Ogden Elementary School’s fifth-grade Bulldog Buddies delivered the gifts and money raised through the Hewlett-Woodmere school’s dance-a-thon. The students donated $4,362.50 and 20 full bags of toys to John Theissen’s Children’s Foundation.
Theissen founded his nonprofit organization in 1992. When 17, he was hospitalized for a brain tumor at a local children’s hospital. During his stay, he befriended a girl named Tasha, who was 7, who was in and out of the hospital throughout the year receiving different treatments for her illness.
She received very little support. She was dropped off and then picked up again when it was time to go home without having a visitor. Tasha was very excited about a holiday party sponsored by the hospital staff and was expecting her family to attend. They unfortunately did not.
John was still too ill but his family agreed to take her. When Santa Claus asked her what she had wanted, Tasha said: “ I would like a teddy bear for my friend upstairs.” John felt fortunate to be that friend. Her positive attitude and generous spirit inspired Him. When John got out off the hospital he wanted to help children just like Tasha.
Theissen held a toy drive during the holidays to benefit children in local hospitals beginning 26 years ago. During the first toy drive he collected more than 800 new toys in just two weeks and brought them to three different hospitals.
That was the beginning of what has become a year-round organization. Since 1992, JTCF has collected more than 920,000 new toys and have donated them to sick and underprivileged children in hospitals and child-care facilities.
JTCF also donates therapeutic and recreational equipment. Donations have enabled JTCF to provide televisions, video game systems, electronics, arts & crafts supplies and more. In addition, we have been able to help families with medical expenses and fulfill wishes.