by john franco | August 17, 2012 | Lifestyle
Annemarie Plotkin and Max.
The Max Cure Foundation’s carnival is fun for the whole family.
David Plotkin with John Franco.
Kids play at carnival booths at Roar for a Cure in 2011.
Growing up in Brooklyn and rooting for the Mets as a kid, I always dreamt about playing for my favorite team. Today, being in the Mets Hall of Fame with guys who were my heroes—Tom Seaver, Tug McGraw, Tommie Agee, Bud Harrelson—means the world to me. When I look back on my career, I take pride in my accomplishments; I have always tried to be the best that I can be and give 100 percent, no matter the circumstances.
When I retired in 2005 with 424 career saves, I was looking forward to spending my summers with my family in the Hamptons. But no matter how nice it is to be out East, I teach my kids that in life we can never forget where we came from and make it a point to educate them on the importance of giving back. When you grow up in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, it takes a lot to be inspired. Last summer, when I went to a Roar for a Cure cocktail party in Water Mill, I most certainly was touched. I watched a Max Cure Foundation (MCF) video and then listened to chairman David Plotkin speak about his son Max who was diagnosed with a rare cancer at the age of 4. Max, who is in remission today, underwent two years of intense chemotherapy. As a father, I was impacted by David’s words, and I was anxious to learn more about the work MCF does in the world of pediatric cancer.
The Max Cure Foundation’s primary mission is to fund an immune cell therapy lab at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, which will be dedicated to alternative treatments for children battling cancer. This lab depends on money from MCF, which has contributed more than $800,000 to the lab since 2007. Currently, it has successfully treated more than 65 percent of children and young adults who did not respond to standard cancer treatments. These children have shown either complete remission or tumor regression. MCF also funds researchers and scientists from across the country who are developing less toxic treatments for pediatric cancer. Also, through the MCF Roar Beyond Barriers program, MCF provides financial support to more than 30 low-income families across the country who have a child with cancer; three of the families live in Brooklyn. I wanted to help Max Cure and support these children.
Last year, I joined NBA champion Trent Tucker as a Max Cure Ambassador. I also signed on to be an executive producer in an animated film called Henry & Me, based on a collection of New York Times best-selling author and New York Yankees executive, Ray Negron’s children’s books about a young boy who is battling cancer. He is taken on a magical adventure where he meets Yankee legends, and they teach him about baseball and life lessons. The all-star cast of voices includes Richard Gere, Danny Aiello, Cyndi Lauper, Paul Simon, Nick Swisher, Reggie Jackson, Yogi Berra, and Hank Steinbrenner (as his father George, “The Boss”).
I smile when asked about being a New York Met and now working on a movie about Yankee magic. When it comes to children and pediatric cancer, the uniform doesn’t matter. It’s all about the saves.
What: The Max Cure Foundation’s fourth annual Roar for a Cure Carnival
When and Where: August 18 at Ross School, 18 Goodfriend Dr., East Hampton
Who: NBA champion Trent Tucker, Ray Negron, Alison Brettschneider, Ramy Sharp, Lyss Stern
Save the Date: Trent Tucker’s All 4 Kids Foundation and The Max Cure Foundation will be presenting the Trent Tucker Celebrity Golf & Gala on September 9-10, at the Old Oaks Country Club, in Purchase, NY; Henry & Me premieres this December in NYC.