Author Archives: Max Cure

Dunk Your Kicks at the Hamptons Marathon

IMG_0820The 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.

Cards Creating Change For Max Cure Foundation

Imagine if a holiday card, a birthday card, or any card could change the world?  Imagine that you could create a moment, in todays fast past world, where you can give someone a reason to slow down and enjoy the luxury of opening a card…Imagine too that this card would give $1 to the Max Cure Foundation.

Hard to believe?  Check out CARDS CREATING CHANGE. an incredible company that donates $1 of every card sent ($2.99) to the charity of the sender’s choice.  The company has added the Max Cure Foundation to their select charities and we can’t roar loud enough to share this news!

examples of cards

Steven Potchatek, CCC Founder, combined his love of beautiful greeting cards with his passion to make a difference in the world and created CARDS CREATING CHANGE, a downloadable app that offers personalized greeting cards of which $1 of every card ($2.99) is donated to the charity of the person’s choice.   

Steven first heard Max’s story on the Today Show and recounts his decision to include MCF in his mission.

“I knew by the end of the introduction video, I needed to become a part of the Max Cure Foundation!  Like Max, I too have survived and like Max, my mission is to help others in the way I was helped.  I know his ‘story’ it is my ‘story’!

Owing my life to non-profits of all shapes and sizes, I am on a mission to meet one of the most critical needs facing non-profit organizations… unrestricted funding.  I imagined a participation fee free, hands-off, volunteer hour free solution that can be maximized by doing exactly what organizations do today… Communicate with their supporters and friends via email, mail, and social media.  I co-founded NJAC Group, LLC and we developed Cards Creating Change, a smartphone app that allows you to send a REAL gallery quality greeting card right from your phone for only $2.99 (plus tax and postage).  I am proud to donate 30% of the purchase price or $1.00 to our non-profit partners.  Again, like Max, we have an aggressive goal of providing $40MM of unrestricted to funds over the next 5 years.

A few weeks after initially contacted MCF and while reading Facebook, I came across an article about little Josh.  As I was reading, I learned that Richard had made the call to offer the money to save Josh!  I want to be a part of that kind of change.  I want to know that I have done what I can do to help MCF do what you do!!  This app is so exciting, I am loving sending cards and creating connectedness.  My whole life has been about connectedness and service.  Cards Creating Change does both!”

Don’t imagine any more…Send a card for birthdays, holidays, to say hello…whatever the reason, we invite you to create a moment and bring a smile to a friend or loved one while supporting The Max Cure Foundation.

The process is simple:

  1. Go to your App Store on Apple or Android devices;
  2. Search for Cards Creating Change;
  3. Download the App;
  4. Type in MaxCure for your charity;
  5. Start sending cards today!

graphicIn today’s fast paced world, think of the moment you create for someone when they open a card and hold a luxurious personalized card…Think of the smile, the opportunity to slow down, even for one minute, to enjoy the personal message. With this App you can do just that with the ease of your mobile device and give back to The Max Cure Foundation with every purchase. Download Cards Creating Change today and make someone smile tomorrow.


Dunk Your Kicks Comes Back to Wine Country

DYK at Santa Rosa Marathon

Start cleaning out your closets Santa Rosa because The Max Cure Foundation is coming to town with our signature Dunk Your Kicks campaign. We want to extend a roaring thank you to the team at The Santa Rosa Marathon for inviting Max Cure to have a booth during their expo and on race day, August 22nd through the 24th. The Santa Rosa Marathon’s Health and Fitness Expo will be held at the lovely DeLoach Vineyards will feature a variety of national and local vendors. Among those you will find our team of volunteers asking for your sneakers!

“When we met the Santa Rosa Marathon team we were welcomed to this event with open arms. The individuals who run this event could not be more supportive and we are lucky to be working with them,” said Max Cure Marketing Director, Erica Bailey.   “Our Dunk Your Kicks collections have been widely supported in California so far… Everyone we meet, like the Santa Rosa team, has gone above and beyond to get the message out and we are truly touched by their efforts.”

If you are running the in the marathon or a spectator at the event, take an extra bag with you and pack up your used sneakers and running shoes. Find the Max Cure Dunk Your Kicks booth and Dunk Your Kicks for pediatric cancer causes.

We look forward to seeing you there, taking a stand against pediatric cancer, one pair of sneakers at a time.

Max Cure Vice-Chair Attends RBB Graduation

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.

Ventura Marathon Brings Dunk Your Kicks Back to California

The Max Cure Foundation (MCF) is excited to be visiting Ventura, California thanks to the tremendous support of The Ventura Marathon. The weekend of September 5th through the 7th, Max Cure team members and volunteers will have a Dunk Your Kicks booth, collecting used sneakers and running shoes to raise money for pediatric cancer causes.

“We are very excited to help and it is a great fit. We expect to have about 4,000 athletes at the event and hope to collect 1,000 pairs of shoes. I am planning to donate 10 pairs of used running shoes so only 990 to go. In addition to donating used running shoes participants can also fundraise for the Max Cure Foundation. Any participants who raise $500 through our fundraising site will get their entry fee reimbursed.” Says Ventura’s Race Director and Co-Founder, Josh Spiker.

The mission of MCF is threefold.  First it seeks to fund research to attempt to find cures for the various forms of childhood cancers and to discover less toxic treatments for the disease in children. As part of that portion of its mission, it is helping to fund an Immune Cell Therapy Laboratory at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.  Second, MCF established Roar Beyond Barriers, a program to financially assist low income and military families with a child battling cancer.  Through monthly gift cards, families are able to purchase food and other necessities.  Since the program’s inception, 78 families in 12 states being treated in 21 hospitals have been helped.  There are 48 families currently receiving assistance.  The third mission is advocacy to increase government funding for childhood cancer research. As part of its advocacy mission, MCF was in the forefront of the #SaveJosh campaign and it’s Vice Chairman, Richard Plotkin, has been invited to serve on a committee consisting of a limited number of childhood cancer advocates dealing with the White House.


One of MCF’s main fundraising initiatives is Dunk Your Kicks, a national campaign which facilitates the collection of used sneakers by Rethink Nation, an international recycler who sells those sneakers to exporters/distributors which, in turn, sell the sneakers in emerging market countries as part of the Affordable Clothing Market.   MCF receives payment from the recycler up to $1.00 per pair of sneakers based on the quality of the sneakers collected.  In addition to serving as a fundraising vehicle for MCF, Dunk Your Kicks helps the environment by keeping the sneakers out of landfills (200 million pairs of sneakers end up in landfills annually) while, at the same time, creates tens of thousands of jobs globally and reduces the risk of disease in those living in developing countries who go barefoot.  Dunk Your Kicks gives a 2nd and even a 3rd life to the sneakers that would otherwise end up, unused, in closets and ultimately be thrown out.

So now its time for Ventura to clean out their closets and Dunk Your Kicks for pediatric cancer causes. Bring those used sneakers with you to the Ventura Marathon or take the sneakers off your feet after the race and let someone else walk a mile in your shoes.

Az Brownie Troop Supports Max Cure Foundation

Author: Nicole Hopkins

dunk your kicksAs a new Brownie Troop leader (girls in grades 2 and 3) 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.

The girls were all asked to think about the kinds of people they wanted to help, and why it was important to them. Thankfully, my group is small, so the ideas they had were narrowed down to the following:

  • They wanted to help homeless people by giving them food or clothing,
  • They wanted to help women and girls in third world countries,
  • They wanted to help sick kids.

My job, as their leader, was to help guide them to find ways we could accomplish these types of service projects. In my investigation, I was fortunate enough to have found some information about an upcoming Dunk Your Kicks event in Phoenix via Facebook (I am an aspiring runner, so my “ad” feed picked this up). Upon investigating what this event was about, I realized that our girls could accomplish ALL of their goals by sponsoring a Dunk Your Kicks event in Tucson…and we had a potential venue!

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. I proposed the idea of having a Dunk Your Kicks event with the team at the Girl Scout Council, and they were fully on board.

GS BoothMy girls are now VERY excited about this project, and plan to leverage the skills they have learned by participating in Girl Scouts to spread the word and raise awareness about the Max Cure foundation and the goals this group has. As a troop, we have identified different stores that might let us collect shoes prior to the Thin Mint Sprint, and the girls plan to “pitch their plan” to store managers. The girls are also excited to share their experience with other troops, and hopefully help engage other troops in participating in the Dunk Your Kicks campaign, not only in Arizona, but possibly coast to coast. They have set a goal of collecting 5,000 pairs of shoes, and plan to donate half of their cookie proceeds to directly sponsor a local family identified by Max Cure.

Not only is the Max Cure Foundation helping families who struggle financially with an unimaginable burden of watching their child suffer with pediatric cancer,  they are also assisting my girls in learning about service, communication and organization skills and how to execute a project; skills that will help them become future leaders and individuals committed to making the world a better place.

Maine Camp Experience Brings Dunk Your Kicks to Camp… Again…

DYK at Maine Camp ExperienceThe Max Cure Foundation is proud to announce that Maine Camp Experience (MCE) has invited us to bring Dunk Your Kicks back to their summer camps. Last summer, we collected well over 1,000 pairs of sneakers at the participating camps and look forward to exceeding that number this summer. We want to extend a roaring thank you to Maine Camp Experience and Laurie Kaiden, who is The Maine Guide who provides personalized assistance to families who want to find the best camp match for their kids. Laurie has been an ambassador going above and beyond to support The Max Cure Foundation and our Dunk Your Kicks campaign.

This year, in addition to collections, MCE is hosting an art contest where kids can win a chance to have their art featured on Dunk Your Kicks drop boxes at participating camps.  Learn more about how you can get involved in this fun contest by following this link. Donated sneakers from all camp families will be collected at MCE camps. MCE is reaching out to campers and their parents encouraging them to clean out their closets and pack old sneakers and be prepared to Dunk Your Kicks!

David Plotkin, Max Cure Chairman, will again be visiting several of the camps to interact with and educate campers as well as staff about the impact their philanthropic actions will have on the environment, those less fortunate in developing nations as well as pediatric cancer causes. Last summer David visited eight camps and this year we are thrilled that MCE has added more camp visits to the schedule.  Starting July 15th David will be visiting camps Kohut, Laurel, Nashoba North, Skylemar, Tripp Lake and Wekeela. Additional MCE camps will be bringing some of their campers to these Dunk Your Kicks events, too. We are honored to be invited back and look forward to an encouraging and philanthropic week! Here is a short video clip from last year’s collaboration.

Maine Camp Experience (MCE) is a community of 33 premier Maine sleepaway camps and is a comprehensive camp-planning resource.  Maine Camp Experience camps provide kids with the perfect combination of natural beauty, strong traditions and values, and top-notch instruction and activities. We are honored to be invited back and be among these amazing Camp Directors and the kids.

Again this summer, Camp Trucking, a preferred MCE business member, as well as Camp Baggage, an MCE business member, have generously agreed to help collect and transport the sneakers. Additional “kicks” donation opportunities are available throughout the summer, including Visiting Day and at summer’s end so get ready to clean out your closets and take a stand against pediatric cancer one #dunk at a time.

StartLine Racing Makes an Aggressive Promise to Max Cure

The Max Cure Foundation is excited to announce we have joined forces with StartLine Racing, an Arizona racing company, to launch another Arizona Dunk Your Kicks collection to raise money for our Roar Beyond Barriers program at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. Jeff Crane, StartLine’s owner, and their team have set an aggressive goal to collect 10,000 pair of gently used sneakers before the end of 2014. In addition StartLine is making a donation of $2.50 to The Max Cure Foundation through the rest of the year for anyone who registers for a StartLine event and uses promo code DYK.

The Max Cure Foundation is honored to be a part of the StartLine community. We know from firsthand experience how supportive the people are in Arizona. The last time Max Cure launched a large collection we received the support of The Sun Devil Club, Audio Express, Fix24 and other local businesses collecting over 1,000 pair in one month. So far we have attended three different StartLine events and have been impressed by the tremendous support we received already.

Pediatric Cancer Fundraiser“Our first collection with StartLine brought me to tears” said Max Cure Marketing Director, Erica Bailey. “I met a woman who offered to take the shoes off her feet and walk to her car barefoot. I realized she just ran a half-marathon so I offered to take the shoes off for her. When I stood back up she told me she was a cancer survivor and this was the second half-marathon she ran in those shoes. Now someone else gets to walk a mile in her sneakers and I hope some of her strength somehow radiates through them to their new owners.”

Dunk Your Kicks is more than a fundraiser for pediatric cancer causes. It is a way for people of any age to keep waste out of our landfills and let the less fortunate walk a mile in their shoes. The way used sneakers can make such a difference is pretty powerful.

If you attend any of StartLine’s races you will hear Jeff or other team members talking about giving him your old sneakers and taking a stand against pediatric cancer. When asked how he plans on reaching that goal of 10,000 pair he said:

“10,000 pair may be an aggressive number, but I am learning pediatric cancer needs aggressive action. If it was my children who were sick, I would want to know that organizations like The Max Cure Foundation were there for support. Max Cure has done great things for research, for families, and advocacy, and they need our help. So we will do great things too. We have donated a booth to Max Cure at every StartLine race for the rest of the year, we plan on reaching out to our local connections in the running world to drive support, and plan on continuously encouraging our runners to clean out their closets, ask their friends, their co-workers, their running clubs, whatever, and bring us your sneakers.. It’s really that simple.”

The Max Cure Foundation currently has two families in the Arizona Roar Beyond Barriers program being treated at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. Buddy, age 6, and Maurice, age 9, are both battling forms of brain cancer and come from single parent homes. With the monies raised, the Max Cure Foundation will provide these families, and hopefully others in Arizona, with monthly Target gift cards during the time the children are in active cancer treatment to purchase necessities such as food and clothing. Thanks to Startline Racing and its support of the Dunk Your Kicks Campaign, the foundation is hopeful it will be able to add to the program additional Arizona families facing a parent’s worst nightmare, a child with cancer.

Team Kids Get Cancer Too AzA group of volunteers along with Max Cure Foundation’s Marketing Director are organizing a team to participate in StartLine’s Run FORE Cancer race on September 21, 2014 benefiting the St. Joseph’s Hospital & Medical Center and Barrow’s Neurological Foundation. The Kids Get Cancer Too team can either walk or run the amazing 4.25k course at the Silverado Golf Course to raise awareness for childhood cancers during Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month and raise money for The Max Cure Foundation. The team has set a goal to raise an additional $10,000 by participating in this event. If you would like to be a part of this team please contact Max Cure volunteer Keirsten at or send us a message on Facebook. You can also learn more or support their efforts by visiting their GoFundMe page here.

Jovi’s Story

Roar Beyond BarriersJovan, 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 Aunt’s Pediatric Cancer Story

“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.

Dunk Your Kicks

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”

You Can Help Too

Merrill LynchBy 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.

Meadowlands Racing & Jersey Fest Support Max Cure Foundation

The Max Cure Foundation is pleased to have been chosen as The Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment Group’s charity for the month of May, 21014.   Beginning May 2nd Meadowlands Racing, guests who make a $1 donation to the Charity of the Month will receive a rubber horse to throw into the window of a moving car.  The  Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment Group will match every dollar raised from the sale of the rubber horses and donate the proceeds to The Max Cure Foundation. Winners who get the horse in the window will be entered into a grand prize drawing to win a brand-new Toyota Scion as well as win the chance for a $100 betting voucher. The drawing will take place on Saturday, August 2.

