EAST MEADOW RESIDENT DRIVEN BY A PASSION TO PAY HONOR TO A CLASSMATE & HELP OTHERS FIGHT PEDIATRIC CANCER RAISES FUNDS TO BENEFIT WINTHROP’S CANCER CENTER FOR KIDS
The “Sean Lives On” 2012 Festival, held in memory of Sean Riley on April 28 at Eisenhower Park, was the culmination of four years of fundraising that enabled a family friendship to flourish and grow. In 2008, then-Solomon Schechter seventh grader Zachary Kardisch of East Meadow learned that fellow student, Sean Riley, lost his battle with pediatric cancer. Meeting Sean’s father, Peter, convinced Zach that he had to do something to “let the Rileys know they were not alone.”
Recently, Zachary Kardisch of East Meadow (fourth from left) visited Winthrop’s Cancer Center for Kids to present the proceeds from his “Sean Lives On” 2012 Festival to Mark Weinblatt, MD, Chief of the Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at Winthrop and Director of the CCFK (third from right). Pictured with them are (l.-r.) Bonnie Link Kardisch, Zach’s mother; Linda Sweeney, Pediatric Development Manager for Pediatric Hematology/Oncology and The CCFK; Jeffrey Richards, Zach’s schoolmate, who helped with the April event; Josh Kardisch, Zach’s father; Elizabeth Urbanski, Development Specialist at the CCFK; and Sean’s father, Peter Riley of Island Park.
And so began this young man’s ongoing tribute to venerate Sean’s memory, underscored by his tireless fundraising efforts on behalf of children with cancer. Zach’s first school-wide “pay-to-play” basketball tournament raised $600 in memory of his friend; the second competition included varsity basketball teams from the Long Island area and garnered $1,000.
Zach’s successful first attempts inspired him to create a larger, more ambitious music festival in Sean’s honor. Reserving Eisenhower Park as a venue, Zach signed a popular DJ, hired a graphic artist to design advertising, and used his Facebook page to generate interest and attendance for the April event which raised $10,000 to benefit the Cancer Center for Kids (CCFK) at Winthrop-University Hospital, where Sean was an active patient.
“Together, we have allowed the family to start focusing on the ‘full half’ of the glass…and to allow Sean’s memory to stay fresh in people’s minds. We are dedicated to preventing children from getting and suffering from this terrible disease,” said Zach.
Winthrop’s Cancer Center for Kids is Nassau County’s largest outpatient facility for treating children with cancer and blood disorders. Membership in the National Cancer Institute’s Children’s Oncology Group—and international consortium of collaborating hospitals recognized as leaders in the treatment of childhood cancers—enables the CCFK staff to implement new treatments and cutting-edge protocols. As a collaborative Institute partner, the CCFK administers and coordinates research studies, disseminates clinical trial information and manages protocols.
To learn more about Winthrop’s Cancer Center for Kids, visit www.winthrop.org/cck or call (516) 663-9400.# # #