Last Tuesday, the Kuck family gathered in Hauppauge as Suffolk County Legislator Kevin McCaffrey submitted a proclamation that only furthers the effort Hicksville’s Kim and Tom Kuck are making to raise awareness of Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Giloma (DIPG). The proclamation states that Suffolk County officially recognizes May 17 as DIPG Awareness Day. Nassau County Executive Laura Curran submitted a similar proclamation last year, stating that Nassau County, too, recognizes May 17 as DIPG Awareness Day.
In June of 2015, the Kucks learned that their daughter, Amanda, had DIPG, a rare pediatric brain cancer affecting the brain stem. At present, DIPG has neither a cure nor a chance of survival; 5-year-old Amanda lost her battle to the disease in January of 2016, just a few days after her fifth birthday.
The Kucks are the founders of Mandy’s Mark, the New York chapter of The Cure Starts Now. Through their foundation, they’ve tirelessly worked to raise thousands of dollars for pediatric cancer research in the hopes that a cure will be found. With the success of having both Long Island counties instate DIPG awareness day, the family now has their sights set on state-wide recognition.
“Acts like having the proclamation declared are so important to us as a family and as advocates for pediatric cancer research through The Cure Stars Now,” said Kim. “We’re honored that people want to learn about Mandy and her story, and are touched that legislators find it just as critical as us to raise awareness for DIPG and other childhood cancers.”
Last October, the family secured a street sign in Hicksville in memory of their daughter. Nassau County Legislator Rose Marie Walker, a fellow Hicksville resident, along with other Town of Oyster Bay officials, was present for the dedication ceremony. The sign, located at the intersection of Autumn and Summer lanes, features a gold ribbon in between a pair of angel wings, with the words “In Memory of Amanda ‘Mandy’ Kuck.”
“Our hope and our goal is that continued awareness will lead to donation, which will lead to research,” Kim explained. “With research, we’ll be able to eradicate not just one cancer—DIPG—but all cancers.”