“We are thrilled to be chosen as the charity for the month of May,” said David Plotkin, Chairman of the Max Cure Foundation.  “It’s a win-win for everyone — racing fans can play a fun game, while making a difference in the fight against pediatric cancer.  We are very appreciative of the Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment Group’s support,” he added.

jersey fest new art to post on fb  twitterThe  Max Cure Foundation will also be a key player at Jersey Fest on May 31 with their signature Dunk Your Kicks program.   Dunk Your Kicks collects gently used sneakers and sells them to a recycler.  The money raised is used for pediatric cancer causes and all guests are encouraged to “dunk their kicks” and donate sneakers.  Former NFL linebacker (Indianapolis Colts and Dallas Cowboys), Quentin Coryatt, will be in attendance to help collect sneakers and to demonstrate “The Perfect Jumper,” a unique training aid for basketball players of all levels. Coryatt will donate a percentage of all proceeds from the sales of The Perfect Jumper at Jersey Fest to The Max Cure Foundation.

Jersey Fest is sponsored by Exposure North Jersey who will include the Food Truck Mash Up, a food lover’s dream including over 50 food trucks in one area, in this year’s festival. Jersey Fest includes harness racing, live music, great food, dedicated beer garden, entertainment, a Dunk Your Kicks basketball shoot and more. It runs from 5pm to 11pm and is both free admission and free parking.

We are honored to be a part of this event and are grateful to our friend and long-time supporter, T.H. Waldman and the team at Exposure North Jersey, for always thinking about Max Cure. We are also thankful that The Meadowlands selected us as the Charity of the Month and encourage all our local fans to donate a dollar and hopefully win a brand-new Toyota Scion. Remember to clean out your closets of used sneakers and Dunk Your Kicks for pediatric cancer on May 31st!

StartLine Racing Supports Arizona Families Battling Pediatric Cancer

Dunk Your Kicks ArizonaThe Max Cure Foundation, a non-profit pediatric cancer foundation, is excited to announce that StartLine Racing, an Arizona Race Event company, has joined our ‘Roar’ to help support the Arizona Roar Beyond Barriers program. StartLine Racing was created to give every runner the best possible Race Day experience every time, while supporting different philanthropic causes and now you can Dunk Your Kicks for pediatric cancer causes at any participating StartLine Racing event.

Donate your kicks (sneakers) after the races and let others less fortunate “walk a mile in your shoes.” By donating your sneakers after the races and making them part of the affordable clothing market in emerging market countries, you are helping the environment by keeping them out of landfills, offering individuals in developing nations the opportunity to have sneakers at affordable prices, while, through the Max Cure Foundation Roar Beyond Barrier Program, providing financial support to local low-income families who have children battling pediatric cancers.

StartLine Racing has chosen The Max Cure Foundation as its featured charity for the “Going the Distance Marathon / Half Marathon” at Rio Vista Park in Peoria on April 19th. In addition, It is planning a Dunk Your Kicks 5k / 10k event in September 2014, which is Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month, which will benefit the foundation’s  Arizona Roar Beyond Barriers program. Sign up today and take a stand against pediatric cancer, one mile at a time. Click here to register.

Who Will This Support

The Max Cure Foundation currently has two families in the Arizona Roar Beyond Barriers program being treated at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. Buddy, age 6, and Maurice, age 9, are both battling forms of brain cancer and come from single parent homes. With the monies raised, the Max Cure Foundation will provide these families, and hopefully others in Arizona, with monthly Target gift cards during the time the children are in active cancer treatment to purchase necessities such as food and clothing.  Thanks to Startline Racing and its support of the Dunk Your Kicks Campaign, the foundation is hopeful it will be able to add to the program additional Arizona families facing a parent’s worst nightmare, a child with cancer.

We want to extend a Roaring Thank You to our newest Dunk Your Kicks ambassadors in Arizona, Jaime Chisholm and Ginny Corsbie who introduced The Max Cure Foundation to StartLine Racing and began this tremendous adventure. They are also organizing the Dunk Your Kicks 5k / 10k race in September, referenced above, to raise awareness and money for pediatric cancer causes.

See below for a complete list of StartLine Racing’s upcoming events where you can Dunk Your Kicks for pediatric cancer causes. Together we will Roar for a Cure until one is found.

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Dunk Your Kicks is brought to you by The Max Cure Foundation courtesy of Rethink Nation, LLC, An international recycler which collects the sneakers and donates a portion of the proceeds it receives from those to whom the sneakers are sold to the foundation for facilitating such collection.

From Adversaries to Partners | Richard’s Take on the NCI

Richard PlotkinI was honored to be invited to the February 21, 2014, all day conference at the National Institute of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland, hosted by the National Cancer Institute Director’s Consumer Liaison Group (DCLG) which included several representatives from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), a branch of NIH. The purpose of the conference was to address the needs of pediatric cancer in an effort to better direct those, like me, who advocate for increased government funding. At the conclusion of the meeting, I had a much better understanding of that which needed to be accomplished to meet that goal. Indeed, I apologized to those present from NIH/NCI for attacking them as I have done for giving “short shrift” to the needs of childhood cancers and said that rather than treat the Government as an adversary, as I had done over the last few years with my criticism of its allocation of funds to pediatric cancer causes, I would from that day forward, until proven otherwise, treat it as our partner.

By way of background, there are over 16 major types of pediatric cancers with those major types being broken down further to over 100 subcategories. Each subcategory requires different treatments. In 2012, NCI allocated 3.9% of its budget for cancer research to pediatric cancers, with the balance to adult cancers. In the latter category, 10% of the funds are allocated to breast cancer; 5.9% to lung cancer; about 5% to prostate cancer and so on. When I had previously communicated with NCI and complained about what I perceived as unfair allocations, I was told it was based on volume – there are “only” 15,500 children each year diagnosed with cancer (19 and under), with “only” 40,000 or so children being treated in any one year. The survival rate from 5 years following diagnosis is 80%, with 370,000 pediatric cancer survivors (survived the five years) living in the United States. The head of NIH had previously testified at a hearing and when challenged on the 3.9% allocation said, “With an 80% survival rate, we must be doing something right.” Nothing can be further from the truth. In fact, if a form of leukemia is removed (ALL) from the equation, which results in 24% of the childhood cancer cases and has a 94% survival rate, the five year survival rate is reduced to about 65%. Also, those children that survive the five years have a ten times greater mortality rate due to heart and liver disease and to reoccurrence of the cancer. Two – thirds of the survivors exhibit side effects over their lifetimes (ranging from relatively minor to substantial, often debilitating) from having been exposed to toxic chemotherapy, most of which had been developed for adults but used on children.

Unlike most adult cancers, childhood cancer research relies almost wholly on the Government for funding. Pharmaceutical companies (industry) do not invest the resources needed to develop pediatric cancer drugs due to the limited population consisting of kids with cancer and given the many subcategories within that limited group. Private foundations do not make a significant impact in the overall funding for research. NCI must step up. When talking in terms of volume, consider this fact. Prostate cancer effects men over 65. It has been documented that the progression of prostate cancer is not aggressive and is slow moving, with most men affected, even if they were not treated for their cancer, would die of some other cause, not cancer. But prostate cancer receives about 5% of the NCI allocation of funds (against the 3.9% allotted to children). Breast cancer receives the highest allocation at 10% of allotted funds, notwithstanding that from industry and private sources, breast cancer research receives about $6.0 billion annually. Lung cancer which primarily affects adults who assumed the risk of being diagnosed with lung cancer by smoking likewise receives a much higher allocation of funds at 5.9%. Should volume of cases determine that funding by NCI for lung cancer research be 150% of what is funded for children’s cancers? Looking at this objectively, which I try to do as an advocate, notwithstanding my personal connection and commitment to childhood cancer causes, I suggest the answer to the prior question is self-evident, a rousing, “No!”.

So, I went to the meeting at the NIH as if I were preparing to try a case in court (my prior occupation was as a commercial litigation lawyer), ready to go for the jugular. Intending to “take no prisoners” as I would convince our adversary, the NCI, the error of its ways. I had thought that by the end of the day, I would beat down those uncaring bureaucrats and carry the torch to victory for our children who are, and those that will be, afflicted with cancer. Well, was I in for a surprise, stating at the end of the meeting, as noted above, “I came today thinking we are adversaries and I am leaving knowing that we are partners in the fight for children with cancer.” I will elaborate on this in the newsletter in April as to what changed my mind.

– Richard Plotkin, Vice-Chair, The Max Cure Foundation

The #SaveJosh Story – How Social Media May Have Saved a Boy’s Life

It started with a phone call on March 5, 2014, and then a desperate plea for help commencing March 9th, which ended 48 hours later, as one of the biggest social media success stories of the year.

Josh HardyOn Sunday, March 9th, 2014 the Max Cure Foundation Marketing Director received a phone call from the Vice-Chair, Richard Plotkin, looking for help to save the life of 7 year old Josh Hardy. Josh had beaten cancer four separate times in his short 7 years, but his perseverance came at a price. A bone marrow transplant in January left Josh vulnerable to viral infections. He developed an infection in mid-February that was treated until March 4th with drugs that could no longer be given due to the harm they were doing to his kidneys. On March 9th, Josh was lying in a hospital bed in ICU at St. Jude Children’s Hospital in Memphis, with only one hope, an experimental drug currently in stage 3 trials called Brincidofovir. Josh’s doctors prior to March 5th, contacted Chimerix, the manufacturer of Brincidofovir, requesting a compassionate use waiver for the drug to be given to Josh. Doctors believed it was the only thing that could save his life. The doctors believed that the FDA would readily grant such a waiver if Chimerix requested it.

Chimerix refused to provide the drug.

Max Cure Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to the fight against pediatric cancer, was informed on March 5th about Josh’s story and immediately began communications with Chimerix. Max Cure was told by the Hardy family that if the drug were not immediately received by St. Jude, Josh would probably die by the following weekend. Todd Hardy, Josh’s Father, Spoke to Richard on Saturday, March 8th. He authorized Max Cure to rally it’s team and engage in a media blitz to force Chimerix’s hand to release the drug. Richard had been told on March 7th by the President of Chimerix that the company would not give St. Jude the drug in that it was a phase 3 clinical trial and had discontinued seeking compassionate use waivers from the FDA for the drug. It also claimed it had limited resources and could not make an exception for Josh. Max Cure reached out to colleagues with the Coalition Against Childhood Cancer (CAC2) for help, and sent out emails to friends in the media, arranging for Josh’s Mom to go on CNN Sunday night, March 9th. During that interview it was stated by the CNN Medical Correspondent that Chimerix claimed it would cost $50,000 to give Josh the drug. Max Cure immediately attempted to raise those funds to give to Chimerix in exchange for the drug.

Save Josh Social MediaAs a direct result,  Max Cure Foundation on Sunday, March 9th, took to the internet to help save Josh. The Max Cure team knew they had to try and help. They hoped that with the help of their friends, supporters and followers, including other members of CAC2, they could convince Chimerix to change its mind.

“We have been talking to our friends for a year and when you are truly engaged with your followers on social media, you get a good sense of what they are capable of, and our friends are obviously capable of moving mountains.” Said Max Cure Foundation’s Marketing Director, Erica Bailey. “I knew that once we told Josh’s story on Facebook, and activated our Tweet Warriors, the community wouldn’t stand for it and they would let their voice or in this case, their roar, be heard.”

The initial post was a simple rally for help with an introduction to Josh and a link to the page his family created. This post alone had over 4,000 Likes, 8,833 Shares and 711 comments reaching over 540,000 people. This was just the beginning.

Screen Shot 2014-03-20 at 12.39.29 PMMax Cure Foundation asked people to do anything they could to help spread the word, encouraging people to change their profile picture to #savejosh and share the message with all their social media friends and followers. Max Cure followers bombarded Chimerix with phone calls, emails, twitter and the like  demanding the company either help Josh, or give a damn good reason why they wouldn’t.

Within 48 hours more than one million people viewed Josh’s story on Facebook from the Max Cure page. Erica said she was shocked to watch the movement turn from “shares” and “likes” to emails, phone calls, and a scheduled rally to take place at Chimerix’s corporate offices on Thursday, March 13th. “I knew it was possible, but I didn’t expect it to happen the way it did. I don’t know all our social media fans personally, but I can tell you I “like” every single one of them,” she said.

Screen Shot 2014-03-20 at 1.08.53 PMBecause of The Max Cure Foundation’s network, through the friends in the media, they drove the story to mainstream outlets. News outlets from New York to Los Angeles  broadcast Josh’s story into millions of homes. The story reached the media in Italy, Brazil, France and England and even traveled as far as the Middle East. Josh’s mother appeared  on CNN,  Fox News Network and CBS, all of which  had been arranged through Chairman David Plotkin’s friends’ in the industry. Max Cure, firmly asked Chimerix to reconsider. Stories rank on local television outlets in Chimerix’s home state of North Carolina and elsewhere. As of Monday, late afternoon, March 10th, Chimerix was still adamant it would not supply the drug to Josh to save his life.  Max Cure offered to give the $50,000 for the drug, which had been committed to Max Cure by three different sources. But, Chimerix told Max Cure at the time it was not about the money.  Time was running out.

Richard appeals to board on fox and friends with logoMax Cure Vice Chairman Richard Plotkin in a last ditch effort to save Josh appeared on Fox News on Tuesday Morning, March 11th and appealed directly to the Chimerix Board of Directors to overturn the decision of its President not to give Josh the drug. He followed up with an email communication to each of the board members. Bloggers and journalists increased their emphasis on the story and continued to make saving Josh an internet-wide priority. Max Cure continued their Facebook push and the #SaveJosh hash tag was trending number 8 according to CNN Trends. Ultimately Max Cure reached over a million people on Facebook and half a million people on Twitter through this campaign.

Screen Shot 2014-03-20 at 12.38.44 PMBy Tuesday, the exposure was so widespread that Chimerix had no choice but to reevaluate its position. In less than 48 hours the company had received so much negative publicity; it did something not many Bio Tech companies would do. It communicated with the FDA in an effort to come up with a plan to give Josh his life saving medication. A plan was put in place by the FDA and Chimerix to establish a new phase 3 clinical trial for children and to identify Josh as its first participant. On Tuesday evening, Josh’s parents were informed that the DRUG was on its way to Josh’s doctors at St. Jude. The grassroots social media campaign, coupled with the media exposure on television and print, was a roaring success.

“I learned Josh got the medications on social media. The news hadn’t even had time to travel through official channels. This just goes to show the power of social media when the people stand united,” shared Erica.

The Max Cure Foundation thanks all of its friends, supporters and those involved  as part of CAC2. Also we wish to send a special thank you to Facebook for being a huge part in changing from #SaveJosh to #SavedJosh. Because of its platform, millions of people had a voice in attempting to save Josh’s life. As of today, he has been saved!  When asked how she felt about going toe to toe with an industry, Erica stated, “Some people are saying we took down “big pharma”. That was never our intention. Our intention was to influence Chimerix to find a solution, which thanks to the FDA and Chimerix, they did.” We are pleased to announce that as of today, Josh’s condition is improving and it appears the drug, did in fact, save his life. But this story is ongoing, as this 7 year old continues to fight the infection that threatened to end his short life.

This story wasn’t just about a dying boy and the drug that could save his life. In the end, it was a victory for all of humanity. Not only for Josh and his family, but for pediatric cancer, children fighting illnesses who don’t have a voice, and this amazing drug that can offer such promise to the world. It was also a victory for the millions of people who were praying for a boy, who until Sunday, March 9TH, was a total stranger. “To think that a child who beat cancer 4x and survived, was going to die from an infection, even though there was a drug who could cure him, hit us hard. We kept thinking, what if this was Max? What would we do? We would fight, and get him the drug,” says David Plotkin, Chairman of Max Cure Foundation.

And that is the real power of the internet. One cause, over one million voices,  one bio tech company with a drug, along with the help of the FDA, were ultimately able to save one little boy’s life.

