Community Foundation of New Jersey

CFNJ’s Jam Kancer in the Kan Foundation Makes Grant to the Marisa Tufaro Foundation

February 9, 2018

As the winners of a Kan Jam tournament designed to raise money for patients and families afflicted with cancer, Jennifer and John Fischer were afforded the opportunity to select a charity to which they could make a generous donation.

The Fischers, who both work in the Edison Township Public Schools system, named The Marisa Tufaro Foundation as the beneficiary of what became an amazing $2,500 grant via a recommendation from the Jam Kancer in the Kan Foundation Fund of the Community Foundation of New Jersey.

Founded four years ago and utilizing the popularity of the backyard game Kan Jam, the Jam Kancer in the Kan Foundation has raised more than $400,000 since its inception.

The tournament in which the Fischers participated was held last summer at the Highland Swim Club in Scotch Plains, where two local families that cancer has impacted – the Crimmins and the Goldbergs – have orchestrated an event each of the past four years.

Jamey Crimmins was instrumental in making the generous grant to our tax-exempt nonprofit on behalf of the Fischers possible.

Jennifer Fischer is an Edison Township Public Schools staff development trainer. Her husband, John, is a teacher at Woodrow Wilson Middle School in the township. Marisa Tufaro was an honor roll student at Edison Township’s James Monroe Elementary School and Herbert Hoover Middle School before her untimely passing on January 30, 2017. Marisa’s mother, Cyndi, is the principal at Lindeneau Elementary School in the district.

Cyndi and her husband Greg founded The Marisa Tufaro Foundation, whose mission is to help children in need throughout the greater Middlesex County area, in loving memory of their daughter.

Since its inception just over six months ago, The Marisa Tufaro Foundation has already made a profound impact, assisting children associated with Bristol-Myers Squibb Children’s Hospital, Saint Peter’s University Children’s Hospital, Hands of Hope, Kiddie Keep Well Camp, the Lakeview School, Special Strides Therapeutic Riding Center, the Ronald McDonald House of Central Jersey, Make-A-Wish New Jersey and others. The foundation, which serves as Marisa’s legacy, is scheduled to announce two new initiatives in the coming weeks.

Born with a complex cardiac defect that required six open-heart surgeries, Marisa died at the age of 13 after postoperative complications from a heart transplant developed into a rare form of stage IV cancer, to which she succumbed following a valiant fight.

Jennifer and John won the 56-team Kan Jam tournament in which teams are comprised of male and female partners, usually a husband and wife, committed to raising $500 each to participate in the event. The top 16 teams advanced out of the initial field of 56 to a Sweet 16 format, from which the Fischers emerged victorious.

Proceeds from a 2016 Jam Kancer in the Kan event were donated to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) in support of the outstanding treatment 13-year-old Scotch Plains resident Kyle Brainard received.

All six of Marisa’s open-heart surgeries were performed at CHOP, where she received love and outstanding medical care.

The Marisa Tufaro Foundation recently made a donation to partially fund a Make-A-Wish trip to Walt Disney World Resort for cancer survivor Shane O’Donnell, a three-year-old boy from Middlesex who continues to fight a winning battle against high-risk neuroblastoma.

Like Kyle Brainard, Shane O’Donnell also received outstanding medical care from CHOP’s oncology unit. Shane endured surgery to remove a tumor, six rounds of chemotherapy, two stem cell transplants, 12 rounds of radiation and six rounds of immunotherapy.

Interestingly, Kyle Brainard was in Florida for his Make-A-Wish just two weeks before Shane O’Donnell, attending the NFL Pro Bowl in Orlando.

“Jam Kancer in the Kan,” according to the Jam Kancer in the Kan foundation website, “is the most unique and universally appealing fundraising platform around. Based upon the popular game Kan Jam, Jam Kancer in the Kan was created in 2014 by four friends whose lives had been ravaged by this disease. Desiring to help others avoid the pain they felt, they enlisted local friends and families to join their fundraising efforts and the annual Jam Kancer In The Kan Fundraising Tournament was born.”

Last year, New York Islanders star Anders Lee raised an additional $100,000 for children suffering from cancer with his own Kancer Jam event.

To learn more about Jam Kancer In The Kan, please visit the organization’s website or e-mail info@jamkancerinthekan.com.