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Sarah Grace Foundation Continues Spreading Hope

Nancy Barbach, Matt Weippert, Marissa Weippert and James Weippert at the Sarah Grace Foundation For Children With Cancer's 2012 Holiday Party.
Nancy Barbach, Matt Weippert, Marissa Weippert and James Weippert at the Sarah Grace Foundation For Children With Cancer's 2012 Holiday Party.
2012 was an incredibly successful year for the Long Island-based Sarah Grace Foundation For Children With Cancer, Inc., which held numerous events to help children with cancer and their families. The Foundation honors the memory of Sarah Grace Weippert, who valiantly fought acute lymphoblastic leukemia, but unfortunately lost her battle with the aggressive disease in November 2002. 

In 2003, Hicksville residents Matt and Marissa Weippert formed The Sarah Grace Foundation and for the last ten years along with their son James and The Sarah Grace Foundation's Board of Directors and volunteers, have been working to help children and their families faced with the challenges and hardships brought upon by childhood cancer.  The Foundation’s mission is to provide child cancer sufferers with some laughs, smiles or momentary escapes from the reality of daily cancer treatments. 

The work that Matt and Marissa are doing with the Sarah Grace Foundation provides a positive outlet for many families during a difficult time.  At Thanksgiving, supermarket giftcards were distributed to families referred by the Pediatric Oncology Social Workers at Cohen Children’s Medical Center of NY and Winthrop University Hospital, among others.  

“The goal of our gift card program is to provide assistance to families enduring extreme financial hardships and help ease their burden of providing a holiday meal to their family,” said Matt Weippert.  “Day to day life is difficult enough for most of these families; the least we can do is to help provide a holiday meal.”

In December, the Foundation was fortunate to receive toy donations from the Hicksville Middle School Student Council. Our friends at the law firm of Ruskin Moscou Faltischek, P.C. once again assisted the Foundation with a toy drive and donations to help provide for its Holiday programs.  Members of the community also reached out during the holidays by donating gifts for the children.  Westy Self Storage also provided the Foundation use of its Hicksville facility for event preparations; the staff graciously allowed them to use their facility not just for wrapping holiday party gifts, but also for packaging over 580 Halloween trick or treat bags earlier in the year.  Additionally, Andy and the staff of the UPS store in Delco Plaza assisted with the distribution of gift packages at Christmas and throughout the year.   

“Our foundation, along with the children and families we serve, is forever indebted to the generosity of these organizations and all of those involved,” stated Marissa Weippert.  “Coordinating a toy drive may seem like an easy task, but it is not.  Many hours go into planning, organizing and implementing its success.”

On December 9, the Foundation was extremely proud to host its 10th Annual Holiday Party for children with cancer and their families at Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New Hyde Park.   This year’s party included music and entertainment, once again provided by Barattini Productions as well as clowns, face painting, and a visit from Santa.  All of the children had a great time and each received gifts prior to leaving.  Prior to visiting the party, Santa visited the children who were in-patient and could not attend the party; Santa personally gave each child a gift along with Christmas wishes. Additionally, refreshments were provided by Phil and Sons Pizza in Plainview, Cakes a la Moda and Primocakes.com.

Throughout the past year the Foundation has continued it’s sponsorship of The Bead Program, which allows each child to tell their own unique story about their journey utilizing various colored, glass beads, each representing a particular area of treatment.  Additionally the Foundation remains the NY Metropolitan sponsor of Gabe’s Chemo Duck.

According to Matt Weipert, The Foundation also sponsors The Escape Hatch™, which allows the children to escape to a different world, away from the pain and negative experience they are going through, as well as financial aid, funeral assistance and more, on a referral basis.  In 2012, The Sarah Grace Foundation was the “Courage Sponsor” for the first annual Pediatric Cancer Survivors Day hosted at Eisenhower Park by Cohen Children’s Medical Center.

“The Sarah Grace Foundation, along with all of its programs, helps to ease the burden these families endure throughout their illnesses.  The Foundation has become an essential resource that has assisted so many families with basic needs and a distraction from their treatments,” stated Matt Weippert, adding, "We are grateful to our volunteers and supporters for continuing to honor Sarah’s memory and providing the fuel that keeps our mission going.”         

In order to continue providing families with support and to finance ongoing programs the Foundation relies heavily on donations and fundraising events throughout the year.  In 2012 the Foundation benefited from events such as its 9th Annual Night of Laughter, 2nd Annual Kings Park/Commack Alumni Hockey Game, 2nd annual theatrical fundraiser Unrehearsed: A Night of Improv, a Steppin-N-Style Dance-A-Thon, and the 2nd Annual Holiday Extravaganza fundraising raffle that provided daily winners through the month of November. The Sarah Grace Foundation is gearing up for their initial 2013 events, which include the 10th Annual Night of Laughter (Friday, April 12 at The Milleridge Cottage) and plans to hold its 5th Annual Hugs for Sarah Memorial Blood Drive on Saturday, March 30 at the William P. Bennett Community Center in Hicksville.         

2013 is a very important year for The Sarah Grace Foundation as it marks the 10th anniversary of supporting children with cancer and their families.  The Foundation has started this commemorative year by launching a new website at www.thesarahgracefoundation.org

“This anniversary is a milestone in that it is difficult to believe we have been doing this for ten years, but even more difficult to realize that our angel, Sarah, has been gone from us that long,” said Matt Weippert.  “This anniversary is not a celebration but a commemoration of a young life cut too short; and a recognition of all the positive things being done in Sarah’s memory.”

For more information on The Sarah Grace Foundation For Children With Cancer, Inc., call (516) 433-9745 or visit the foundation’s website at www.TheSarahGraceFoundation.org.  Donations or requests for information may be sent to the foundation at:  217 Plainview Road, Hicksville, NY  11801.

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