Trumansburg Connection: Community spotlight: T-burg Takes on Pediatric Cancer


T-Burg Takes On Pediatric Cancer, a local non-profit organization with hometown roots, has expanded its reach to the Rochester and Syracuse areas, and aim to expand further into Buffalo and Albany. The organization, which focuses on “community outreach efforts on helping to make a difference in the lives of children who have been diagnosed with cancer and to assist their families in their time of great struggle,” was founded in 2010 by Tracy and Fred Vanderzee of Trumansburg, after several residents were affected by pediatric cancer. Since its founding the organization has held numerous fundraising events, donating hundreds of thousands of dollars to families in need, including a whopping $68,000 in 2018 alone.

The group relies heavily on Golisano Hospitals in vetting donation recipients; social workers work closely with the board to recommend recipients, although there is also a donation application that can be found on the organization’s website. Initial donations are generally made in the amount of $1,500 and are used for everyday expenses such as groceries, gas money to get back and forth to treatment, utility expenses, etc. Board member Kyle Mosher, who hand delivers the checks in person, notes that while most families affected by pediatric cancer and are in need of help live paycheck to paycheck, they generally have health insurance and stable housing, but are losing hours at work and just need help with the everyday expenses.

In some cases, families need a little more help, and the organization will make secondary donations, mainly paying bills directly rather than donating to the family. In fact, the organization has leased a car from the Maguire Family of Dealerships for a family and helped pay for a radon test in a home where it was thought radon may be a contributing factor to a pediatric cancer diagnosis. Of the donations, Tracy Vanderzee said, it’s “heartwarming and heart-wrenching at the same time.

In order to fund donations, the group hosts a variety of events throughout the year. Perhaps the most popular, and which generates the most revenue, is the annual Gala event, which will be held on March 9 at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel. Last year’s event - the eighth annual, netted over $60,000, mostly through the live and silent auctions with items donated by businesses and community members.

Trumansburg natives will appreciate that 100 of Mrs. O’Leary’s chocolate chip cookies were auctioned off for $1,100. The live auction, which is run by Mosher, makes the event fun and exciting, not only through the excitement of the bidding, but also Mosher’s outrageous suits, from neon pink to highlighter yellow, and everything in between. Mosher, at this point, is unable to comment on what the theme will be this year, but it is not to be missed. Tickets for the Gala are available on their website, and they are sure to sell out, so do not delay!

The next event is the Easter Egg Hunt, a community give back event at Taughannock Falls State Park on April 20. Although it is free to the community, the group does earn income, as the Park splits the cost of the eggs, and the community donates to the cause.

Other events through the year are guest bartending and dining for dollars at Little Venice, a Fall Family Fun day, which began in 2018 and was a huge success. New in 2019 is the first annual T-Burg Takes on Pediatric Cancer Fishing Tournament.

Ultimately, in addition to providing funds for families and research, T-burg Takes On Pediatric Cancer aims to expand throughout the state and increase awareness. According to the group’s website, “It is our goal to engage the community and help raise awareness and funds to support both families and scientific research to help find a cure for the various forms of pediatric cancer.”

Now that they have a stronghold in the Syracuse and Rochester areas, their next step is to collaborate with hospitals that serve pediatric cancer patients in Buffalo and Albany, covering the New York State area. While there are national organizations that assist families in need, spread awareness, and promote scientific research to eliminate pediatric cancer, supporting T-Burg Takes On Pediatric Cancer is a great way to connect locally. Unlike national organizations, this group has low administrative costs, with board members donating not only their time, but also their expertise, gas money, supplies, and more in order to reduce costs.

T-Burg Takes on Pediatric Cancer is a tax-exempt Charitable Organization under Internal Revenue Code Section 501 (c) (3). Valentine’s Day is a great day to donate; make a donation in a loved one’s name, or purchase tickets to the upcoming Gala for a fun night out. Learn more, donate, or volunteer by going to their website, The group is also in the running for a $5,000 donation in the fourth annual Give a Chance Charitable Lottery, which is accepting votes through March 1 and can be voted on every day.

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In Brief

Rotary Grant Recipients
Trumansburg Rotary President Michael Jimenez awarded the last of the winter season’s grants to four community groups at Rotary’s Feb. 7 dinner meeting at Trumansburg’s American Legion hall.

Receiving grants were the Interlaken Public Library for their Senior Art Enrichment Program; Tammy Parker of Trumansburg’s Russell I. Doig Middle School, for the Middle School actors’ educational trip to New York City to attend a musical theater workshop with actors from the Broadway cast of “Once on This Island,” a play the students were putting on at school, and then to attend a matinee performance of that play; Megan Williams and Steve Ryan of Trumansburg Elementary School’s Parent-Teachers Organization for their “Coats for Kids” program; and Trumansburg’s Charles O. Dickerson High School teacher Jane George and student Orion Vogel-Moore in support of the school’s Global Humanism Club trip to New York City to participate in a United Nations-sponsored meeting of U.S. and international students.

Trumansburg Rotary raises money for these and other community and international service projects through its summer barbecues, Golf Classic, Supermarket Sweepstakes (coming up April 3 at the ShurSave), and through grants from Rotary International and the surrounding Rotary district.
The club, which welcomes new members with an interest in public service, invites the community to talks of local and international interest. They are held on Thursday evenings at 7 p.m. at the Arthur E. Bouton American Legion Post at 4431 East Seneca Road, Trumansburg.


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