Friday, 08 April 2011 00:00
On Monday, March 21, Nassau County Legislator Rose Marie Walker honored Terrie Magro as a 17th Legislative District Trailblazer award recipient.
Legislator Walker chose Terrie because she, “Serves as a role model in pioneering our future and continues to light the way for generations to come while meeting the challenges in her present.”
Terrie and her husband, Paul, co-founded a nonprofit foundation in memory of her son, Michael, who passed away from leukemia in 2004 at the tender age of 13. The Michael Magro Foundation, a 501c3 corporation, was formed in 2005 to help other families who have children diagnosed with a pediatric cancer. Their fundraisers support The Cancer Center for Kids at Winthrop Hospital, Winthrop Pediatric Associates, Cohen’s Children Hospital, Nassau University Medical Center and others.
Life took a turn for Terrie and her husband in March 2004 when their younger son, Marc, was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Marc was in fifth grade at Woodland Elementary School in Hicksville. Under the watchful eye of Dr. Mark Weinblatt at the Cancer Center for Kids at Winthrop University Hospital, Marc’s treatment began immediately – and the road was rough! Marc got through many a hard night and many painful scary days with the help of his family and his brother Michael.
Michael stayed up with Marc at night, made him laugh, and gave him a lot of encouragement. Michael had a dry sense of humor, and those that knew him called him “the peacemaker.” Michael was in seventh grade at Hicksville Middle School in 2004. Mike loved lacrosse, worked hard in school, and was a good student. When he complained one Friday night in May that he thought he had the flu, it did not seem alarming. He had been working hard and playing hard. After a few days Michael was diagnosed with pneumonia, not the flu. When Michael did not respond to the treatment for pneumonia, doctors tested him further and found that Michael had leukemia. As difficult as it was to believe, two children who never went to the doctor – who were really never sick – were both diagnosed with cancer within months of each other.
Marc was still in treatment receiving chemotherapy and radiation therapy when his brother Michael began his course of treatment. Michael was in a very high risk group due to his age and the type of leukemia he had. Michael was diagnosed on June 8, 2004 with A.L.L. and passed away a very short time later on July 30, 2004.
Terrie’s award states in part that, “By founding the Michael Magro Foundation, you have helped countless others overcome the challenges and hardships of childhood cancer.” Since the Foundation started they have raised over $400,000.
One of the ongoing programs is The Life Essentials Program which brings gift cards from restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, toy stores, Target, Wal-Mart and many others to families of children with pediatric cancers. The foundation has an account with a pharmacy in Mineola to help pay for medications not covered by insurance, as well as helping financially burdened families with co-payments. The Foundations’ transportation program helps families who do not drive get car service back and forth to treatment instead of using public transportation.
Michael Magro Foundation has donated a Vein Finder, software for an Echo Cardiogram Machine, and so much more. MMF funds “Child Life” both in the outpatient facility at Winthrop and in the Hospital. The Foundation has also started an educational program called project SOAR: School Re Entry and On Going Academic Resources. This program creates a framework for successful learning for a child who is in treatment for cancer.
This year, Terrie was also selected by Town of Oyster Bay to receive their “Women of Distinction award” and in January 2010 Terrie was recognized by Long Island Press Fortune 52 honoring Long Island women who make a significant, unique and lasting contribution to their communities.
Woodland Elementary school PTA selected Terrie for their Honorary Life Award in June 2010.
Michael Magro Foundation was named the 2010 Honoree for the cancer center for Kids 2010 Black and White Ball which was held at Oheka Castle last April.
In addition to these awards, Terrie advocates for the foundation speaking to groups about their mission, which is dedicated to helping families through financial hardships associated with pediatric illnesses. She has participated in multiple radio shows, spreading the word of the foundations work.
Also honored at this event was Hicksville resident Marissa Weippert, co-founder of the Sarah Grace Foundation. An article describing her achievements was published in a previous edition of the Hicksville Illustrated News.