Honeywell Brings Dunk Your Kicks Back to Arizona

The Max Cure Foundation launched its Roar Beyond Barriers Arizona program at Phoenix Children’s Hospital in October of 2013. Max Cure ambassadors brought Dunk Your Kicks to Arizona by getting the Arizona State University Sun Devil Club, Audio Express and other local businesses and community organizations involved. The monies raised from the sneaker collections in Arizona go towards supporting a 5-year-old and a 9-year-old boy, both from single parent homes and both battling different forms of brain cancer.

We are thrilled to announce that Honeywell’s Phoenix and Tempe Wellness Center locations will be keeping the Arizona Roar Beyond Barriers program alive through their support. Honeywell employees can now clean out their closets of used sneakers and “Dunk Your Kicks” for pediatric cancer causes on their way to work. We were impressed to hear that the organization has been collecting sneakers for over four years and recycling them to better the planet overall. When we told them how Max Cure can take these sneakers and make a difference not only for the planet, but people in developing nations, and families battling pediatric cancer, their support was almost immediate. There are donation boxes located at the Honeywell Wellness Centers in both Phoenix and Tempe locations.

IMG_0428“At the Honeywell Health & Wellness Center, we make sure our members replace their kicks on a regular basis to avoid injuries and provide optimal support for their workout. So instead of just throwing those shoes away several times a year we were looking for a place we could donate them instead and found Dunk Your Kicks. What a great cause! So instead of just filling up landfills we feel it is much more beneficial for us to donate those old shoes in order to help families with children battling cancer.” Says Cheri Fisher, Honeywell Health and Wellness Center’s Program Director.

The Max Cure Foundation would also like to give a special shout out to our Arizona Dunk Your Kicks Ambassador, Serena Knierim, who was a key factor in Honeywell learning about The Max Cure Foundation’s Dunk Your Kicks campaign.

‘One Man’s Junk’ Becomes a Treasure For Pediatric Cancer Causes

first purchaseThe first sale benefiting Max Cure Foundation of the art of John D. Herz was made this week.  It consisted  of two graphite pencil drawings; an original, “Bridgehampton Polo”, and a limited edition Giclee, “One Man’s Junk”.  The new owners, a medical doctor and his wife, recently renovated their living room and were looking for art to put on their walls. They learned of John’s artwork through the Max Cure Foundation, saw the different drawings on his website, loved what they saw, could not make up their minds between the two pieces and ultimately decided to buy them both.  From their purchase Max Cure Foundation received $1,350.00!  This is just the start of what Max Cure Foundation expects to be a win-win-win for Max Cure Foundation, for the artist John D. Herz, and for the public who purchases the art.

“We found ‘One Man’s Junk’ to be an incredible conversation starter, perfect for the room where we entertain the most. We will also know every time we look upon the artwork, that we also supported a cause very near and dear to our hearts” said the couple.

The Max Cure Foundation currently offers three of John’s amazing works available for immediate purchase through website. You are now able to purchase, a John D. Herz original drawing, museum quality, signed and numbered limited edition Giclee, or print through The Max Cure Foundation with a large portion of the proceeds going towards advancing Max Cure’s mission. The purchaser will be given a receipt which would allow a tax deduction subject to the applicable law. If you prefer a different piece of John’s artwork not currently available for purchase online, you may contact us here for availability.

Pediatric Cancer


“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.” 

The museum quality, limited edition, signed and numbered, matted and framed Giclée prints are available for immediate purchase here with a substantial percentage of the proceeds going to support The Max Cure Foundation. Posters are also available for only $50 here

horse picture“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 in McCullough Peaks, Wyoming, really caught my eye so I made arrangements with the photographer to draw them. I chose to do the original on a 60 inch board. The final dimensions are 60″ X 28″. 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 museum quality, limited edition, signed and numbered, matted and framed Giclée prints are available for immediate purchase here with a substantial percentage of the proceeds going to support The Max Cure Foundation. Posters are also available for only $50 here.

The Domino Effect w-Mats“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.”

The museum quality, limited edition, signed and numbered, matted and framed Giclée prints are available for immediate purchase here with a substantial percentage of the proceeds going to support The Max Cure Foundation. Posters are also available for only $50 here.

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 add a John D. Herz piece to your art collection and support The Max Cure Foundation.

Meet Manijeh and Her Family

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.

Manijeh and Family 2012Over 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.

Amos Ryan EH BasketballManijeh 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.

Dunk Your Kicks at the Ultimate Sneaker Expo

The Max Cure Foundation is excited to announce it has become the official beneficiary of the Ultimate Sneaker Expo in Syosset, NY on April 26, 2014, and will be collecting new and used sneakers to raise money for pediatric cancer research and to assist families battling the disease in their children. Trade and sell your prized collections and Dunk Your Kicks at Long Island’s largest sneaker and lifestyle apparel show featuring top vendors, brands, collectors and retailers while supporting pediatric cancer causes.

Ultimate Sneaker Ex#36F5967 (3)The Ultimate Sneaker Expo event takes place at Ultimate 575, a sports complex boasting over 20,000 Square Feet of Space with 200+ Exclusive vendors and 4000+ attendees all under one roof. In addition to exclusive vendors and sneaker trading there will be a wide array of giveaways, courtesy of the VIP sponsors. The event will also feature an all-star entertainment roster including DJ Bobby Trends (Hot 97), Ted Smooth, DJ Fatfingaz and Marco Glorious (Wendy Williams Show) among others.

Event Partners include DJ Clark Kent, Sharad & Manu of SM Event Group, and Michael Siegal of Ultimate 575 who collectively share a passion for sneakers and events. The Max Cure Foundation was introduced to the Ultimate Sneaker Expo by way of Dunk Your Kicks Ambassador and Max Cure Chair, Jen Boudin, who simply had an idea, took a shot, and a philanthropic relationship was born.

A substantial portion of the proceeds from the sale of the sneakers will be used by Max Cure Foundation to help underwrite an immune T Cell laboratory at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center to treat children and young adults that had not responded to standard treatments. Along with it Roar Beyond Barriers program to financially support low income and military families whose children have cancer.

You can stop by one of the supporting retailers between March 1st and April 25th and drop off your Kicks before the show, or Dunk Your Kicks at the show and you will skip the line! Make sure to visit the Max Cure booth and say “hi” to our team of youth volunteers.

General Admission Tickets:
$20.00 per ticket and allow entry for a single individual and are permitted to bring up to three (3) pairs of sneakers to trade or sell. (Additional sneakers are $5 per pair and will be charged at the door).

DJ Clark Kent VIP Admission Tickets:
$50.00 per ticket and there will be no line, no wait, and you will be able to personally meet famed Producer/ DJ / Sneaker Head Clark Kent and take a picture with him on the red carpet! You will also receive a VIP gift bag courtesy of Ultimate Sneaker Expo! VIP Ticket holders will be called to meet Clark Kent from 2-4pm. VIP ticket holders have all the benefits of a General Admission Ticket as well.

Supporting Retailers:

Follow this link to purchase your tickets or click on the graphic below and take a stand against pediatric cancer one “Dunk” at a time.

Ultimate Sneaker Ex#36F2B2D (3)

Dunk Your Kicks Comes to the San Luis Obispo Marathon in Memory of Sam

Every individual or family deals with loss differently. A few months ago, The Max Cure Foundation received a message on Facebook from a Mother asking if we could bring Dunk Your Kicks to the San Luis Obispo Marathon in April. We were thrilled to receive such an invitation and inspired by this woman’s efforts to make a difference in the fight against pediatric cancer. Little did we know at the time, this Mother lost her 8 year-old son, Sam, to cancer on October 20, 2013.

SamSam was diagnosed with brain cancer in September, 2012, 13 months prior to his passing. Sam’s life before then was normal and happy, until almost overnight Sam started feeling funny, falling down, and having seizures. Sam’s parents got him the medical attention he needed right away and the roller coaster started from that moment. The family was told through chemotherapy and radiation treatments developed for adults, he may be able to survive.

From September to April Sam continued these treatments, and then in May of 2013, Sam’s family was told that “radiation and chemotherapy were no longer an option because the tumors were too massive and were located in the portion of the brain which would result in too much collateral damage. There were no clinical trials open for this particular type of tumor.” Again, their worst fears were realized, they are told to prepare for the loss of their son. How many times do parents need to hear there is nothing that can be done for their child before funding for research for pediatric cancer drugs is substantially increased?

SamSam’s Mom writes a blog entitled “Enough For Now” as part of her healing and coping methods. She shares Sam’s story from beginning to end, but in one particular post, she wrote something that moved us. “Perhaps the treatments he received in the first 7 months did some good. Maybe the thing was at least slowed down. Sam’s quality of life was excellent up until late May. We felt pretty normal most of the time. I had moments of doubt and fear, but I had hope too. I constantly replayed the words of the nurse practitioner on Sam’s team: in the 20 years she worked in the brain tumor program they only lost 2 kids to tumor growth. It’ll be 3 now.”

Although Sam lost his battle, his family has refused to stop fighting the war. From pancake breakfasts to Lemonade and Love, Sam’s family and friends have done what they can to raise money for research so that one day we can find a cure, and no more “Sams” of the world will be lost. This time they are bringing The Max Cure Foundation’s Dunk Your Kicks campaign to California in a big way.

Max Cure Foundation collects used sneakers, and with the help of an international recycler, the sneakers are then sold as affordable footwear in developing nations. A portion of the monies raised from the sale of these sneakers will go to the Max Cure Fund which underwrites a laboratory at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center which treats children and young adults who have not responded to standard cancer treatments. The results to date have been extraordinary. We hope to one day fund the research that provides a cure.

So clean out your closets California and Dunk Your Kicks at the San Luis Obispo Marathon on April 25th through the 27th! Take a stand against pediatric cancer, one “Dunk” at a time.

San Luis Obispo Marathon

New Found Artist Gives Back to Pediatric Cancer Causes

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. You can visit his website here to witness firsthand the incredible talent that lay dormant in John until the autumn of his life.

Last year the five year old grandson (Luke) of John’s cousin Bob was diagnosed with cancer.  John is very close to Bob and the knowledge that this horrific disease struck so “near to home” opened John’s eyes to what many others in this country were facing – engaging in the battle to overcome childhood cancers.  Luke was among the 15,500 children diagnosed with cancer last year in this country, 80% of whom will survive five years from diagnosis, with 20% dying during that five year period.  If a specific form of Leukemia is removed from the equation, the five year survival rate is reduced to less than 65%. Of those children that survive, there is a ten times greater mortality rate due to the increased risk of heart and liver disease as well as recurrence of the cancer.  To John and his family, though, statistics did not matter – they were confronting Luke’s cancer on a daily basis, hoping (and praying) that he will be among those that survive.  Luke is currently doing well and appears to be winning the battle, a battle that will continue even if he does survive the five years given the high incidence among childhood cancer survivors of side-effects that plague the children throughout their lives as a result of being exposed to chemotherapy and radiation, both standard forms of treating cancer.

Recently, Nancy’s son Jason Levine introduced John to David Plotkin, Chairman of MCF. John was told that David and his family formed MCF in 2008 following David’s son’s diagnosis of cancer at the age of 4.  Max is now 10 years old and a six year cancer survivor.  John was especially anxious to meet David and learn more about MCF in that he understood as a result of Luke’s journey over the last year how devastating it was to a family to have a child diagnosed with cancer on many different levels, both psychological and financial.

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 recently told Max’s grandfather, Richard, Vice Chairman of MCF, 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.

john d herz pencil art

Some of John’s collections include “The Uncommon Man New York” and “The Uncommon Man Bahamas”, a group of common faces we too often avoid, but have deep stories to share.  From his “Bridgehampton Polo” to “Reflections on 5th,” to the five foot tall “Kiss Against the Wall” John “paints with his pencil” moments that deserve to be captured for eternity.

Within the next month you will be able to purchase from MCF, a John D. Herz original drawing, a signed and numbered limited edition giclee, or a print through The Max Cure Foundation with a significant portion of the proceeds going towards advancing MCF’S mission. The purchaser will be given a receipt which would allow a tax deduction subject to the applicable law. Every month John will feature additional artwork available for a limited time to Max Cure supporters only. Stay tuned for more information. Also, fill out the form below if you would like to commission John for an original piece that will support Max Cure.

Makin’ Music for Families Supports Pediatric Cancer Causes

The Max Cure Foundation is excited to announce it has been chosen as a beneficiary from the Makin’ Music for Families program. Makin’ Music for Families is a music education program targeted toward preschoolers that will be enjoyed by the entire family to foster early childhood development and family bonding through music and music education. The company will donate 30% of the sales price, (excluding shipping and handling) to Max Cure Foundation to advance its mission.

Makin’ Music for Families believes in missions that make a difference in the lives of children and their families. Its program is designed to actively engage parents, grandparents, siblings, care providers and the children in fun and exciting activities that boost a child’s social confidence through researched and proven activities that strengthen the bond.

This award winning classroom music program used by Goddard Schools throughout the United States is proven developmentally beneficial to all preschoolers (ages infant thru 5). Countless studies have demonstrated that cognitive function is improved in children exposed to music programs at an early age and by using rhythmic instruments children improve motor skills at an accelerated pace.

The program changes every month with new songs, crafts and entertainment – so it never gets boring and is perfect for play dates as children love to participate in the classes together, giving them confidence to express themselves in front of others.

Makin music for familiesFor only $14.98 you receive this jam-packed DVD with new and exciting rockin’ rhythms that both you and the child will enjoy. The child will love the excitement of singing, dancing, stomping, and jumping that comes with every new DVD. The DVD is great as a gift for a friend, family member, church youth group or even preschool teachers. You will also be inspired by the learning experience you share with the child and take comfort in knowing that your child is meeting those important development milestones in his or her life. Every purchase will also support The Max Cure Foundation’s “Roar for a Cure” against pediatric cancer and for every 15 DVD’s purchased by Max Cure supporters, the Makin’ Music for Families team will send an extra DVD to Max Cure Foundation for submission to an appropriate family within it’s family assistance program known as Roar Beyond Barriers.

Are you ready to start “Makin’ Music With Families while supporting The Max Cure Foundation and pediatric cancer causes? Click here to start creating a lifetime of memories and together we will Roar for a Cure until one is found.


13-Year-Old Raises $1,200 for Pediatric Cancer in Liu of Birthday Gifts

Pediatric Cancer Kids Helping KidsCharitable giving and philanthropy is a difficult concept to teach children and young adults. Face it, learning to share is a difficult milestone to reach, but giving one’s time and money to benefit others they don’t know, is in fact a hard concept to grasp, especially at a young age. However, one young girl in California clearly understands the good that can come out of personal sacrifice for others.

Rosie just celebrated her 13th birthday. The 13th birthday is special for young girls. It is the year where most girls are unwrapping make-up and new clothes and preparing for their first year as a teenager. Instead, Rosie was unwrapping donations and gift cards for The Max Cure Foundation.  In total, Rosie collected $600 in gift cards and donations which her family matched, bringing the final total to $1,200.

Max Cure often receives requests from parents wanting to get their children involved in our Dunk Your Kicks campaign, where they collect used sneakers on behalf of the Foundation. The sneakers are then sold as affordable footwear in developing nations, with a percentage of the proceeds going to financially support low-income and military families who have a child battling pediatric cancer. These families are part of the Roar Beyond Barriers program. Yet, Rosie’s independent actions show that when given the opportunity to be inspired, children and young adults can do amazing things.

From all of us at The Max Cure Foundation, we believe that both Rosie and her family are an inspiration to others. We hope the story Rosie’s selfless act reaches the newsfeeds of others who read this blog, and who are motivated to take action for a cause near to their hearts. We know that Rosie received more joy this year on her birthday because of the good that she did than any mountain of gifts could have provided.

