A Westchester family that lost a son to cancer continues to improve the lives of children battling the disease at Memorial Sloan Kettering.
The PaulieStrong Foundation delivered 667 LEGO sets to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center’s Pediatric Department recently, many of which were donated by families and Good Samaritans in Scarsdale.
“As parents of a child who was treated at Memorial Sloan Kettering, we can attest to the fact that LEGOs are one of the most needed items in a cancer hospital,” Paul said. “They help take a child’s mind off of the painful cancer treatments they are receiving while fighting for their lives.”
Paul said that the PaulieStrong Foundation hosts a LEGO Drive for Kids With Cancer every March in honor of their son’s birthday, before his passing in 2016. He noted that this year was also in memory of Debbie Leitner, “our friend and teacher at Greenacres Elementary school who passed away this year from cancer.”
“Because these kids have such compromised immune systems, new, sanitary sets are needed all the time. Paul spent countless hours building LEGO sets and we feel very fortunate to be able to give back.”
The PaulieStrong Foundation was created by Paul and Ioana Kreatsoulas Jimenez of Scarsdale after they lost their 10-year-old son Paulie to a rare form of cancer following a three-month battle with Rhabdomyosarcoma.
According to Paul, childhood cancer receives less than 4 percent of all cancer research funding, prompting him to raise awareness of the inequities. Since its founding, the PaulieStrong Foundation has raised more than $575,000 to benefit pediatric sarcoma research at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
“He was such a fun-loving and amazing child who was loved by so many. He was our world, and we miss him so very much,” his father said. “Until you are pulled into the world of childhood cancer, you just do not realize how little funding goes to support research into a cure.”
“The goal of the PauliStrong Foundation, through our partnership with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center is to raise awareness and funding for researching a cure for pediatric cancers,” Paul added. “Today’s children are the world’s future and they deserve more than 4 percent.”
“Pediatric cancers are vastly underfunded,” Kelli Klasko said from Memorial Sloan Kettering. “Therefore, philanthropic support from the PaulieStrong Foundation is crucial in advancing breakthrough research and clinical trials for pediatric cancers.”
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