Shane the Brave and his Family Take On Eli’s Challenge   

Shane the Brave and his Family Take On Eli’s Challenge

May 24, 2023

Seven-year-old Shane the Brave McCooe and his family of Washington Township have faced more than their share of challenges since he was diagnosed with Leukemia late last year. But, through it all, Shane’s care team at Hackensack Meridian Children’s Health at Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital has been beyond thorough and caring, and support programs for his sister have been invaluable as the family navigates this difficult time. 

The first grader is about a quarter of the way through a two-year treatment plan that includes chemotherapy. The hospital’s location has been a relief for Michelle, Shane’s mother. 


“It spoke volumes to us that we had the ability to drive 15 minutes to the number one children’s hospital in New Jersey,” says Michelle. “Especially given the severity of his complications.”


This year, Shane and his family will be taking part in Eli’s Challenge – a Tackle Kids Cancer (TKC) fundraising effort to support pediatric cancer research and patient care programs at Hackensack Meridian Health that is matched up to $200,000 by TKC Captain and former New York Giants Quarterback Eli Manning. Since its inception in 2015, Tackle Kids Cancer, the philanthropic initiative of Hackensack Meridian Health Foundation to benefit Hackensack Meridian Children’s Health Children’s Cancer Institute, has raised more than $25 million. 


The two-time Superbowl champ and MVP has been an engaged benefactor, donating both money and time to the cause since 2016. In March, Eli met with Shane, who is one of Tackle Kids Cancer’s MVPs (Most Valiant Patients).  

"Kicking off another year of Eli's Challenge, I am grateful for the community of supporters that have rallied around Tackle Kids Cancer and its critical mission,” says Eli. “Shane and his family provide an inspiring example as they battle cancer and work to help others.”

May is the official kickoff for the 2023 Eli’s Challenge but fundraising efforts are year-round, with individuals, families, communities, companies and other “teams” setting up giving pages and events to spearhead fundraising for Tackle Kids Cancer. The level of participation runs the gamut, from small donors to large, and events ranging from local 5K walks to sponsored runners in the TCS New York City Marathon. 

Siblings of pediatric cancer patients also benefit from Tackle Kids Cancer support. Savannah, Shane’s five-year-old sister, has taken solace and delight in the Sibling Support art program she attends while he is being treated at the hospital. 

Shane’s parents are impressed by the level of care at the Children’s Hospital, from his pediatric oncologists - Stacey Rifkin-Zenenberg, D.O., who was dogged in determining Shane’s diagnosis, and Jing Chen, M.D., who has handled his treatment - to his nurses and child life specialists, all who have made his visits to the hospital more comfortable.

“We’ve been nothing but pleased and comforted by his treatment here...Shane feels like it’s his home away from home,” says Michelle. 

A special thank you to Shane the Brave and his family for participating in Eli’s Challenge this year! We are rooting for you, Shane!

Next Steps and Resources

  • To support Shane, visit GiveHMH.org/ShaneTheBrave. To learn more about Tackle Kids Cancer or Eli’s Challenge, contact Amy Glazer, executive director, Tackle Kids Cancer and Children’s Health, at amy.glazer@hmhn.org. 

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