On June 13, Paul Desmond, a custodian at William Floyd Elementary School, brought down 2 million can tabs that were collected by the school’s students over the course of the school year as part of the “Can Tabs for Kids” program. The program benefits the Sunrise Fund at Stony Brook University Medical Center, an organization that raises awareness and funds for specific projects to assist families with children fighting childhood cancer.
As part of the Can Tabs for Kids program, students bring in aluminum tabs from soft drink and pet food cans that their parents purchased and place them in collection bins located in their classrooms. The bags are taken out of the bins and brought to Gershow, where the contents will be weighed and recycled. Each year, Gershow will match the amount raised by the school.
The Can Tabs for Kids program began at William Floyd Elementary School on February 4, 2011. Maria Marks, a former William Floyd student who was diagnosed with cancer at a young age, was the inspiration for the program. Between the ages of two weeks and six months, she underwent numerous chemotherapy sessions. The constant exposure to the radiation resulted in Maria losing her hearing in both ears and now she must wear hearing aids. Her cancer has since been in remission.
The month of June marked International Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. This year alone, an estimated 10,450 children – or one out of 408 children – under the age of 15 will be diagnosed with cancer this year alone in the U.S., according to the American Cancer Society. It is estimated that 1,350 children will die from the disease this year.