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Project SOAR

Mineola, NY – The Michael Magro Foundation of Hicksville, NY, recently donated $30,000 to the Cancer Center for Kids at Winthrop-University Hospital in support of its back-to-school program for patients who are dealing with childhood cancers and the after-effects of treatment. The program – dubbed Project SOAR (for School Re-entry Ongoing Academic Resources) – provides educational support and counseling to childhood cancer patients and their families, as well as to their educators and classmates. The goal of the program is to ensure that every child treated at Winthrop’s Cancer Center for Kids (CCFK) is afforded the opportunity for a smooth and successful transition back into the formal educational system after absences due to major illness. Project SOAR utilizes the vast expertise of the CCFK’s psychosocial team, led by a specially-trained pediatric psychologist, to offer support before, during and after a child’s return to school following treatment for cancer. Upon a child’s initial diagnosis and with parental consent, the Center’s team may arrange for at-home schooling or tutoring in order to help students maintain academic progress during treatment. Prior to the child’s return to the classroom, the team also meets with teachers and administrators at the school, and with the student’s classmates, to educate them about childhood cancer and to prepare them for the child’s return. “Project SOAR is designed to increase each child’s opportunities for academic success, whether the patient is still being treated at the Cancer Center for Kids or is a survivor who is off-treatment,” said Linda Sweeney, Practice Manager for Winthrop’s Cancer Center for Kids. “The Magro Foundation’s generous support will enable the Cancer Center for Kids to continue to foster relationships among schools and families in order to help many young patients thrive educationally.”

The Michael Magro Foundation was established by Terrie and Paul Magro of Hicksville in honor of their son Michael Magro, who they lost to leukemia in July 2004. For years, the Michael Magro Foundation has provided support and recreational respite to pediatric patients at Winthrop-University Hospital’s Hagedorn Pediatric Inpatient Center and the Cancer Center for Kids. The Foundation has made grants to families in hardship, and provides gift cards to area movie theatres, restaurants, Blockbuster stores, gas stations, and more in order to enable families with a child in treatment to get out and relax.

In addition, Chef Paul Magro hosts an annual “Cookies for Kids Program” through the Nassau BOCES Joseph M. Barry Career and Technical Education Center. Students from various high schools in Nassau County attend the Culinary Arts Program at BOCES, and Chef Magro who is an instructor there encourages the students to participate in the program to spread holiday cheer and bring specially baked goodies to hospitalized children and to young patients receiving outpatient treatment for childhood cancer. “One of the Foundation’s goals since its inception has been to participate in educational programs that are both clinical and community-based,” said Terrie Magro. “Paul and I know first-hand how difficult it can be for a child to attend school and undergo chemotherapy at the same time. On behalf of our entire board of directors, we are honored to support Project SOAR as an ongoing program for patients.”

For more information about the Michael Magro Foundation, call Terrie Magro at (516) 633-5341 or visit www.michaelmagrofoundation.com. For more information about Winthrop’s Hagedorn Pediatric Inpatient Center and Cancer Center for Kids call 1-866-WINTHROP.

Written by Patty Servidio, RN and Freelance Writer