If you would like to learn more about how your child or family can support the Max Cure Foundation please feel free to contact us here, or fill out the form on this page to bring Dunk Your Kicks to your community or business.

It is Often More Than Money Given to Charities That Justifies a Foundation’s Existence

Richard PlotkinFoundations should not be judged solely on how much money they raise for charities.  Often its actions are based on who they know, just making a call, not expecting anything in return.  In other words doing the right thing in life can be equally, if not more, rewarding than donating funds to a particular cause.  There is an old saying “there are those that talk the talk, and then the ones who walk it.” Richard Plotkin, Vice Chairman of The Max Cure Foundation, a 501 ( c ) ( 3 ) non-profit charity (MCF) devoted to making a difference in the area of pediatric cancer, retired in 2008 after practicing law for 38 years as a partner in a regional law firm, Day Pitney LLP, to form MCF with his family following his grandson, Max’s, diagnosis of cancer (Max is now 10 years old and considered a six year cancer survivor).  MCF, including the period of one and one-half years prior to its formation in December 2008 through the Max Cure Fund, has given over $1.5 million to pediatric cancer causes – to fund research and through its Roar Beyond Barriers program, to financially and emotionally assist families (generally low income or military) while their children are battling the disease.

A few months ago Richard received a call about a young boy, age 10, the same age as his grandson, with a rare form of brain cancer called Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma commonly referred to by the acronym DIPG.  Richard knew the disease was generally terminal and afflicted children up through the pre-teen years.  Richard, who learned of this family through one of MCF’s supporters, referred the family to Dr. Oren Becher who is doing research at Duke University Medical Center in an effort to find a cure for DIPG, one of the many cancers that afflict children.  Of the 13,500 children diagnosed with cancer each year, approximately 200 to 300 are afflicted with DIPG. MCF has financially supported Dr. Becher’s research over the last few years. Richard was recently told by the family that their journey started in earnest from the time communications with Dr. Becher began.  In fact, Richard was told the family is in continuous contact with Dr. Becher as he has become a central figure on the team the family assembled to attack the disease and to hopefully cure their son or, if that is not possible, to at least extend his life.  Another significant member of the team is Dr. Sharon Gardner, an oncologist at NYU Langone Medical Center, specializing in children’s cancers, including those affecting the brain. The family looks to Dr. Gardner to coordinate the efforts of the team. MCF has worked with Dr. Gardner in connection with its Roar Beyond Barriers program.

Drs. Becher and Gardner in concert with other medical professionals on the team recommended the boy be given a new drug developed by Novartis that was still in trial known as BKM 120.  It had been proven to be successful in women with breast cancer and some other adult diseases.  The FDA granted what is known as a “Compassionate Waiver” to allow the use of this drug to determine if it had any positive impact on the boy’s tumor.  He had been on this drug for some time with good results but after a while, its effectiveness had waned.  He had however far exceeded the two months that he was given to live by one of the doctors the family first consulted.  Dr. Becher refused to give up hope and based on research he had been doing, recommended that BKM 120 be combined with two other drugs, one of which is manufactured by Novartis and the other by another drug manufacturer.  Novartis’ approval and cooperation was needed.  Time was of the essence.  Richard was contacted by the family to determine if he knew anyone at Novartis.  Richard did not but stated he would determine if anyone at his former law firm had any such contacts.  Through Richard’s immediate efforts, with the assistance of two of his former law partners, the family was able to speak to the Sr. Vice President, U.S. Clinical Development and Medical Affairs, at Novartis who was in England but volunteered the family could call him at any time. This was just last week.  The family recently met with Richard, and it was there he was shown a recent video of the youngster climbing a rock wall at a gym – even though his mobility was weakened due to the disease.  When the boy reached the top of the wall, he gave the victory sign to his Dad below.  Seeing that video and speaking to the family underscored to Richard that he made the correct move retiring from the practice of law and devoting his life to making a difference in the area of childhood cancers – perhaps, as with this young boy, one child at a time.

Richard explained to the family that all he did was introduce them to Dr. Becher and later, communicated with his former law firm to see if anyone had any dealings with Novartis; from that, one of his former partners, after speaking with Richard, reached out to folks at Novartis; one of the Novartis representatives who was contacted reached out to the head of the entire drug development function at Novartis – he, as noted, was in England and invited the family to call him immediately, even if in the middle of the night in England.  They connected and Novartis took it from there, immediately getting the whole Novartis drug development group involved.  It became a top priority at Novartis and, as of earlier this week, things were progressing, with the hope that within a relatively short time, the requisite commitments and approvals will be forthcoming in order to permit the treatment to start. The health provider has already approved the treatment with the combination of the three drugs. 

Could this series of events prove to be a turning point for pediatric cancer and how Big Pharma looks at our children who need them more than ever before?  Not only will this potentially be life saving for the youngster (or at least extend his life), but it will potentially be a major accomplishment  for Novartis if the drug combination, recommended by Dr. Becher, improves the boy’s condition, expands his life and potentially, what we are all praying for, allows the child to live a long and healthy life.   The benefits to Dr. Becher, who recommended the treatment protocol, if it works, would be monumental – he has devoted his life to the task of studying DIPG and attempting to find a cure.  He is the man “behind the curtain” who we all take for granted until we need him. What this story demonstrates, among other things, is that the steps taken by a family faced with one of the worst nightmares imaginable, a child with cancer, can reshape the way doctors, pharmaceutical companies and insurers can all band together for a  greater purpose – achieving good medical treatment.  

So remember, “don’t be so quick to judge a book by it’s cover,” or as in this case, a foundation by its size. Small foundations  know how to Roar for a Cure, and in this case, the Roar was heard and embraced.

Match a Dunk

Can You Hear Our Roar?

Pediatric cancer does not discriminate. It doesn’t matter if you are a Wall Street tycoon or a single parent living in the inner city, the disease devastates families, not only emotionally, but financially as well. The Roar Beyond Barriers program extends support to families in need so they may provide higher quality of care for their children at home.  Typically, the medical and health care needs are provided through insurance, Medicaid or unreimbursed medical care through the treating hospital. Hence, these expenses are not part of the Roar Beyond Barriers program.

pediatric cancer

The Roar Beyond Barriers program has provided support to 73 families since its inception in 2011 and provided over $150,000 in financial support since that time. We currently have families in 12 states from coast to coast including, Arizona (Phoenix),  California (Oakland), Connecticut (Hartford), Florida (Jacksonville, Orlando and Pensacola), Louisiana (Shreveport), Maryland (Baltimore), Minnesota (Minneapolis), New Jersey (Hackensack and Newark), New York (New York City, Syracuse and on Long Island), Pennsylvania (Philadelphia), Texas (Austin and Houston) and Washington (Seattle).

pediatric cancer

Our goal for 2014 is that our Dunk Your Kicks campaign, where we turn your used sneakers into dollars, will fund the Roar Beyond Barriers program. We want to inspire the children to help the children. We want to teach our youths how to become future philanthropists of America, without having to ask for money. The Dunk Your Kicks program is well on its way and we are excited about the year ahead, however these children still need support in the meantime.

Can you hear our Roar? Help us continue to provide for these families. You can even choose which state your tax deductible donations will support if it includes one of the States identified above – otherwise the funds can go towards the program generally to assist the families. A little bit goes a long way.   


The Real Faces of Pediatric Cancer

Childhood Cancer

Alex Rodriguez Removed from Animated Film Dealing with Pediatric Cancer

Not only has Alex Rodriguez been banned from playing baseball in 2014, but his character was also removed from the animated movie, Henry & Me, to be premiered in New York City in June, 2014.  The film was to premier in September, 2013, but due to the issues surrounding A – Rod, the New York Yankees and Major League Baseball, the producers of the film, of which David Plotkin, Chairman of The Max Cure Foundation, is a co-producer, decided to cancel the September launch of the movie, to remove Rodriguez as one of the central characters in the film and to replace him with former Yankee, Hideki Matsui.  The animated film is based on the book, “Boy of Steel”, written by Ray Negron, an executive with the New York Yankees and an avid writer who emphasizes in his writings his love of children and his sincere desire to make a difference.

Henry and MeThe story line is based on young Jack’s diagnosis of cancer and how he faces the many obstacles confronting him as he attempts to defeat cancer with the help of the New York Yankees.  Jack, an avid Yankee fan, faces the horrific disease with hope and courage, having been encouraged by Yankee legends Babe Ruth, Lefty Gomez, Mickey Mantle, Thurman Munson, Yogi Berra, Reggie Jackson and others and by many current players who either now wear or had worn the Yankee uniform, including as noted Hideki Matsui who continues to be idolized not only for what he did while a Yankee but also in Japan for his accomplishments as a player for the Japanese team known as the Yomiuri Giants. In addition to players, also depicted in the film are George Steinbrenner, Joe Girardi, Michael Kay and Brian Cashman . The cast includes the voice overs of Richard Gere as Henry, Luis Guzman as Lefty Gomez, Chazz Palminteri as Babe Ruth, Danny Aiello as Dr. Acosta, Cindy Lauper as Nurse Cyndi, Lucie Arnaz as Jacks Mom, Paul Simon as Thurmon Munson, Austin Williams as Jack and Serena Girardi as Jack’s friend. 

The producer of the film, Joe Avallone of Reveal 42, Inc., formerly Creative Group Acquisition, Inc., had been introduced to The Max Cure Foundation and David Plotkin in 2011 by John Franco, the former New York Mets pitcher who was inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame in 2012.  John, a supporter of The Max Cure Foundation, is a member of its Circle of Ambassadors and told the producer how the story of young Max Plotkin and his battle with cancer was aligned with that of Jack, the youngster in the film battling cancer.  That led to Joe Avallone meeting with David Plotkin and learning that like Jack in the film, Max’s first symptoms of the disease resulted from playing baseball with his father outside his home.  As with Jack, Max bravely confronted the hurdles he had to overcome during the treatments to defeat the disease and happily, both Jack and Max are childhood cancer survivors, giving hope to those children who are afflicted with the disease and to their families.

It is anticipated that following the release of the movie in mid-June, 2014, there will be sales of the DVD. Such sales are expected to benefit various charities, most of which were identified by the actors in the film and by those whose images are portrayed in the movie.  Included in the charities to benefit from the sale and distribution of the DVD’s will be The Max Cure Foundation.  Stay tuned for more information as the release date approaches. It is anticipated that both David Plotkin and Max, together with the Yankees and the actors identified above, will be involved in promoting the film.  Indeed, Max was described by those involved with the film as “being the real life Jack.”   The movie is not only expected to be widely accepted by baseball fans, especially those of the New York Yankees, but also by the public generally, including those interested in childhood cancer issues, as they are moved by the bravery exhibited by Jack during his successful battle to overcome pediatric cancer.

“Creating Hope” For Pediatric Cancer Causes

On September 2011, Max Plotkin, age 8, a cancer survivor was invited by Congressman Michael McCaul, to address the Congressional Caucus on Pediatric Cancer symposium on Capitol Hill. In attendance were over 500 legislators, scientists, pediatric cancer advocates and foundations, industry representatives and others. The purpose for the Caucus was devoted to educating those in attendance about the then prospective Creating Hope Act. Young Max’s story inspired the audience so much he received a standing ovation.

max at caucus speaking with logoThrough the efforts of those in the Caucus, including Max Cure Vice Chairman, Richard Plotkin, who was identified by Congressman McCaul as one of those in the forefront of obtaining Congressional support for Creating Hope Act, President Obama signed Creating Hope Act into law in July, 2012.  Nancy Goodman of Kids v. Cancer Foundation, Inc., a non-profit corporation, not only played a significant role in the drafting of the legislation but also was instrumental in the efforts to pass Creating Hope Act.  Nancy’s involvement in pediatric cancer causes followed the diagnosis of her son, Jacob, with cancer that led to his untimely death on January 16, 2009, at the age of 10.

The Creating Hope Act is intended to create market incentives for drug development for children with cancer and other rare children’s diseases, most of which are life threatening.  Its passage was a pivotal moment in pediatric cancer drug development. The Creating Hope Act is needed due to the lack of effort by pharmaceutical companies to devote resources to drugs to treat pediatric cancers given the limited population of children diagnosed with this horrific disease.

13,500 children annually in the United States are diagnosed with more than 16 different forms of cancers, each of which requires different treatments. Children that survive are generally those that can be treated with drugs developed for adult cancers and “tweaked” to allow their use in children. According to Goodman:

“The challenges of pediatric cancer research are considerable. In the past 20 years, the FDA has initially approved only two drugs for pediatric cancer research. Moreover, while there are almost 900 drugs in the adult cancer pipeline, there have been, to date, almost no drugs in the pediatric cancer pipeline.”

Creating Hope ActThe Creating Hope Act was enacted into law with the hope that it would incentivize pharmaceutical companies to invest funds in developing drugs for children with cancer.  If they were successful in doing so, they would receive a voucher from the FDA that would allow them to receive preferential treatment in connection with the development of other drugs – use of a voucher would expedite the review process at the FDA which could be worth tens, if not hundreds, of millions of dollars to the holder of the voucher.

Nancy Goodman, having been the main proponent of the passage of the Creating Hope Act, did not stop there.  Once the act was passed, Nancy took the lead in seeking to get industry involved in taking advantage of the benefits that would accrue if a company were to develop a drug for pediatric cancers.

“I want to thank you for all your support for Kids v Cancer and for pediatric drug development. It has been a very exciting and successful time for us, and I appreciate all that you do to make it possible. Parenting Ben and Sarah and building Kids v Cancer have been wonderful ways for me to respond to Jacob’s death.” Nancy stated in a recent email.

The Creating Hope Act is already making a difference by accelerating pediatric cancer drug development. According to Goodman:

Drug companies and pediatric oncology researcher are beginning to file applications for Creating Hope Act designations, the initial step leading potentially to vouchers for their drugs. Designations are early signals that should the drugs be approved by the FDA, they would receive a Creating Hope Act voucher. The FDA is beginning to review and authorize Creating Hope Act designations and is preparing draft guidance on the Creating Hope Act. We are talking to investment bankers about making a market in Creating Hope Act vouchers to optimize the vouchers’ transferability. The pediatric cancer community in Europe is now advocating for a version of the Creating Hope Act to be implemented under European Union law.

The Max Cure Foundation is proud and honored to be affiliated with Nancy, Kids v Cancer, and all of the advocates supporting the advancement of pediatric cancer drug development. We will continue to update our readers as to new progressions for the cause but in the meantime, take a moment to follow us on Facebook, or click here to learn more about Kids v Cancer.  

cure pediatric cancer

Max Cure Friend Brightens Smiles on Christmas

Pediatric cancerRichard 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.

american girl dollThe presents, which were placed under the tree, included two gift certificates to American Girl Doll’s Manhattan store to allow Grace and Nikki to purchase two American Girl dolls, and outfits. The friend of MCF facilitated for Grace and Nikki the dream of many young girls to take their American Girl dolls to the retail store for the experience of a lifetime. Grace is anxious to be the “make – believe mother” of her special doll, who she will proudly name when she gets to the store, looking into her doll’s eyes with the love and emotion she will hopefully someday experience as a “real life” mother.

Nikki on the other hand will not be able to look into her doll’s eyes with the same expectations and hope. Nikki is blind and she has brain cancer. Indeed, no one knows what the year ahead will bring for Nikki or if she will ever experience the joy of motherhood that awaits Grace. Nikki for years has been battling this horrific disease that robbed her of her sight and continues to take her childhood, and potentially her future. Since May, 2012, this family has been part of the Max Cure Foundation Roar Beyond Barriers program in New York City which financially assists low income families battling childhood cancers.

