Written by Chris Boyle Thursday, 06 February 2014 00:00
Out of the tragic passing of a young lady’s grandfather comes a unique and fun event in his memory. She hopes the event will give the efforts being made to eradicate the deadly disease that claimed him a sturdy foothold going forward.
Lexi Zisselman, a Herricks Middle School student, is turning 13 this year and was wondering what to do to for her Bat Mitzvah. She discussed some ideas with her father, Marc, who said that she wanted to do something in memory of her late grandfather Issac, a tax attorney who died in 2005 at the age of 63.
“He was a very healthy individual, but he got very sick and after many tests he realized that he had something called multiple myeloma, which is a very rare blood cancer,” Marc said. “He underwent a great deal of therapy, including stem cell therapy, and while he was doing so I got involved in the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF).”
Since its inception in 1998, the MMRF has raised over $125 million for myeloma research, clinical trials, and related educational programming. In order to support his father’s uphill efforts to fight the disease, Marc helped to create an MMRF event called Laugh For Life, an annual comedy show held in New York City. After Issac sadly passed away in 2005, Marc nonetheless continued the fundraising efforts; last year Laugh For Life raised over $900,000 for myeloma research, he said.
For her Bat Mitzvah, Lexi decided that she wanted to do something that would both take into account the memory of her late grandfather and another passion of hers - soccer. The result: Kick for a Cure, a soccer goal kicking event to be held at the Indoor Soccer
Bubble at Hofstra University on Saturday, Feb. 22 from 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.
“For a donation of $10, you can take two penalty shots, and based on how many shots you make, you will receive tickets for a prize drawing,” Marc said. “Lexi, who is becoming a woman in the Jewish religion, saw that this is more than just an opportunity to have a party...she saw an opportunity to give back...I think it’s special that a kid that age was willing to go and meet the sponsors and go to school and try and get people to sign up.”
The three main prizes up for grabs at Kick for a Cure, all of which were donated by the event’s sponsors, are a 32-inch flat-screen television, an iPad Mini and a pizza party for 20 people. In addition, sporting goods company Puma has stepped up, Marc said, by donating soccer balls for all participants to take home.
Lexi, after watching her father do his part to both help raise awareness of multiple myeloma and funds to battle the fatal illness, said that getting involved was something that she’d been wanting to do for a long time; her Bat Mitzvah finally gave her a chance to finally do so.
“I’m very excited to raise money for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation in memory of my grandfather,” she said. “He died too young, so I hope we can eventually find a cure for this disease, and I’ve very excited to have all the kids come to the event and participate.”
More than 100 people are signed up to attend the Kick for a Cure; Marc feels that a great many more will attend, and said he expects several hundred participants on the day of the event.
“I think it’s going to be hugely successful,” he said. “It’s a chance for kids to have some fun, and at the same time, raise money for a great cause.”