Tackle Kids Cancer Raises $80,000 in Inaugural Virtual 5K to Support Pediatric Cancer Research and Patient Care Programs

June 15, 2021

Tackle Kids Cancer, the philanthropic initiative of Hackensack Meridian Health Foundation which benefits Hackensack Meridian Children’s Health Children’s Cancer Institute at Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital and K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital, is proud to announce that it has raised nearly $80,000 in its first ever virtual race and fundraising challenge, powered by Eli’s Challenge.

In April, TeamTKC Captain Eli Manning, former New York Giants quarterback, launched the virtual race, which took place during the weekend of May 21 to 23. Manning pledged a matching gift up to $100,000 for all of 2021, ensuring that community support will have double the impact. The May event marked the first signature month of his match, followed by Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month in September.

The inception of Eli’s Challenge in 2015 has energized the Tackle Kids Cancer community and continues to motivate hundreds of groups to join the fight against pediatric cancer while funding education, research and discovery in the search for a cure against the life-threatening disease.

This year, Hackensack University Medical Center Foundation trustee, Stephen Martinez, of Ridgewood, NJ, and his team, were the top fundraisers, bringing in more than $25,000 to make an impact. In 2019, Martinez ran in the 2019 TCS New York City Marathon on Team Tackle Kids Cancer. He and his wife, Burgess, are both active runners and racing for Tackle Kids Cancer has been an important motivator and way to energize his friends while giving back to a meaningful cause.

Funds raised by Tackle Kids Cancer support patient care programs at the Children’s Hospitals as well as clinical trials and translational research at Hackensack Meridian Center for Discovery and Innovation (CDI), located in Nutley, NJ. The CDI is home to two important labs funded by the initiative that investigates new immunotherapy treatments for pediatric cancer and meets the clinical and research needs of children with rare central nervous system (CNS) tumors.

“We are so proud of our community and how our supporters answered our TeamTKC Captain Eli Manning’s call to get moving and become involved in Tackle Kids Cancer’s inaugural virtual race,” said Alfred Gillio, M.D., director, Children’s Cancer Institute. “Community support is vital to our efforts and together, we can make a positive impact in the fight against pediatric cancer to benefit patients here in our programs, and around the world. We thank every community member, supporter and patient who participated. We cannot do this important work without your dedication and support.”
To learn more about Tackle Kids Cancer, please visit tacklekidscancer.org or contact Amy Glazer, executive director, at amy.glazer@hmhn.org. To make a gift and support Eli’s Challenge at Tackle Kids Cancer, donate here.