When Jillian Zuch learned her cousin Morgan had cancer, she wanted to help. So the nine-year Weston girl gathered a few of her friends together and made jewelry, including lady bug charms, to sell at a fund-raiser for a Long Island preschool for children undergoing cancer treatment.
The preschool, called The Morgan Center, was founded in 2003 by Morgan’s parents, Nancy and Rod Zuch. Morgan was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia at the age of two in 2000.
While undergoing chemotherapy at the time, Morgan had a suppressed immune system and could not interact with other children or go to preschool. So her parents decided to open a preschool for children with suppressed immune systems so they, too, could have fun and enjoy an early childhood education experience.
In 2003, Morgan finished her chemotherapy treatments and is now cured of cancer. She attends middle school in Long Island.
The Morgan Center, a non-profit organization, continues its mission to provide a safe environment for children with cancer. It operates 10 months a year, and its services are provided for free at the center’s site in Plainview, N.Y.
A typical program for the students consists of free play, circle time, arts and crafts, show and tell, lunch time and sticker time.
Morgan frequently visits the center and provides inspiration to others.
Wanting to help
Jillian fully realized the nature of her cousin’s battle with cancer about a year ago and wanted to find a way to help but wasn’t sure what to do.
Her initial idea was to play piano in front of Peter’s Market to collect money, but her mother, Therese Zuch, said the thought of bringing a piano to Weston Center proved to be a bit too challenging.
Instead, Jillian decided to raise money for The Morgan Center by creating jewelry from glass beads and charms.
Her friends Chelsea Greenberg, Olivia Hynes and Lindsey Greenberg offered to help, and the girls made a number of pieces that were sold at the center’s annual fund-raiser.
“The Morgan Center is so grateful for everyone’s contribution and we’re thrilled that this group of girls wanted to reach out to kids who needed their help,” Ms. Zuch said.
For more information about The Morgan Center and its programs, visit themorgancenter.org.