MONROE TWP., NJ - Make-A-Wish New Jersey posthumously honored the wish of 2 ½ year-old Penelope (Penny), who recently passed away after her courageous battle with neuroblastoma during a private ceremony on Tuesday. 

Penny’s wish was to provide a contribution to Tackle Kids Cancer, a philanthropic initiative of Hackensack Meridian Children’s Health Children’s Cancer Institute, to raise money for pediatric cancer research and patient care programs at Hackensack Meridian Children’s Health at Joseph M. Sanzari Children's Hospital and K. Hovnanian Children's Hospital. Penny’s wish was granted through the presentation of a donation to Tackle Kids Cancer, alongside her parents, to honor her memory and help other children fighting their own battles with pediatric cancer.

“We are so heartwarmingly moved by Penny and her family’s compassion in thinking of Tackle Kids Cancer,” said Alfred Gillio, M.D., director, Children’s Cancer Institute, Hackensack Meridian Children’s Health. “Penny could have wished for anything, like a special toy or a fun-filled experience, but she chose to make a wish that would benefit other children like her. Her generosity and legacy will forever live on through the important research we do to find a cure for pediatric cancer, and we will never forget her incredible spirit and bright smile."

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Penny’s wish will provide Tackle Kids Cancer with essential funds needed to continue their work in supporting clinical trials and funding innovative patient care and translational research at Hackensack Meridian Center for Discovery and Innovation (CDI), located in Nutley, NJ. The CDI is home to two important labs funded by Tackle Kids Cancer that investigate new immunotherapy treatments for pediatric cancer and meet the clinical and research needs of children with rare central nervous system (CNS) tumors. 

Make-A-Wish New Jersey presented Penny’s wish with special guests from the New York Football Giants. As a complete surprise for Penny’s parents, former New York Giants quarterback and #TeamTKC Captain Eli Manning joined the ceremony and honored Penny’s wish and her legacy.

“Today is a special day, for many reasons,” said Tom Weatherall, president and CEO of Make-A-Wish New Jersey. “We are honored to stand here with our longstanding partners from Hackensack Meridian University Medical Center, the Children’s Cancer Institute, and Eli Manning, wish granter and captain for Tackle Kids Cancer, to celebrate Penny, her memory and her legacy, with her parents Cassandra and Jack. Penny’s wish to give has brought all three of our organizations together, alongside Penny’s family, to honor her memory and the impact her wish will have on other children courageously battling cancer. Today’s ceremony here at the Wishing Place will forever remain in all of our hearts, and we will never forget Penny’s generous spirit.”

The New York Giants and Manning have been longtime supporters and friends to both Make-A-Wish and Tackle Kids Cancer. During his time with the New York Giants, Eli Manning and his teammates worked closely with Make-A-Wish and granted nearly 70 wishes to children with critical illnesses from across the country. 

Penny’s wish was granted at the Samuel & Josephine Plumeri Wishing Place, home of Make-A-Wish New Jersey, in Monroe Township, which opened in December 2011. 


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