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Rockville Centre siblings honored for service to children with cancer

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Siblings Jack and Brooke Williams, of Rockville Centre, were named youth award recipients during the Black and White Ball in Garden City on April 12, an annual fundraiser hosted by the Cancer Center for Kids at New York University Winthrop Hospital.

The event raised about $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.

Jack, the 2019 Spirit of Leadership Youth Award recipient, and Brooke, the 2019 Philanthropic Youth Award recipient, were raised to be selfless and altruistic. They were inspired by their parents, Donna-Marie Korth-Williams and Ken Williams. Donna-Marie was honored at CCFK’s 2015 Black and White Ball. Ken, who has been Santa at the Center’s annual holiday party, has brought smiles and cheer to countless CCFK patients and families.

Set to graduate at the top of his class at Chaminade High School, Jack has worked tirelessly to support the mission of the CCFK. During his six years volunteering with at the Center, Jack felt compelled to “do something more” for patients. With some imaginative fundraising, he produced and implemented a “Kindles for Kids” program, in which 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, 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 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,” Dall’Aste said.

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, an international network of researchers and healthcare providers.