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Mom Seeks New Blood for Cancer Charity

Linda Brenner of Amawalk watched her son fight cancer as a child. He's 16 now and has been free of acute lymphocytic leukemia long enough that by all practical measures, he's cured. Now she's helping other children beat their diseases.

“When you tell a kid they have cancer, it's tough but they bounce back. The parents are the ones that need a reality check,” Brenner says of the indomitable spirit of children. “Just because your child has cancer doesn't mean it's time to become all, 'Woe is me.'”

Brenner is on the board for the Valhalla-based Children's Cancer Fund with a goal of giving other families hope. Research facilities, outpatient services and social workers for family counseling have all been paid for through the fund.

Now she is focusing on attracting “new blood” to the almost entirely volunteer organization. The social workers get paid, but budget concerns have resulted in staffing cuts. Everyone else, according to Brenner, works as a volunteer with the Children's Cancer Fund because they care.

The mission of the social workers is what Brenner sees as vital for helping families pull through a cancer diagnosis. “When you're treating a child with cancer and preparing them mentally for what's ahead, you're really treating the whole family,” she says.

To help find new faces to join their cause and put a little something into the coffers, the fund is hosting a summer soiree June 24 at Crabtree's Kittle House in Chappaqua. Tickets for the wine event start at $100 per person. Information is available on its website .

If the event leads to more research funds and an interest from potential volunteers, Brenner will be happy. “It's really a chance to help make a difference in someone's life,” she says.

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