The friend of MCF heard of the family’s situation and wanted to give the girls special Christmas gifts.  The family has received and continues to receive gift cards each month from MCF to be used at a local Target Store to purchase food and other necessities. The New York City program assists families being treated at NYU Cancer Institute, NYU Langone Medical Center, and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.  This program in New York City is supported by PNC Foundation with annual grants of $25,000, having been given to MCF since the launch of the program in 2011.  The Roar Beyond Barriers program currently assists over 40 low income and military families from around the country who are battling cancer in their children, with over 15 additional families having been part of the program since its inception. Of the 15 children in the latter families they have either gone into remission or passed away. 

Until last year, Grace and Nikki’s family lived in a basement apartment on Staten Island. Nikki, who is wheelchair bound had a very difficult time. Hence, they were forced to move into an apartment with wheelchair access.  Having a hard time finding a suitable apartment that would accommodate a wheelchair, this family called upon The Max Cure Foundation for advice and guidance.  Max Cure Foundation made a phone call to a prospective landlord, who, following that call entered into a lease with the family for their current apartment. When asked in an interview about what MCF means to them, the father replied, “We cannot thank MCF enough for everything they have done for us! The money I make goes towards bills. It is hard and so frustrating. We just barely make ends meet. I get paid bi-weekly, so that is extremely hard.  Again, thank you so much for everything.”

After visiting with the family over the holidays, Richard stated “I can truly say that my visit this past weekend with Nikki, Grace and their parents underscored for me the truism – It is better to give than to receive.”

Match a DunkThe Roar Beyond Barriers program has done remarkable things for these families and will continue to do so with your help! Donate today by “Matching a Dunk” online or you can mail your donation to:

The Max Cure Foundation
1350 Avenue of the Americas
2nd. Floor
New York, NY 10019

#DunkYourKicks and #RoarForACure

Pediatric Cancer | Significant Cycles or Stages

There are four significant cycles or stages in childhood cancer. The four cycles are: Healthy with no sign of cancer, Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment, then Survival, and back to Healthy. Notice that I did not use the term “cured.” “Cured” is not a term that is used much in the childhood cancer community.

max after treatmentEvery day, 36 children like Max (of Max Cure) randomly fall into the battle with cancer. For the most part, childhood cancer, unlike some adult cancers, is not preventable. No one has actually found the cause.  Many people chalk it up to a cell division lotto where a single cell divides incorrectly during the normal process of cell division that takes place millions and millions of times in a child every day. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) explains it this way, “Environmental causes of childhood cancer have long been suspected by many scientists but have been difficult to pin down, partly because cancer in children is rare and because it is difficult to identify past exposure levels in children, particularly during potentially important periods such as pregnancy or even prior to conception. In addition, each of the distinctive types of childhood cancers develops differently—with a potentially wide variety of causes and a unique clinical course in terms of age, race, gender, and many other factors.”

For each child diagnosed, all energies, efforts, and treatments are focused on beating the cancer and having that child survive. Let’s examine survival and what happens when a child is successful in fighting cancer.

Pediatric Cancer SurvivorshipWhen it comes to childhood cancer, and the treatment process, the truth is that not everyone gets to go home, most that do survive will never be completely healthy, and before it’s over, many families will suffer tremendous financial hardships. The average hospital bill for children with cancer is approximately $40,000 per day for each day of hospital confinement.

For the purposes of this conversation, let’s follow into the future an average group of 36 kids, ages 5 days old to 15 years, who were diagnosed today.  Thirty-six kids in the United States are diagnosed each and every day of the year. Using known statistics, we can look into their future for the next thirty years of their lives.

pediatric leukemiaTwelve to fourteen, one third of our 36 kids may be trying to survive a form of blood cancer. Leukemia is the one most people know about. The most common type of leukemia in children is acute lymphoblastic leukemia(ALL).  This type has the highest survival rate of about 90%. NCI defines it as, “an aggressive (fast-growing) type of leukemia (blood cancer) in which too many lymphoblasts (immature white blood cells) are found in the blood and bone marrow.” Lymphomas are another type of blood cancer. This type of blood cancer actually forms a tumor.  The most common is intermediate (aggressive) and high-grade lymphomas.  While they are fast growing, they respond the best to intensive chemotherapy.

Six to eight of our study group may have brain tumors.  The most common solid tumors are brain-tumors such as gliomas and medulloblastomas. Brain tumors are the most difficult to cure. Radiation to a child’s brain can significantly damage cognitive function, or if radiation is given at a very young age, it will limit their ability to read, do basic math, tell time or even talk.  DIPG which kills 99% of its mostly five to nine year old victims, will claim at least one of this group of 36. The average survival is only nine to ten months from diagnosis. Eight to ten children may have other solid tumors known as neuroblastomas  (attached to the nervous system), Wilms tumors (kidney), and sarcomas such as rhabdomyosarcoma (soft tissue, muscle), Ewings sarcoma, and osteosarcoma (bone) which is less common.

Most, if not all, of the 36 kids will receive some type of chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or surgery. You hear people talk about cutting, burning and poisoning our kids in order to try and save them. Parents don’t know what to do. Most feel so guilty using the only known cures available, but continue on in hopes that they will beat the odds.  Advances are being made to develop less toxic treatments to improve the long-term outcomes of children with cancer.  We need to advocate for more funds to be made available to bring fully researched and promising, but underfunded, therapies to clinical trials.  We also need to promote genomic sequencing research for the purpose of developing personalized treatment protocols (precision medicine) and in diagnostics for early detection.  Particularly in these economic times, we need to continue to let our lawmakers know the needs of our children.  Please consider writing your representatives.

A large number of children will require a Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT) and it has its own set of adversities with which survivors will have to live.  One problem with the BMT is that it may cause deafness depending on the age and circumstances of the treatment.  We have no other choice but to follow the best path our oncologist recommends.

What Might Survival Look Like?

survivalchartNow, that we have some idea of the make up of this group and what cancers they will encounter, it’s time to look at their futures.  Keep in mind that this is a daily group of US children we are watching, a new group, similar to this one, appears in hospitals in the US each and every day, 365 days a year. So what will happen to these children?

fivedieFive of our 36 children will die within a few months to within five years of diagnosis.  Some enter the hospital and never return.  They die from the cancer and/or from the treatment itself. Five more will die in 6 to 30 years.  Often, they develop a second type of cancer caused by the treatment they received with the first cancer. Sometimes the same cancer returns, but always with a vengeance.  It is estimated that children in the above two groups (10 to 13 children) lost 67 years of life each, compared to 16 years of life for breast cancer victims which is more publicized and much more highly funded.

sevensurviveSeven of the original 36 children will survive at least 30 years, but will suffer life-threatening or disabling chronic health problems. Heart transplant, cardiac arrest, kidney transplant, and cognitive deficit disorders are just a few of the many serious health problems in this group.

Nine will survive at least 30 years, but will suffer mild or moderate chronic health conditions. Infertility, asthma, immune deficiency disorders, vision problems, memory issues, fatigue, hearing loss, depression, and other moderate health issues will be affecting this group of survivors.

tensurvive1Only ten of the thirty-six will survive at least 30 years and will not suffer chronic health conditions. The average age of this group is only 38. Keep in mind that if a child was two years of age at the time of diagnosis, they would only be thirty two and would still have plenty of time for a chance of major health issues occurring that could be tied to their cancer treatment.

First of all, let me acknowledge that any parent of a child lost to cancer would consider all the rest of the childhood cancer survivors as being lucky compared to their unimaginable loss, and I would have to agree with them.  However, when you consider what each of the survivors goes through over their short lifetimes and the fact that they constantly live in the shadow of cancer’s return and will continue to do so for the rest of their lives, it is much too difficult for the writer to label any of them, or any other child affected by cancer, as being lucky or “cured.”

Author: Joe Baber

Joe is a retired retail executive whose Grandson battled high risk neuroblastoma and is currently a six year survivor. Joe is now an advocate for all children and families battling pediatric cancer in an effort to increase the awareness of cancer in children, adolescents and young adults.

The only way to change this is to find less toxic treatments for our children battling pediatric cancer, and ultimately find a cure for each of the 16 different types of pediatric cancer. Support the research needed to give our children a chance! Donate today!

Max Cure Supports Dr. Oren Becher’s DIPG Research

Oren BecherDuke Cancer Institute published an article in their Fall 2013 publication, written by Dave Hart, entitled “Cracking the Secrets of a Lethal Pediatric Tumor.” The article describes the advancements being made in the area of pediatric cancer.  Richard Plotkin, Vice Chairman of The Max Cure Foundation, does not agree with the overly optimistic views expressed in the article as to the successes of late in the area of pediatric cancer.  But that is not the purpose of this blog – to criticize the author’s discussions of these advances. Our intention is to drive awareness and understanding as to the tribulations we fight each day in the Roar for a Cure as The Max Cure Foundation has helped financially support Dr. Becher’s research advancements.

Although the survivorship rate for children with cancer is about 80% (surviving 5 years from the date of diagnosis), with about 20% dying within the five year period, the article does not state by removing one form of childhood leukemia (there are over 16 different forms of childhood cancers, one of which is leukemia), the survival rate is reduced to 65%.  Nor does the article address that the children that do survive the five years have a 10 times greater mortality rate due to liver and heart disease and to re-occurrence of the cancers, most of whom exhibit side-effects of varying degrees over their lifetimes. We are now learning that the children who do survive are more prone to premature aging according to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal. Further, the article does not address the lack of sufficient funding by the government (NIH AND NCI) for research in the area of drugs for pediatric cancers (less than 4 cents of every dollar of government funding for cancer research goes towards childhood cancer drugs) and the equally insufficient funding by private sources such as the American Cancer Society (3 cents of every dollar invested for research) for such research.

brain-stem-pediatric-lgThe cancer specifically referenced in Hart’s article is called Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma, more commonly known as DIPG, and has a much different outcome than that described in the article for pediatric cancer generally. DIPG is a tumor located in the pons (middle) of the brain stem. The brain stem is the bottom most portion of the brain, connecting the cerebrum with the spinal cord. The majority of brain stem tumors occur in the pons (middle brain stem), are diffusely infiltrating (they grow amidst the nerves), and therefore are not able to be surgically removed. Glioma is a general name for any tumor that arises from the supportive tissue called glia, which help keep the neurons (“thinking cells”) in place and functioning well. The brain stem contains all of the “wires” converging from the brain to the spinal cord as well as important structures involved in eye movements, face and throat muscle control and sensation.

Source: The American Brain Tumor Association. (PDF).

DIPG is usually diagnosed in children ranging from toddlers to pre-teens and are difficult to treat because the tumors grow around the normal cells in the brain. The unfortunate truth is that DIPG is generally (99.9%) fatal to the 200 to 300 children each year in this country who are diagnosed with this rare form of brain cancer. After reading the article Richard stated:

“When talking to my friends Greg and Jonathan, who lost their children to DIPG, and to my friend Tom, whose grandchild passed away from this form of brain cancer, or to my new friend, Joy, whose nephew is fighting this disease, I dare not “trumpet” the alleged successes of pediatric cancer research as an indication that scientists and industry are doing great things and making great advances in an effort to find cures for childhood cancers generally.  I do, however, every chance I get, highlight the efforts of Oren Becher, MD, of Duke University Medical Center, Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, for his tireless efforts to not only find a cure for DIPG, but also for his willingness to spend countless hours with parents whose children are diagnosed with the disease.”

The Max Cure Foundation is proud of the fact that it has supported the research of Dr. Becher over the last three years by donating over those years the aggregate sum of $42,000.  It hopes to continue to be able to assist Dr. Becher as he leads the charge in this country to find a cure to what is considered to be, for all intents and purposes, an incurable form of cancer striking the most innocent among us, our children.

You can help support our Roar for a Cure by donating to The Max Cure Foundation today! If you want to donate to Dr. Becher’s efforts to find a cure for DIPG, indicate that in your submission to the Foundation. Just follow this link to make a donation online or you can mail a check to:

The Max Cure Foundation
1350 Avenue of the Americas
2nd. Floor
New York, NY 10019

Your JetBlue Miles Could Help Save a Child’s Life…

Max Cure Foundation has partnered with Kula Causes the world’s largest platform for online charitable giving.  Kula’s goal is to help nonprofits connect with people from around the globe.  This partnership allows our donors an easy way to give to Max Cure Foundation during the holiday season and all year.

To Donate:

Go to the Max Cure Foundation page on by clicking here, fill out a brief profile and make your donation today.

Are you a member of JetBlue’s TrueBlue program?

By turning your TrueBlue points into dollars you can donate to the Max Cure Foundation.  Click here, log-in to your TrueBlue account and donate using your points.

Tax receipts are automatically generated and stored in your profile and are available to print and provide to your tax accountant.  Make your donation on or before December 31, to receive benefit for 2013.


Meet Mia | She Helped Inspire Roar Beyond Barriers

Pediatric Cancer

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.

Mia Troquille

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.

Mia2It 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.

Mia Troquille_in treatment (3)

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.

Mia Troquille after treatment

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

Gabriella Miller Inspires a Movement

Gabriella MillerGabriella Miller was a little girl who made a big impact on the world. Unfortunately it took her death to get people to stop talking, and start taking action. Gabriella was only 9 when she was diagnosed with brain cancer and was told she had a tumor the size of a walnut in her head. Over the next year she went from a normal little girl, to the leader of a movement.

At such a young age, Gabriella’s mission became raising awareness to the fact that less than 4% of all federal cancer research funds go towards pediatric cancer research. Her video and message “Do whatever you want with this, but I have to say it  . . . Talking is B— S—, we need actions!” went viral before she lost her battle to cancer, but it was truly the loss of her life that made a ripple in time.

Shortly after hearing Gabriella’s no-nonsense message, Congressman Harper (a parent of a child with Fragile X Syndrome and Sponsor of the Kids First Research Act) and House of Representatives Majority Leader Eric Cantor (a Co-Sponsor of HR1553 Carolina Pryce Walker Conquer Childhood Cancer Act of 2008) named HR2019 Kids First Research Act after Gabriella.

The Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act of 2013 would re-designate the Presidential Campaign Election Fund as a 10-Year Pediatric Research Initiative Fund. More than $12 Million per year for 10 years will supplement (not supplant) funds otherwise allocated by NIH for pediatric medical research. The Presidential Campaign Election Fund has not been accessed by a presidential candidate in recent elections.

On December 11, 2013 in a 295-103 vote, The Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act passed the House and is on its way to the Senate for approval.

HR 2019 votesIn order to enact this Bill into law, it must be passed through the Senate and then signed by the President. Although the battle is far from over, we are happy to say we are at least taking a step in the right direction.

As we learn more we will update our readers, but until then, you can learn more about H.R. 2019 by clicking here.

Local Boxer Steps in the Ring to Help Knockout Pediatric Cancer

Louis LaValle Raises Thousands  for The Max Cure Foundation

Louis LaValle Taking the Fight(NEW YORK) — Louis LaValle fought his first bout on November 14, 2013 and delivered more than just punches. The event raised more than $10,000 that will be donated to The Max Cure Foundation (MCF).  MCF funds the development of less toxic treatments for children battling cancer and provides low-income and military families  battling pediatric cancer emotional and financial support. They seek to inspire children with the disease to confront it with courage and bravery. The boxing match was organized by Haymakers for Hope. Since 2011, Haymakers for Hope has organized competitive boxing events to raise awareness and funds for cancer research.

“I’ve always wanted to box but made excuses….until now,” said LaValle. “This was my first match. I volunteered my time to battle it out in the ring so hopefully one day someone else doesn’t have to.”

The money will go to The Max Cure Fund at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center to fund a T- Cell Therapy Lab dedicated to alternative treatments and innovative research for children and young adults battling cancer. MCF has given $845,000 towards this project, which has shown great results in children and young adults battling lymphoma, and leukemia.

