CRANFORD, NJ – What began as something personal, a way to honor the memory of a neighborhood friend, turned into a foundation, "Friends of Colin," that has donated about $25,000 to cancer research, specifically Ewing sarcoma.
Colin Maher was 16 years old when he succumbed to Ewing sarcoma, a rare pediatric bone cancer, on February 9, 2010. In 2011, three neighborhood friends; Ryan McGann, Gary Hoffman and Maggie McKay, all members of the foundations executive board, wanted to keep the memory and spirit of Maher alive. The idea for an egg-hunt in his honor, was a “no-brainer,” according to Ryan McGann, the organizations executive director, Maher would host a neighborhood egg-hunt every year. McGann stated, “Colin was passionate about candy, he would make sure every kid received the same amount of eggs and prizes. It just made sense to turn what Colin loved to do around and raise money and awareness for cancer research.”
The idea to begin a non-profit in Maher’s memory came from McGann. Once the concept for the egg-hunt developed,McGann, Hoffman and McKay realized they did not want their donations to go to a large charity, not focused on pediatric cancer. The group struggled with raising funds and gaining sponsorships for the event, McGann said. “Many people had difficulty taking three kids with an idea seriously.” So, he took it upon himself, bought a “501 (c) 3 Charity for Dummies” book and that is how “Friends of Colin” began.
“Friends of Colin,” sponsors events throughout the year in addition to its trademark egg-hunt. In June they host a “Call for a Cure,” benefit concert at CHS, where they partner with the musical department from the high-school. The fall brings their “Awareness Campaign,” in years past they have sold wristbands and distributed literature to the schools.
The fifth annual egg-hunt is happening this Saturday, March 28, 11:00 a.m. at Hanson Park. The event has grown since its inaugural hunt, the first year saw 60 participants and last year had about 150.
Friends of Colin works in partnership with Georgetown Medical Center, specifically Dr. Jeff Toretsky. Toretsky works solely on research in Ewing sarcoma, something the organization is firmly committed to sponsoring.
According to their website, the organization’s mission is: The Friends of Colin is a nonprofit organization committed to working towards a cure for Ewing sarcoma pediatric bone cancer. Fighting cancer contains two main components: awareness and fundraising. Awareness is accomplished through events and media that spread information on Ewing sarcoma. Hopefully, by telling others of the dangers of Ewing sarcoma and the underfundedness of its research, we can increase support for our cause.
For more information visit them at, www.friendsofcolin.org