The “Sean Lives On” 2012 Festival, held in memory of Sean Riley on April 28 at , was the culmination of four years of fundraising that enabled a family friendship to flourish and grow.
In 2008, then-Solomon Schechter seventh grader Zachary Kardisch of East Meadow learned that fellow student, Sean Riley, lost his battle with pediatric cancer. Meeting Sean’s father, Peter, convinced Zach that he had to do something to “let the Rileys know they were not alone.”
And so began this young man’s ongoing tribute to venerate Sean’s memory, underscored by his tireless fundraising efforts on behalf of children with cancer. Kardisch's first school-wide “pay-to-play” basketball tournament raised $600 in memory of his friend; the second competition included varsity basketball teams from the Long Island area and garnered $1,000.
Kardisch’s successful first attempts inspired him to create a larger, more ambitious music festival in Sean’s honor. Reserving Eisenhower Park as a venue, Kardisch signed a popular DJ, hired a graphic artist to design advertising, and used his Facebook page to generate interest and attendance for the April event which raised $10,000 to benefit the Cancer Center for Kids (CCFK) at Winthrop-University Hospital, where Sean was an active patient.
“Together, we have allowed the family to start focusing on the ‘full half’ of the glass…and to allow Sean’s memory to stay fresh in people’s minds," Kardisch said. "We are dedicated to preventing children from getting and suffering from this terrible disease.”
Winthrop’s Cancer Center for Kids is Nassau County’s largest outpatient facility for treating children with cancer and blood disorders. Membership in the National Cancer Institute’s Children’s Oncology Group—and international consortium of collaborating hospitals recognized as leaders in the treatment of childhood cancers—enables the CCFK staff to implement new treatments and cutting-edge protocols. As a collaborative Institute partner, the CCFK administers and coordinates research studies, disseminates clinical trial information and manages protocols.
To learn more about Winthrop’s Cancer Center for Kids, visit the website or call 516-663-9400.
What do you think of Kardisch's work to remember his friend? Tell us in the comments.