“These children are fighting a battle every day,” said Chairman of The Max Cure Foundation, David Plotkin. “We cannot thank Louis enough for selecting us as the charity to benefit from the event.”

For more information on The Max Cure Foundation visit or find them on Facebook at

Haymakers for Hope is an official 501(c)(3) charity organization that began in the fall of 2009, and was co-founded by Andrew Myerson and Julie Anne Kelly (cancer survivor) during their training for the New York City Golden Gloves.  Since 2011, Haymakers for Hope has organized a competitive boxing event to raise awareness and funds for cancer research.  In less than two years Haymakers for Hope has raised over $1 million dollars (and counting) for various cancer related hospitals and research facilities. Not every fight ends at the bell!

The Max Cure Foundation The Max Cure Foundation (MCF) is a 501(c)(3) public charity dedicated to advancing cures for pediatric cancers, funding the development of less toxic treatments for children, including the funding of an immune cell therapy lab at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center dedicated to alternative treatments for children battling the disease. MCF provides low-income and military families who are battling pediatric cancer emotional and financial support, while seeking to inspire children with the disease to confront it with courage and bravery.

Dunk Your Kicks Special Forces Team | The Boudin Family

Boudin Family

Max Cure Foundation met the Boudin family on Twitter when we saw Emma at camp donating her sneakers. The conversation started and the support we have received from this family has been tremendous! Today we pay tribute to the Boudin family for their heroism in taking a stand against pediatric cancer!

“Never a dull moment with The Boudin Family; life in our house is always interesting.” 13 year old daughter Emma, is artsy and creative. She looks at the world with a unique perspective and loves to make people laugh. Emma is a serious vocalist who just had her recording debut in June! Jesse is 12 years old and is a leader and communicator. He enjoys getting to know people. Jesse was born to be a rockstar drummer; his drumsticks are always in hand ready to jam. Together this family embraces living life to the fullest.

The Boudin’s believe in the philosophy “the power of one”… teaching their children that all it takes is one person to make a difference in the world. They talk about importance of philanthropy, random acts of kindness, karma, and giving back to the community. Jen Boudin, the children’s Mother, told Max Cure, “When Emma, learned of the Max Cure Foundation she grabbed a pair of old kicks before she ran off to camp and dunked them!” Through a series of tweets, including a link to Emma and her music and a picture of her “DUNKING HER KICKS,” the Boudin family became Dunk Your Kicks ambassadors! Jen states her immediate feeling about the campaign was, “What a fabulous way for our community to come together!”

bag of kicksDunk Your Kicks, is a concrete, tangible way for our students and families to raise funds with no selling, to save the lives of children, the lives of the sneakers, and some of the life of our planet!  With the children merging back into our lives after sleep-away camp, and back to school shopping around the corner, Jen approached the owners of Tyler Hill Camp, with a positive and productive way to get rid of those muddy, post-camp sneakers, and the sneakers that our children have grown out of. THC jumped on the Max Cure bandwagon…. (thanks Wendy and Andy!)”

Boudin Kids With Logo“We have raised awareness about their program and brought Dunk Your Kicks to many locations like: our camp Tyler Hill, our neighborhood in Melville, and our middle school. For at least 4 weeks we had a bucket full of sneakers on my front porch. I believe we helped collect at least 750 pairs of sneakers. Our Mitzvah, and act of tzedukah, is understanding that giving back, is not a one time deal, it’s a lifetime commitment. Tikkun Olam is a philosophy that represents my household. To repair the world… that is what Tikkun Olam means. Being a Good Jew, really means being a good person. We don’t have to just give to one cause. A random act of kindness, in any form that makes you feel fulfilled, can change someone’s life. When you feel called to action, follow your heart. Many people dedicate themselves to one project, but my family and I feel that in order to repair the world you, it’s important to spread the love wherever it is needed.” – Emma Boudin

Max Cure Foundation Humbled For The Holidays

The Max Cure Foundation is honored to have been  chosen by  EHE International  to be featured in their window display at 10 Rockefeller Center at The Today Show Plaza for the month of December.  We hope that you have a chance to visit the window, which has our very own Lion Max Mascot sitting on his throne. It is just steps away from the Christmas Tree too. There is a highlight reel of past events being played on the screen, so if you attended any of our events over the years, you just may see yourself.  Please stop by,  take a picture and share it with us on Facebook! The picture below is of Kim, a 13-year-old girl who is fighting this battle.

Pediatric Cancer

This December marks The Max Cure Foundation’s 5th year anniversary. We started the foundation in December 2008 for the purpose of advancing cures and treatments for pediatric cancers.  In 2011, we started a program called Roar Beyond Barriers, which lends financial and emotional assistance to low-income and military families who have a child in active treatment.

In June 2007, following my son Max’s diagnosis of cancer, our family formed the Max Cure Fund at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) for the purpose of underwriting  an immune cell therapy laboratory dedicated to treating children and young adults who did not respond to standard chemotherapy and radiation treatments.   In December 2008, the Plotkin family formed the Max Cure Foundation, Inc., a 501(c) (3) non-profit (MCF). MCF is registered in all states that require such registration. The mission of MCF is to advance cures for pediatric cancers, fund the development of less toxic treatments for children, including the continued funding of the immune cell therapy laboratory at MSKCC.  Through its Roar Beyond Barriers program, MCF provides emotional and financial support to both low-income and military families who are battling pediatric cancers, while at the same time inspiring children with the disease to confront it with courage and bravery.

To date, over $1.1 million has been donated to research (the Fund at MSKCC has received $845,000).  As of 6 months ago, of the 78 children and young adults who have been treated at the lab, 65% are either in remission or have shown signs of tumor regression. This new t-cell therapy treatment, which is being spearheaded by Dr. Richard O’Reilly, the Chair of the Department of Pediatrics at MSKCC, has been limited to leukemia and lymphoma patients, but recently has shown signs that it may impact a form of brain cancer affecting children. MSKCC has created a t-cell bank which it shares with other hospitals. In addition, MCF has contributed $150,000 to Dr. Irwin Van Meir, researcher at Emory University in Atlanta seeking to find a cure for Ewing sarcoma (a rare form of cancer striking children and young adults) as part of two $100,000 collaborative grants with The Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation (SWCRF).  MCF has also donated $42,000 to Dr. Oren Becher at Duke University Medical Center seeking to find a cure for what is currently an incurable brain cancer afflicting children (DIPG).  Other donations have likewise been made in the area of research.  It has also committed to contribute $75,000 to the 2013 – 2014 collaborative grant with SWCRF to two scientists (one at Northwestern University and one at University of Tel Aviv) seeking to find a cure for a rare form of leukemia that strikes children, primarily those with Down Syndrome.

MCF currently has 51 families in its Roar Beyond Barriers program (RBB) who are located in 10 different States, including New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.  There were 12 additional families assisted who were part of the program but are no longer involved. Five children passed away and seven completed treatment and are thankfully in remission. These families, when the child is in active treatment for cancer, are given gift cards from Target Stores each month, ranging between $100 and $500 for necessities such as food and clothing.  It is anticipated that 9 families will be added by year-end 2013 from 3 additional states, bringing the total number of families with children in active treatment for cancer in the Roar Beyond Barriers program to 60.  We are assured by the families of children fighting this disease and the leaders at the cancer hospitals in each state that this program is resulting in an improved quality of life for these families.

MCF also offers assistance to families within the RBB program with funeral related expenses if their child passes away from the disease. Of the 63 families in the RBB program, there have been five deaths, the last of which occurred three months ago of a 12-year-old boy from Brooklyn. The family signed contracts on the day the boy died with the funeral home ($2,750) and cemetery ($5,395) totaling $8,145. The family had little money – the mother did not speak English and did not work. The father was disabled and wheelchair bound. There are three other children. MCF was told by the cemetery that if it did not receive a bank check for the full amount, the hearse would be turned away. Through the effort of MCF and its supporters, MCF raised the necessary funds to cover the expenses of the funeral and more, allowing us to give the family extra monies in their time of mourning.

Two years ago, MCF established a program known as Dunk Your Kicks where MCF collects used sneakers from various sources that are ultimately sold to exporters and distributors as part of the Affordable Footwear Market to emerging market countries.  The monies received by MCF relative to the sale of these sneakers allows MCF to contribute to its Roar Beyond Barriers program in the locale where the Dunk Your Kicks event is held.  In addition to benefiting pediatric cancer (through this family assistance initiative), these sneakers are kept out of landfills, the “resting place” annually for upwards of 200 million pair of sneakers.

MCF became an active member of the Congressional Caucus on Pediatric Cancer, which has expanded MCF’s reach and caused it to face, head on, the dramatic needs of pediatric cancers and how it is the most underfunded of all cancers, not only from the Government, but also from private donations. Through the efforts of the Caucus, the Creating Hope Act (the Act) was signed into law by President Obama in July 2012. MCF is proud to have played a significant role in garnering legislative support needed to pass this very important legislation. As to the latter, in addition to an email campaign, we had meetings on Capitol Hill with New Jersey congressmen and with the Chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Fred Upton, whose support was needed to have the Act added as an amendment to a law that was to be renewed by September 30, 2012. At age 8 Max spoke on Capitol Hill in 2011 as a cancer survivor in support of the passage of the Act, receiving a standing ovation from the audience of over 500 persons, consisting of legislators, scientists, heads of pediatric cancer foundations and industry representatives. The Act incentivizes pharmaceutical companies to invest in drugs to cure and/or treat pediatric cancers among other rare childhood diseases.

Today Max is ten years old and is considered a 6 year cancer survivor.  He continues to be monitored by his doctors at MSKCC. We pray that the cancer never comes back, and that the treatment does not cause any long-term side effects. He has many friends and plays basketball, football, and baseball for the town. He has become an avid reader as well.

Although, The Max Cure Foundation is still considered a new organization, we continue to grow and spread our message daily, trying our best to inspire others while  raising awareness for this terrible disease that affects the most innocent among us; our children.  Being given the window in Rockefeller Center for December, is an example of how our Roar is touching the hearts of others, and we are making a difference. We are humbled by this honor.

Please help us continue to Roar For a Cure this holiday season by making a donation to The Max Cure Foundation. You may make a tax-deductible contribution by mailing us a check, payable to The Max Cure Foundation at our new address below, or please visit and donate on line.  Thank you and have wonderful holiday season.

Pediatric cancer

Very Truly Yours,

David Plotkin
Chairman/ Co-Founder
The Max Cure Foundation

Max Cure Foundation Brings Dunk Your Kicks to Arizona

Phoenix Arizona – Arizona families battling pediatric cancer just received a helping hand.
The Max Cure Foundation, a national non-profit organization dedicated to eradicating pediatric cancer, recently brought its Dunk Your Kicks program to the desert. Dunk Your Kicks is a unique fundraising initiative that asks people to donate their used sneakers in lieu of money. The used sneakers are refurbished and then sold in developing nations as affordable footwear. A substantial portion of the monies MCF receives by the sale of these “kicks”, goes towards it’s mission, which includes assisting local low income families and military families who have a child battling cancer.

Pediatric CancerThis was Max Cure’s first campaign in Arizona, and the community response was overwhelming. The Phoenix Children’s Hospital helped to identify two families that could use the additional support. Buddy is 5 years old and suffers from Medulloblastom, a high grade brain tumor. Buddy was diagnosed in 2011 at the age of 3, and has undergone surgery and several rounds of treatment in an attempt to remove the cancer. Maurice, age 9, also suffers from a Fibrillary Astrocytoma brain tumor, along with Nf1, a hereditary disease that causes tumors along the nervous system. Both children come from single parent homes with other siblings. MCF is currently working on securing a third family for the Arizona campaign.

Several Arizona businesses joined in the effort donating time and space to help set up and host Dunk Your Kicks Collection Bins. Arizona businesses that helped with the cause include; Audio Express, Fidelity National Title, Fix 24 Chiropractic, Southwest Women’s Care, Firehouse Tempe, and Cactus Sports. We received local media support from Speak of the Devils Podcast,, The Phoenix New Times, the SanTan Sun News, Fox 10 News and NBC Channel 12.

Dunk Your KicksArizona State University also jumped at the chance to help local children and their families fighting cancer. The Sun Devil Club, Arizona State’s booster organization partnered with the Max Cure Foundation to help spread the word about the Dunk Your Kicks campaign throughout the Sun Devil community of nearly 76,000 students and over 360,000 alumni. Additionally the Sun Devil Club hosted the Max Cure Foundation at the annual Territorial Cup football game between the Arizona State Sun Devils and their rival, the Arizona Wildcats. Donation booths were set up at both entrances to Sun Devil stadium and volunteers collected sneakers throughout the game.

“The support from ASU and the entire Arizona community was amazing,” said David Plotkin, founder of the Max Cure Foundation. “This was our first experience in Arizona, and thanks to the effort and involvement of the community I can confidently say it won’t be our last.”

The Dunk Your Kicks Arizona campaign ran from October to December. If you didn’t have the chance to donate your gently used sneakers during the campaign but would still like to make a difference, you can donate online at the website by selecting the “Match a Dunk” option. Your donation will go to help support local families in your area and help the Max Cure Foundation come one step closer to a cure. Helps Raise Awareness for Dunk Your Kicks Az Campaign

Max Cure Foundation’s Dunk Your Kicks campaign has taken on a life of it’s own thanks to the amazing community support in Arizona. Our efforts have been supported by local businesses, churches, schools, Honors clubs, and the media! We have to admit that we are awe inspired by your response!

Pediatric CancerOn Saturday, November 23, 2013, the phenomenal team at aired a segment about Buddy, on of the children in our Roar Beyond Barriers Arizona program. Learn more about one of the families this campaign will support and how your used sneakers can help! Please share this segment with your friends and family! Help us raise awareness for our big push at the ASU v. UA football game on November 30th!

Arizona Family With Pediatric Cancer Get’s Local Support

Pediatric Cancer

Max Cure’s Erica Bailey spending some quality time with Buddy before his big interview.

The Max Cure Foundation would like to extend a Roaring Thank You to for coming out to Phoenix Children’s Hospital today and interviewing our newest Roar Beyond Barriers family! Buddy, his Mother, Delilah, and representatives of both Max Cure and Phoenix Children’s Hospital spent some quality time today sharing Buddy’s story which should air on November 16th at 11:00 on Channel 7.

At first Buddy was unhappy that he was not going to school and had to come to the clinic instead! All it took was a smile, and magically pulling an iPad out of my purse to bring Buddy’s true loving character to the surface. I was welcomed with a hug and smile that could melt anyone’s heart. Buddy is an amazing 5 year old boy with Medulloblastoma, which is a high grade brain tumor. Buddy was diagnosed in December of 2011 when he was only three years old. Despite a surgical resection and a high dose chemotherapy regimen, Buddy’s disease progressed. During his treatment, Buddy spent almost a full year as an inpatient at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. Buddy is supported by his loving single Mother and his 10-year-old sister. He loves Ninja Turtles, Hungry Hungry Hippos, Dora the Explorer and the PBS channel. His favorite thing to do is go to school. He loves learning. Buddy is a kind child with so much love to offer this world!

Pediatric Cancer

Delilah and Buddy during their interview with

Delilah’s stories are both heart breaking and inspirational. She shared with us today that every five weeks she has to fight to get her son’s life saving medication paid for by AHCCCS as it is even a battle to get the medications she needs to fight for her son’s life. Delilah also shared with us, that for three months prior to Buddy’s diagnosis, she told the pediatrician there was something wrong with her son. He slept so long she didn’t think he would ever wake up. He was throwing up constantly even though he was not eating, he lost 13 pounds over that time frame. Buddy even lost his ability to walk and his Mother was told not to worry. Finally, when he complained about a headache she rushed him to Phoenix Children’s Hospital and he was in surgery hours later. The two of them spent nearly the next year inpatient, and Buddy literally had to fight for his life.

