Community Spotlight

NYU Winthrop Hospital’s Cancer Center for Kids Honors Garden City, Rockville Centre Residents at the 2019 Black and White Ball

Mineola, NY — The Cancer Center for Kids (CCFK) at NYU Winthrop Hospital recently hosted its largest annual fundraiser, the Black and White Ball, at The Garden City Hotel. Garden City residents Drs. Anthony and Ruth Randi were recognized for their vast contributions in support of the Center's patients and their families, along with youth award recipients, siblings Jack Williams and Brooke Williams of Rockville Centre. The "Masquerade Inspired" Black and White Ball was a tremendous success, raising approximately $175,000 to benefit the CCFK's comprehensive and essential psychosocial programs, which help facilitate a sense of well-being and improve the quality of life for a child undergoing treatment for cancer or blood disorders.

"An outpouring of support from community members and friends of the Center made this event a success," said Mark Weinblatt, MD, Chief of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at NYU Winthrop Hospital and Director of the CCFK. "Additionally, we are extremely grateful for the generosity of extraordinary individuals, such as this year’s Ball honorees, who exemplify character, compassion, and goodwill."

Drs. Anthony and Ruth Randi are regarded for the stellar dental care they provide at their practice, Garden City Dental Care. It was through Dr. Anthony Randi’s volunteer coaching of boys and girls youth lacrosse that the couple became involved in an annual lacrosse tournament in honor of Garden City resident, Jay Gallagher, who passed away from melanoma at the age of 39. Over time, the Randis and other community members helped establish the Jay Gallagher Memorial Foundation–a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of children and adults with cancer. The Foundation, which raised over $1.5 million for local charities, was introduced to the CCFK in 2012. The Randis have since been ardent supporters of the Center, Dr. Weinblatt, and the remarkable work of the staff.

Honorees at NYU Winthrop Hospital's Black and White Ball 2019
Honorees Drs. Anthony and Ruth Randi with Dr. Mark Weinblatt
Jack Williams, 2019 Spirit of Leadership Youth Award recipient, and Brooke Williams, 2019 Philanthropic Youth Award recipient, were raised to be selfless and altruistic. They were inspired, no doubt, by their parents, Donna-Marie Korth-Williams and Ken Williams. Donna-Marie, a philanthropist and partner at Certilman Balin Adler & Hyman, LLP, was herself honored at CCFK’s 2015 Black and White Ball. Their father, Ken Williams, who has been Santa at the Center’s annual holiday party, has brought smiles and cheer to countless CCFK patients and families.

Honorees at NYU Winthrop Hospital's Black and White Ball 2019
Williams Family honorees with Dr. Mark Weinblatt
Jack, who will graduate in the top of his class at Chaminade High School, has worked tirelessly to support the mission of the CCFK. During his six years volunteering with CCFK, Jack felt compelled to "do something more" for patients. With some imaginative fundraising, Jack produced and implemented a "Kindles for Kids" program, whereby patients–during a chemotherapy treatment or a blood transfusion–can use electronic devices equipped with books, games, songs, and educational materials to distract them from any discomfort. He also set up each device so that the content would supply age-appropriate fun for patients at the Center.

"Jack has become integral to the happiness and sense of belonging that our children feel at the Cancer Center for Kids," said Heather Dall’Aste, Development Manager at the CCFK. "His narrative of hope and optimism has enriched the lives of our patients and their families."

Brooke Williams, a junior at the University of Notre Dame, where she is pursuing a double major in Mechanical Engineering and Industrial Design, has also been an integral part of the CCFK for many years. Whether it was through selling community auction tickets or playing with the children, her love for the Center and its children has made a true impact.

Knowing how cancer can isolate children and interrupt their lives on every level, Brooke shared her musical, art, and dance abilities with children through the center’s Music Therapy Program. She fashioned a unique box, "Ballerina in a Box," brimming with shimmering costumes, jewel-toned tiaras, and brightly colored hats and scarves—much to the delight of the Center's young patients and their siblings.

"Whether she was teaching dance steps to patients or reading to a group of little ones, Brooke always encourages the Center's patients to shine," added Ms. Dall’Aste. 

As the largest outpatient facility treating children with cancer and blood disorders in Nassau County, the Cancer Center for Kids at NYU Winthrop Hospital is at the forefront of treatment and research, and is a collaborative member of the prestigious Children's Oncology Group (COG), an international network of researchers and healthcare providers. For more information about the CCFK, call 516-663-9400 or visit www.nyuwinthrop.org/cck.

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