Good Tasting And Lots Of Giving

Terri Magro (center, in white dress) and some of the hundreds of guest at the “Evening of Tasting and Giving” enjoy the opulent surroundings of the Carltun on the Park. (Photos courtesy of the Michael Magro Foundation)

Magro Foundation raises $121,000 for childhood cancer fight

When one performs tasks that one loves, it is never work. This adage holds true for Terrie Magro, who is vice president of the Hicksville-based Michael Magro Foundation (MMF). Terrie, husband and foundation President Paul and their son Marc have worked tirelessly to help children with cancer and their families who face the financial and emotional challenges of pediatric cancer. The foundation honors the life of their son Michael, who lost his fight against pediatric cancer at the age of 13.

Last month, the foundation held its 12th annual “Evening of Tasting and Giving,” which was held at The Carltun in East Meadow. More than 625 guests attended the event and raised more than $121,000. The evening featured 29 restaurants and five bakeries, as well as chocolatiers, gelato vendors, breweries and wineries from Long Island. Many had been a part of previous tasting events for the foundation. Among the newcomers were The Pie Shoppe, a bakery that recently opened on the southern tip of the West Village Green in Hicksville, which was able to set up a table with the most scrumptious, chocolate-enrobed homemade marshmallows. All jams and marshmallows from this bakery are made from scratch.

Terrie Magro stands next to a poster touting the Michael Magro Foundation. It was founded in memory of her 13-year-old son, a victim of cancer.
Terrie Magro stands next to a poster touting the Michael Magro Foundation. It was founded in memory of her 13-year-old son, a victim of cancer.

Supporters of the event had the opportunity to win raffle baskets that included everything from Victoria’s Secret items to a basket called “Tailgating with the Jets.” The larger items for the grand raffle included such offerings as a 48-inch Samsung SmartTV valued at $500, a signed Henrik Lundqvist #30 jersey and Adam Graves #9 picture with certificates of authenticity included for both New York Rangers players. The 50-plus raffle baskets were each hand crafted by the MMF’s dedicated basket-making committee. According to Terrie, “Those baskets surpassed anything we’d ever done to date.”

Educators from the Woodland Elementary School in Hicksville were new supporters. First-timer DJ Dean Koutsoumbis spun tunes as the guests milled through four different ballrooms to sample offerings by vendors. Soprano Lauren Jelencovich, who is international superstar Yanni’s featured vocalist, was on hand to perform live, accompanied by Louis Pannullo on his red accordion named “Scarlet.” She brilliantly transformed “The Prayer” into an angelic aria. It was nothing short of magical.

MMF’s 2016 honoree was Tom Priore of Priority Payment Systems. Announced by emcee Stacy Moutafis, Priore approached the podium and presented Terrie and Paul Magro with a check for $5,000. A check for $20,000 was then presented by the Michael Magro Foundation to the Cancer Center for Kids (CCFK) at Winthrop University Hospital to be used for the Project Soar program. Project Soar is the foundation’s flagship program that offers counseling and support for children with chronic illnesses who are returning to school, during or post-treatment.

According to Terrie, “Tom got involved with us when we spoke with him years ago about Project Soar. He was very interested, and when we told him that 100 percent of all funds raised go to the program, he was in.”

Just Desserts

Brian Fishman of Sweet Karma Desserts in Plainview offered his famous mousse cups as well as a cake sculpture of both Olaf, the snowman from the movie Frozen, and Yoda of  Star Wars fame.

Among the more than 600 in attendance at the fundraiser were Louis Pannullo, DDS, taking this selfie, and Lauren Jelencovich.
Among the more than 600 in attendance at the fundraiser were Louis Pannullo, DDS, taking this selfie, and Lauren Jelencovich.

Chocolatiers North Fork Chocolate and Chocolate Works of Garden City offered decadently enrobed chocolates for guests to sample. North Fork’s dark chocolate raspberry, which was created with local red raspberries, was a melt-in-your-mouth delicacy that tickled the taste buds and left one in want of more.

Dolce and Gelato’s Gino Parente related how he got involved with the MMF. “I was at an event for CCFK at Winthrop. I was really just serving gelato, nothing else. Chef Paul [Magro] signed me at his table, since it was early, and I was basically just standing around. Paul brought me over to his table, and when I realized what kind of guy he was, I knew I had to get involved with this event.”

Charlie Tola of Lulu’s Bakery in Fresh Meadows was a guest this year, although he’s had a table at the event for several years. “I was incredibly busy, because I was a contestant on the Food Network’s show Cake Wars. I’m here this year with Robert Ellinger, who is the president of the Guild of Baking and Pastry Arts. I’m a huge supporter of the foundation, and I’ve known Paul Magro for years. He’s a great guy, and this event just showcases that.”

Terrie Magro discussed a few highlights of the event.

“We had a sports memorabilia table and a music table this year, which was great. We also had five ‘Live Auction’ items. Tom Schaudel of Jewel Restaurant ran the live auction,” she said. “After those items were auctioned off, Tom threw in a dinner for 10 at his restaurant. There were two guests who were ‘battling it out’ to win the prize. Finally, Tom offered two private dinners for 10 to the two guests, which would take place in Chef Tom’s private tasting room. It was pretty amazing to watch.”

According to the Magros, this year’s fundraiser far surpassed those in years past, and they are incredibly grateful for their volunteers.

“Every year, we have so many people who help out and offer their time to show support. It means so much, and the events wouldn’t be as successful if we didn’t have them along for the ride,” she said.

Angela Lamia, who has been the photographer for the event since its inception, donated her time and materials to shoot beautiful pictures of the event every year.

“Terrie and Paul’s tragedy and strength has given hope to so many others,” Lamia said. “I’m here to support this amazing family that had to endure this tragedy. They turned their grief into a mission to help others who are suffering as well. How can I not help this heroic family that I admire so much?”

The love for Terrie, Paul and Marc was a common thread for all supporters of the event. Many spoke warmly of the dedication that the Magros have displayed by tirelessly working to raise funds for pediatric cancer. There were congratulatory messages, words of admiration and gratitude on the foundation’s Facebook page. Truly, a great time was had by all.

Expanding The Scope

The Michael Magro Foundation recently visited Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida with Siena Wealth Advisory Group board members to discuss MMF assisting their Children with Cancer hematology/oncology program. They are presently working with child life specialists and pediatric social workers to give these children a “home away from home”. SIENA, which has offices in both Melville and Florida, has been a huge supporter of MMF for many years. The foundation has pioneered an innovative program at Winthrop-University Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), which allows siblings of neonates to communicate with them in a safe, sterile environment. This is part of their “Bonding with Baby” program.

The foundation also offers two memorial scholarships of $500 each to Hicksville High School graduates yearly in Michael’s memory. The 501(c)(3) organization has grown in size and mission over the years and looks to be a formidable opponent against pediatric cancer for years to come.

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