When Delilah talks about how she never left her son’s side except on the first of the month to pay bills and get groceries, you can see how exhausting this ordeal has been. You can hear the pain in her voice when she talks about the sleepless nights, listening to her son cry in pain, knowing there was nothing she can do. You can also see her strength and ambition to keep her son alive. Her dedication to his healing is apparent in every action she takes. Both Buddy and Delilah are an inspiration and we are fortunate to have met them!

Sneakers are being collected at Fix24 Scottsdale Chiropractic and all Arizona Audio Express locations through November 22nd and we will be announcing another collection location shortly.

Arizona Child with Cancer Gets Support From Max Cure

Pediatric CancerToday, representatives of The Max Cure Foundation had the honor of spending some time with Maurice and his Mother, Amber, at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. Maurice is a 9-year-old boy with Nf1 (a hereditary disease) and a Fibrillary Astrocytoma Brain Tumor.  He was diagnosed in November, 2011 and has been in treatment since that time. Maurice has had two brain surgeries (surgical resection) and 30 treatments of radiation. He is on round two of chemotherapy and He currently comes to clinic twice every month for treatment.

Maurice loves football and his favorite team is the Pittsburgh Steelers. His told us all about playing flag football and how much he loves playing offence, because, and I quote “so we can score!” His face lights up when he talks about football and his PS3, and you can see the true innocence in his eyes which makes his battle so much more difficult to watch.

We talked with Maurice and his Mother, Amber, during his chemotherapy treatment. Amber informed us that Maurice receives two hours of fluids before his two hours of chemo, and then another two hours of fluids. He has to sit there all day, and even though the clinic at Phoenix Children’s Hospital is a beautiful place, there is not much that entertains a 9-year-old boy other than video games and playing outside! When we asked Maurice how he feels after his treatment, you could feel the pain in his silence as he hung his head and shrugged. Anyone could see that Maurice was trying so hard to be strong, but the harsh treatments are excruciating on his little body.

The struggles are far from over for Maurice, Amber and their family but they are strong, and we have no doubt they will continue to fight this disease.

Maurice’s Message

Maurice Invites You to Dunk Your Kicks!

Dunk Your Kicks | What Your Kids Learned At Camp This Year

Camp Runoia

We want to give a #Roaring Thank You to Maine Camp Experience for taking our Dunk Your Kicks program to an entirely new level this year! We had some amazing support both with the number of sneakers The Max Cure Foundation received from the many camps at Maine Camp Experience. Although collecting sneakers was the objective, we did not expect to get the response we did after camp with families from coast to coast showing interest in bringing Dunk Your Kicks to their community. We feel as though we sent the campers home with some valuable life lessons. You can click here to read the full article:

Why Pediatric Cancer is So Underfunded. Max Cure & Devin T. Thorpe Tell it Like it Is.

Forbes contributor, Devin T. Thorpe, The Social Entrepreneur, invited Max Cure Chairman David & Richard Plotkin to discuss the serious concerns surrounding pediatric cancer. In this interview you will learn a little about the history behind The Max Cure Foundation and what inspired the Plotkin family to take the fight to pediatric cancer.

See the full article written by Devin here:

Scottsdale Chiropractor Supports Local Children Battling Pediatric Cancer

Dr Robb Dunk Your Kicks

Gonstead Chiropractor, Dr. Michael Robb of Fix24, Brings Dunk Your Kicks to Scottsdale.

Dr. Michael Robb and the team at Fix24 Scottsdale Chiropractic was informed about the Dunk Your Kicks Arizona campaign and within a matter of minutes decided to take a stand against pediatric cancer, one Dunk at a time! Today, local kids visited the Fix 24 clinic to set up the collection box and share their understanding of pediatric cancer, and the impact this fundraiser will have on other local children.

Fix 24 Scottsdale Chiropractic will be collecting slightly used sneakers and athletic shoes from October 1, 2013 through November 22, 2013. For every pair collected, an average of $1 will go towards supporting local low-income and military families battling pediatric cancer through Max Cure Foundation’s Roar Beyond Barriers program.

The goal for the Arizona Dunk Your Kicks campaign is to collect 20,000 pairs of sneakers so make sure to clean out your closets and stop by Fix 24! Dr. Robb’s clinic is located conveniently off Scottsdale & the 101 at 7000 East Mayo Blvd, Suite 1058, Phoenix,AZ 85054. You can also call 480.419.1500 for special offers and office hours.

Please follow this link If you would like to learn more about The Max Cure Foundation, or if you would like to start a Dunk Your Kicks collection for the Arizona campaign, click here

Az Kids Use Fall Break to Kick Start Pediatric Cancer Fundraiser

Kids at Audio Express

Ty (12), Angelisa (11), & Jayden (5) Bring Dunk Your Kicks to Audio Express.

The Max Cure Foundation’s Dunk Your Kicks Campaign is spreading across the country fast and furiously paving the way for future philanthropists of all ages  to take a stand against pediatric cancer, and make a difference in the lives of those living with the disease.This campaign is fun, exciting and  requires dedicated people, willing to be our feet on the ground, or as we call them, our “Special Forces” team. When Max Cure Foundation decided to bring Dunk Your Kicks to Arizona, we had a very unique Special Forces team volunteer to take charge. Three elementary children from Chandler decided to use their first week of fall break to take a stand up against pediatric cancer, one Arizona business at a time.

“I liked the idea of my children becoming Future Philanthropists of America” said the boys’ Mother, “but most of all I liked that they were able to do something for the local community that didn’t require asking people for money. Times are tough right now, it is hard to give when you barely have enough for yourself, but with the Dunk Your Kicks campaign, people don’t have to empty their wallets, just their closets. I mean, everyone has a pair of old sneakers lying around!” The three kids, ages 12, 11 and 5, along with their parents, traveled from Gilbert to Glendale to Tucson, delivering boxes to 10 different Audio Express locations, Fix24 Scottsdale Chiropractic, and Fidelity National Title. In fact, it is because of Angelisa, that Fidelity National Title got involved in the Arizona Dunk Your Kicks campaign. Angelisa’s Mother, Serena, is an employee at Fidelity National, and heard about the program from her daughter. It did not take her much to inspire the management team and within hours they decided to start their own collection.

Serena and Angelisa

Daughter & Mother Take a Stand Against Pediatric Cancer Together, One Dunk at a Time.

When asked why she was so enthusiastic about getting her work involved, and supporting her daughter’s philanthropic ambition, she responded “I am fortunate to have a healthy child, but pediatric cancer does not discriminate. We need to give back to those affected and promote research in treatment and advances in prevention. I want to teach my daughter how important it is to save the future of our planet. Our children are our future.”

A representative from The Max Cure Foundation will be visiting Arizona early next week, as he visits with local hospitals to identify the families who will be supported through our Roar Beyond Barriers program. The Dunk Your Kicks collection will be taking place at participating locations starting October 1, 2013 through November 22, 2013. We are still looking for businesses, schools, churches or camps to help support our goal to raise 20,000 pairs of sneakers, which equates to around $20,000 for Roar Beyond Barriers Arizona. You can make a difference! Drop off your used sneakers at a participating location, or call 646-599-9218 to learn how you can make a monetary donation.

If you would like to donate, please click here to get a list of participating collection locations. If you are interested in supporting the Dunk Your Kicks Arizona campaign, follow this link to become a donation location, or click here to “Match a Dunk” online.

Meet Ava

The following story is courtesy of Ava’s family:

Ava with a hatAva has always been a healthy little girl & then during Christmas break of Pre-K she started having some pain in her right ankle, then the next week it was her left wrist, we took her to St David’s ER and they called it “growing pains” and advised us to follow up with her pediatrician.  The following day we saw the pediatrician and she referred us to an Infectious Disease doctor because she believed she may have “Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis” based on the migrating joint pain she’d been experiencing.  We followed up with the Infectious Disease doctor the next day & she ordered labs, x-rays of Ava’s wrists and TB testing.  I received a call from her a few days later stating she wanted a MRI of Ava’s right wrist because she saw a possible defect in the bone; the MRI was scheduled for the following week, in the meantime Ava started using her hand again & was running around as normal, then that Sunday, January 13, 2013 she woke up screaming & crying in pain, she was unable to stand or walk, and her knees were swelling.  I was scared and in a panic so we made the trip to the Dell Children’s ER; she endured many exams/test during this week (labs, x-rays, MRIs, fluid extraction, bone marrow biopsy & aspiration).  Ava was diagnosed with ALL (Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia) January 18, 2013 & the doctors moved quickly the next morning, January 19, 2013 she was taken into surgery to place her PORT, perform a spinal tap to determine if the leukemic cells had made it to her Central Nervous System (they were negative), perform another bone marrow aspiration and she received her 1st round of intrathecal (spinal) chemo.  The following week Tuesday, January 22, 2013 she received her 2nd round of chemo in the form of a 2hr infusion.  Ava was discharged from Dell Children’s Hospital on Friday, January 25, 2013 and scheduled to return for chemotherapy at her Pediatric Oncologist office according to her treatment plan.

Ava’s treatment plan has consisted of weekly intrathecal (spinal) chemo, IV infusions, multiple chemotherapy drugs being pushed through her PORT and taking 6 oral medications 2 times a day at home.

She started her 6th cycle of chemotherapy (Interim Maintenance 2) on July 22nd, which has consisted of intrathecal (spinal) chemo on day 1 & 30 and Methotrexate & Vincristine pushes in her PORT every 10 days for the past month.  According to her treatment plan Ava should complete weekly chemo visits by mid-September and has been encouraged to return to school for Kindergarten!  She will begin Maintenance which consists of office visits every 2 weeks, Vincristine push 1x month, Oral Methotrexate 1x week, 6MP pill everyday, Intrathecal (spinal) chemo every 3 months & Bone Marrow Aspirations every other month until she has reached her treatment completion date of March 2015 (treatment for a female child with ALL is a total of 2 years & 2 months)!! REMISSION!!!

Ava in pinkThe emotion that came over us when Ava was diagnosed was a mixture of shock, fright, devastation, and excruciating pain; I believe this is one of the worst things a parent could ever hear.  We were of course grateful that they kept digging and found a diagnosis, just not the one we wanted to hear.  Ava’s father & I sat in the hospital room and cried our hearts out for hours & then built up the strength to call my parents & sisters to come to the hospital and bring Ava’s older sister, Arianna.  Then the medical team explained everything to them & began going over Ava’s plan for treatment, things were happening fast and seemed like a blur, but we ran with the motions and it has become our new normal.  This has definitely been a life altering situation, our family has been put through the ringer in the last 7months, we’ve overcome major obstacles, and continue to push through each day hoping for the best.  I had to quit my job upon Ava’s diagnosis in January to become her full time caregiver.  At the time she had insurance through her father’s employer, but things became hard rather quickly as we’ve been living solely off of child support, we’ve had to downsize our home and Ava’s father lost his job in May, which meant Ava lost her insurance and we became Self Pay.

The 1st 2 months were definitely the worst as Ava was very weak, losing weight, unable to walk and just wasn’t herself.  As her mom it was extremely hard watching her go through this & I would lay there at night and cry and just pray for my baby to get her strength back & just run around and act herself.  We spent many nights in the hospital, it became our 2nd home, luckily that streak ended around March and Ava started walking, eating and acting like a typical 5yr old, it has been the greatest joy!ava and her family

Amos Ryan and Coach Petrie Reunite

amos ryan and coach petrieAmos Ryan, a former high school and collegiate basketball star from Union Island who is now a New York City police officer, and the Father of a child who battled pediatric cancer, was awarded the Max Cure Foundation’s Roar Beyond Barriers Award on August 28th. He was honored with this award by none other than his former coach and legend, Ed Petrie. See the full article by the East Hampton Star here:  Continue reading

Meet Nicholas

Nicholas Portugal for FBThe Portugals’ dreams turned into a nightmare on December 12, 2012, when Nicholas was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL).  He has been treated at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan, among the premier cancer centers in the world. Nicholas is cared for by his Mother and Father and has two other siblings. His Mother is providing full-time care for his needs, while his Father works 90 hours a week to keep food on the table. Pediatric cancer does not discriminate. The incredible stress that a family has to go through, between the fear of loss, the medical care, the creditors, and so much more, is tremendous. This family is being beaten up by cancer, but they are fighting back!

13 Reasons to Dunk Your Kicks

Max Cure KidsThere are 200,000 preventable deaths from cancer in this country every year, which Max Cure Foundation (sometimes referred to as MCF) speculates includes a disproportionate number of children from low-income families. These families battling cancer in their children are generally in need of financial assistance.  Each year 13,500 children (19 and under) in the United States are diagnosed with cancer.  At any one time, there are approximately 40,000 children in this country in active treatment for the disease.  Twenty percent of those diagnosed each year will die within five years of diagnosis, with those surviving the five year period having a ten times greater mortality rate due to heart and liver disease and due to re-occurrence of the cancer. There are about 350,000 pediatric cancer survivors in the United States. Children with cancer are typically treated with adult drugs in that the number of cancer drugs developed for children is limited. In fact, there are many forms of pediatric cancers where no drugs are currently available given the lack of resources being spent to develop such drugs.  Cancer is the leading cause of death from disease among children in this country. Pediatric cancer is the most underfunded of all cancers and is in dire need of funds to assist in the development of less toxic drugs for children with cancer (which would increase the survival rate of those children who survive the five year period) and indeed, to fund research into cures for pediatric cancers.

The mission of Max Cure Foundation is to advance cures for pediatric cancers, fund the development of less toxic treatments for children, including the funding of an immune cell therapy laboratory at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center dedicated to alternative treatments for children battling the disease.  MCF also provides emotional and financial support to both low-income families and military families who are battling pediatric cancers, while at the same time inspiring children with the disease to confront it with courage and bravery.

DYK sneakers for pediatric cancerIt is estimated that 200 million pairs of athletic shoes (Sneakers) are discarded in landfills in this country each year.  The impact on the environment from the chemical breakdown of the Sneakers in the landfill over the years is significant.  Sneakers consist of about 80% petroleum products, including adhesives and other by – products of petroleum.  Scientists have opined that the Sneakers in the landfill will begin to break down into its chemical components after fifty years.  Benzene and certain other of the chemical components have been identified as carcinogens. These chemicals inevitably find their way into ground water, the soil and the atmosphere.

Whitehouse & Schapiro, LLC, (W & S), a family owned business with roots in the recycling business back to 1907, whose principal office is located in Baltimore, Maryland, has established a distribution chain through distributors and exporters to sell the Sneakers to merchants in developing countries/emerging markets who, in turn, sell the Sneakers in bazaars and flea markets in those countries as part of the Affordable Clothing Market, creating thousands of jobs and allowing those in need of footwear to purchase the Sneakers at affordable prices. W & S is thus a significant economic stimulas for developing countries through investment, market creation and distribution of recycled affordable footwear. The markets primarily serviced by W & S include, but are not limited to, Africa, Caribbean, Central America, Middle East and South America. The owner of a clothing business in New York had described W & S  as “the Tiffany’s of the used clothing industry.”  That description applies with equal force to its recycling of Sneakers.

kids walking barefootBy providing Sneakers to those in developing nations, the risk of certain diseases is reduced.  Medical professionals have opined that wearing footwear greatly reduces the risk of the following diseases prevalent in developing countries where citizens often go barefoot, not able to afford appropriate footwear: Podoconiosis; Schistosomiasis; Tungiasis; Hookworm; and Kaposi’s sarcoma. Footwear is important in order to reduce trauma and parasitic diseases that enter the bare foot.  It is also important to minimize foot infections in the diabetic population and to lower the risk of the referenced diseases.

