder of how blessed we all are.”

Exactly how did the Munsey Park community decide to support this cause? Co-chair Lisa Avena explained that they have been friends with the Plotkins for over 15 years and knew of the newly formed foundation, were aware of the need for pediatric cancer research and determined to do what they could to help.

The event was sponsored by the Munsey Park Women’s Group and co-chaired by Missy Leder and Lisa Avena. “We had a great committee,” Leder said, and listed each woman and her responsibility: Rachel Titus-Water Stations; Moriah Heuer-Bake Sale; Kim Haggerty-Carnival Games, Raffle; Amy Hill-Clock, Bullhorn, various other things; Brandee Hickis–Treasurer; and Amy Keogh-Start/Finish Line Balloons.

Additionally 35 Manhasset High School National Honor Society students volunteered from 8:30 a.m. to noon, from set-up to clean-up, and Leder attests “we could never have done it without them.” Avena added that they were lucky to have lots of help from other moms in the community who volunteered their time and talent.

Trophies went to the first three girl finishers: first, Ryann Kenny; second, Sarah Phillips; third, Casey Kenny. The first three boys to finish were: first-Lucas Ferraro; second-Owen Sheehan, and third-Jack Corwen. Many other participants received beautiful ribbons. Following the run the MPWC hosted a neighborhood fair, featuring a jumping castle, a super slide, games, face painting, a bake sale and more.

It was a perfect day for the enjoyable, well run, philanthropic event.