The markets to which the Sneakers are sold by W & S exist because the Sneakers being sold are affordable. In selling to these markets, it seeks the best prices available, recognizing it has established a successful business (not only with Sneakers but also other sorts of used textile clothing) that allows it to provide funds to The Max Cure Foundation from the sale of Sneakers received by MCF as part of its Dunk Your Kicks program.  As noted in paragraph 4, above, from a market analysis perspective, W & S prides itself on creating jobs in this country and abroad and equally important, provides funds for its philanthropic endeavor through MCF.

Max at 10W & S in partnership with The Max Cure Foundation, a 501 ( c ) ( 3 ) non – profit corporation which was established by the Plotkin family in December 2008, seek to make a difference in the area of pediatric cancer.  The creation of MCF was inspired by Max Plotkin who, at age 4, was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer and who now, at age 10, is a survivor.  Max overcame the disease exhibiting both bravery and courage, giving hope to those afflicted with the disease and their families. W & S, as noted, pays MCF for the Sneakers obtained by it.

MCF uses the monies received from W & S to advance its mission to fund research and through its Roar Beyond Barriers program, to give financial assistance to low- income families battling pediatric cancer who are on Medicaid, who receive charitable medical care (unreimbursed care) from providers, including pediatric cancer hospitals, and who otherwise demonstrate the substantial need for financial help in obtaining the necessities of life. MCF also provides assistance to military families.  The financial assistance given to families by MCF through its Roar Beyond Barriers program does not include medical expenses – those, as noted, who are characterized as low-income, are either covered by Medicaid or by the providers as part of their unreimbursed medical care programs.

Those providing Sneakers are not only helping the environment (see paragraph 3, above) but also helping the world markets (see paragraphs 4, 5 and 6, above), lowering the risk in developing countries of diseases caused by those who cannot afford footwear and therefore go barefoot, exposing themselves to bacteria that causes the diseases identified in paragraph 4, above, and assisting MCF in advancing the cause of pediatric cancer both as to funding of research and to helping low income and military families facing a parent’s worst nightmare (a child with cancer).  The financial stress on these families is sought to be somewhat alleviated by providing gift cards for necessities of life such as food and clothing.

W & S and MCF are asking folks to support the cause through events at schools, religious institutions, local communities, summer camps and the like, including 3 x 3 basketball tournaments, and are asking for support from, among others, those organizing mud races and other races (obstacle races, marathons, 10 K’s, 5 K’s and the like).

All involved benefit from the process of collecting used and unwanted Sneakers that would otherwise end up in landfills, fill closets in homes, or are ground up and incorporated into other products sold on the market.  Those in this country can band together to help the environment; advance the cause of pediatric cancer through funding research and assisting low-income and military families battling the disease; help the world markets through the Affordable Footwear program; lower the risk of disease in third world countries where citizens often go barefoot; and as a result, bring a smile to the faces of those in need not only in this country, but worldwide – to accomplish these results, W & S and MCF are not asking individuals or corporations to go into their pockets or intrude in their corporate budgets, respectively, for monies, but instead are asking for Sneakers!

Those involved with W & S and MCF have a dream – not to accomplish world peace; or to reduce global warming, if it in fact exists; but rather to give a second and third life to all Sneakers for the good causes referenced above and through MCF’s Roar Beyond Barriers program, to financially assist as many low-income and military families in this country battling cancer in their children as possible.

W & S and MCF invite the entire country to join them in their efforts and become, in one sense, “a band of brothers” – fighting together as one to allow The Max Cure Foundation to accomplish its missions described above.

Meet Qualeek

Felicia & Qualeek McNeil_ RBB NYCQualeek has been in remission since 2012. He was diagnosed with brain cancer a few years ago and has had a rough time with treatment (including losing his hearing, which is affecting his performance in school). He has 4 siblings and lives with them and his single mother in Brooklyn, NY. Their family was recently evicted from their apartment because of their financial constraints (Felicia lost her job while caring for Qualeek) and are now all staying in a friends apartment. Qualeek just turned 10 this year.

Meet Christian

Felipe & Christian Ramos RBB NYCFrom his family: Christian was very cheerful, loved to play with his brothers and sister in school and was a fast learner. He was very intelligent, strong and very friendly, but when he was diagnosed with Leukemia, he became sad and annoyed because he couldn’t do things he could do before. He began his chemotherapy immediately, which made him very sick.  The treatment was for 5 months, and we were happy to learn that Christian was in remission, but soon after he relapsed. Now Christian needs a bone marrow transplant, and luckily his brother Brandon is compatible with him and can donate his marrow. Brandon is extremely happy that he can help his older brother. It is heartwarming to see how his 2 younger brothers and little sister have helped Christian through this.  They are always there for him when he needs something. We are grateful to the Max Cure Foundation for their support through this difficult time.

Sadly we lost Christian to the disease on August 8, 2013 at the young age of 11. This picture was taken approximately 6 months prior to his death. We will always remember your smile. Be Brave Christian.

Meet Ashley

michelle & Ashley 1.11.12jpgDiagnosed with brain cancer at a very young age. Ashley is currently in a wheel chair, living in Harlem with her single mother and brother. She has been in remission since 2012 and is finally back in school, which she enjoys very much!

Meet Rowan

Max Cure KidsRowan is a 1 yr. old child diagnosed  with hi-risk- ALL in  late January.  Her mother is a single parent who had been attending school full time prior to Rowan’s diagnosis.  Ms. Stuckey (mother) tried  to keep up with her studies  but with all the hospitalizations and clinic visits she had to withdraw this term. Along with scholarship money she also received  a monthly stipend of approx. $400.  Unfortunately, that amount was cut in half as a result of withdrawing from school.  The help you will provide will be tremendously helpful to this mother and her child.

Meet Lexi | The Faces of Pediatric Cancer

Max Cure KidsMy name is Alexandra (Lexi) Medina and I am 7 years old.  Back in August of 2011, the day before I was supposed to start 1st grade, I was diagnosed with Leukemia (ALL, a cancer of the blood).  I found out I had this disease because a couple weeks before my diagnosis, I was playing outside with my little cousins when I fell down and got a scratch on my arm.  By the end of the weekend, that scratch turned into a very large, infected wound on my arm.  Other symptoms I had were loss of appetite, fevers for no reason, no energy and tired all the time.  I was brought to the doctor and they did blood work.  My pediatrician confirmed my diagnosis and I started treatment at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center (CCMC) the day I was supposed to start school.  I lost my hair from some of the chemotherapy, but it is coming back now.  It’s beautiful!! I just recently went back to school, after having a tutor since the beginning of my diagnosis.  I still have the tutor for the days I don’t feel well, but am happy to be back with my friends.  Sometimes I have to stay in the hospital for a long time when my blood counts are low and I get a high fever.  I have received blood transfusions and platelet transfusions too.  I also get spinal taps every few months at the hematology clinic.  I have met a lot of cool kids there.   Even though I am now in remission,  I will be continuing chemotherapy and treatment at CCMC until November 7th of this year.  I can’t wait to take that last chemo pill!!!!!


Meet Naveah

Nevaeh after haircutFrom her family: Naveah would come home every day from school and her arm, leg, head or back would start hurting.  It seemed to be something different every day, so we took her to her pediatrician, who kept saying for three weeks it was just growing pains. She was on Tylenol and Motrin for the 3 weeks for high fevers. We took her to Manteca Hospital, and that doctor told us the same thing.  One night Naveah could not fall asleep.  She kept crying in pain, so this time we took her to Dameron Hospital in Stockton, CA and they found an inflammation throughout her entire body and said that we need to have her seen by a bone doctor. We were then referred to Oakland Children’s Hospital and when we got here they took blood,urine and did all kinds of tests and we stayed for a month and 5 days after ONLY 2 days of being here they told us they were 90% sure it was Neuroblastoma cancer and that’s her story. She’s still being treated for her Cancer and has not yet got in remission:( But we will not give up and she is a fighter:) thank u again.

Meet Alonzo

Max Cure KidsAlonzo is 8 years old, diagnosed with Leukemia and also has ADHD & Pervasive Developmental Delays (on the autistic spectrum).  Mother is a widow, father died in an accident almost two years ago, they were married for a long time and have older children. Mother is on a very low fixed income. Mother does not have a car and lives about 2 hours from the hospital.  Transportation to treatment has been a struggle.  Prior to the father’s death, she had been attending the local community college and obtained her AA degree.  However, due to the patient’s diagnosis, mother cannot look for a job as she needs to take care of her child.  It is obviously difficult for any child to go through cancer treatment, but definitely a lot more challenging for a child like this patient with pre-existing mental health and behavioral issues.

Meet Terrance

Max Cure KidsFrom his family: Sir Terrence is a 10yr. old boy that lives in Shreveport, LA and was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called NATURAL KILLER T-CELL LYMPHOMA back in August 2010. He was then introduce to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital were we resigned for three months, he began chemo/radiation and we thought he was in remission until May 2011 when they discovered a huge mass sitting in between his face, but more to the left.  They started chemo immediately and stated he needs a bone marrow transplant. When just a week ago I was told that there’s no 100% chance that transplant will cure nor this chemo he’s taking now, because it’s such a rare and aggressive type of Cancer.

Meet Mia

Max Cure KidsFrom her family: Mia, like many kids, has never had anything more than a cold or flu during her first 8 years. When she had symptoms of what we thought was the flu (fever, fatigue, and body aches) we took a trip to her pediatrician. The flu was ruled out but the symptoms and blood work pointed to a virus. Another week or so went by and we were back at the doctor’s office and received the same diagnosis. Roughly three weeks after the first doctor visit, Mia got a small cut on her hand. With 24 hours the cut was obviously infected so we made a trip to a local “quick care” facility, diagnosis; Staph Infection. A few days later the hand began to heal but Mia still felt achy and feverish. It was at this point we noticed that Mia’s stomach was starting to distend. On April 14th, 2011, roughly 4 weeks after Mia started to fill ill, we took another trip to her pediatrician. This time…. all signs pointed toward Leukemia. Doctors at LSUHSC in Shreveport affirmed the diagnosis. On April 15th, 2011 Mia and her mother, Christie Barnes, were flown to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. Weeks turned into over two months of initial treatment. This time was filled with much hope, but also many very frightening moments, including a nasal fungus. But we put our faith in God and St. Jude and treatment continues on. Mia and her mother continue to take trips to St. Jude, sometime for only a few days, sometimes for several weeks. Each week that passes gets us closer to the end of treatment and that is a day that cannot come soon enough. We are blessed to have St. Jude and appreciate the Doctors and staff there more than words can express. This journey, however, has been and continues to be the most emotionally trying of our lives. Difficult doesn’t really go far enough to express what we all have been through. From months apart from each other, to being able to spend less time with our special needs son, Ryland (Asperger’s Syndrome), to financial issues. Cancer has been the controlling force in our lives for nearly the past year. Mia continues to fight and so will we, until this moment in our lives is a distant memory.

Meet Keira

KEIRA.Day 161[3]From her family: Keira was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in May 2012 when she was 19 months old. We had just been moved by the Air Force (my husband is active duty) from our home in Virginia to Florida the month before. Keira has handled treatment so well from Day 1. She held on to her hair for quite a while until a harsh chemotherapy protocol wiped it out in the beginning of October. It is now growing back, and she insists it will be pink. She is the sweetest child and never complains about the hourly trips to the hospital we make so often. She loves princesses and the park. She does a fabulous rendition of The Little Mermaid’s “Part of Your World.” Keira still has two more years of treatment, and all signs point to a full recovery. She is the bravest person we know.

Meet Julie


Max Cure KidsOn December 29th, 2011, Julie was diagnosed with Choroid Plexus Carcinoma, a very rare brain cancer. It is found in only 3% of all childhood brain cancers. Of those 3% only 10% of those children are older than 2 years old. Julie was 4 years old when she was diagnosed and the tumor on her brain was the size of a grape fruit. Doctors gave her a 20% chance of making it through surgery. After 6 months of 5 different strong chemo-therapies, 6 weeks of intense proton radiation, 20+ blood and platelet transfusions, countless nights in the hospitals and many many prayers, our Julie is in remission. Cancer couldn’t take the beautiful smile off her face. She is playing soccer and going to Pre-K and hasn’t slowed down a bit. She loves singing, playing house with her sister, and getting her nails done. She can’t wait to have long hair again.

Pediatric Non-profit and Cancer Research Foundation Announce Grant to Fund Treatment

(New York) Today pediatric cancer researchers got a huge boost after The Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation (SWCRF) and The Max Cure Foundation awarded them a grant worth $100,000.

The Max Cure/SWCRF Collaborative Pediatric Cancer Research Grant will be given to John Crispino, Ph.D., from the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University in Chicago and Shai Izraeli, M.D., from the Tel Aviv University Sackler School of Medicine Sheba Cancer Research Center in Israel. The grant will aid in finding treatments for acute megakaryocytic leukemia (AMKL), a rare form of leukemia that has a dismal prognosis. In pediatric cases of AMKL, the most prominent are in children with Down Syndrome, many of whom are sensitive to chemotherapy. “So our vision was to develop a differentiation therapy that specifically targets this type of leukemic cell,” explained Dr. Crispino.

“We know that these investigators have been vetted by a leading scientific advisory board within the SWCRF and have met its high standards. We are proud to be identified with SWCRF and the great work it does to advance the cause of cancer research, including research for childhood cancers,” said David Plotkin, Co-Founder and Chairman of Max Cure Foundation.

“Our collaboration with Max Cure benefits everyone,” said Samuel Waxman, M.D., SWCRF Founder and CEO. “Collaboration between foundations with similar goals is what’s needed to develop new, minimally toxic treatments.”

The scientists plan to further investigate the role of two proteins in AMKL. “We still don’t know how these proteins contribute to leukemia,” Dr. Crispino explained. “But we hope to gain new insights into the biology of the disease and find new targets for therapy.”

About the Max Cure Foundation (MCF)
The mission of Max Cure Foundation is to advance cures for pediatric cancers, fund the development of less toxic treatments for children, including the funding of an immune cell therapy laboratory at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center dedicated to alternative treatments for children battling the disease.  MCF also provides emotional and financial support to both low-income families and military families who are battling pediatric cancers, while at the same time inspiring children with the disease to confront it with courage and bravery. For more information, visit

About the Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation (SWCRF)

The SWCRF is an international organization dedicated to curing and preventing cancer. The Foundation is a pioneer in cancer research, focusing on uncovering the causes of cancer and reprogramming cancer cells. We dedicate ourselves to delivering tailored, minimally toxic treatments to patients. Our mission is to eradicate cancer by bridging the gap between lab science and the patient. Through our collaborative group of world-class scientists, the Institute Without Walls, investigators share information and tools to speed the pace of cancer research. Since its inception in 1976, the SWCRF has awarded more than $85 million to support the work of more than 200 researchers across the globe. For more information, visit

‘Dunk Your Kicks’ comes to Poland summer camp

This summer, The Max Cure Foundation has partnered with the Maine Camp Experience, a community of Maine’s premier camps, to bring the Dunk Your Kicks fundraising campaign to the state. It is also the first time the organization is partnering with an overnight camp for the social action program. Continue reading

This Weekend at Six Flags, NJ: Donate Your Child’s Old Sneakers to help Cure Cancer

This weekend, on June 15th, kick off those muddy sneakers and give back to the community. The Max Cure Foundation is partnering up with The Survival Race—at Six Flags in New Jersey—to help fight pediatric cancer with their Dunk Your Kicks campaign. Their goal is to collect 500,000 pairs of sneakers nationwide. Read More… Continue reading