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Area Businessman Continues Parents’ Legacy by Donating $100,000 to Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to Assist Families of Pediatric Cancer Patients at Albany Med
Story Number is : 070217126
PROVIDED
Albany Medical Center

 
Provided
Richard Ostroff, of Slingerlands, (far left) presents a check for $100,000 to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Upstate New York/Vermont Chapter to financially assist families of pediatric cancer patients at Albany Medical Center. Pictured, from left: Ostroff; Jennifer Pearce, M.D., an attending oncologist at the Melodies Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders at the Bernard & Millie Duker Children’s Hospital at Albany Med; Maureen O'Brien Thornton, executive director, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society; Lucas Santoro, Melodies Center patient; and Carrie Hillenbrandt, vice president of sales and marketing, BBL Hospitality.
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Upstate New York/Vermont Chapter and Albany Medical Center today announced a $100,000 donation to financially assist families of pediatric cancer patients at Albany Med.

Richard Ostroff, of Slingerlands, an area businessman who continues his parents’ philanthropic legacy with the health organization, has established the Jules & Bonnie’s LLS Family Support Fund through the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to financially assist families of pediatric cancer patients at the Melodies Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders at the Bernard & Miller Duker Children’s Hospital at Albany Med. Ostroff will donate $10,000 per year for 10 years.

“Determination, concern, gratitude: Those are the three words that guided my parents’ approach to community service and philanthropy,” said Ostroff. “This donation to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to financially assist families of pediatric cancer patients at Albany Med is my opportunity to make a lasting memory on behalf of everything my parents valued.”

Young cancer patients often require treatment five days a week for several weeks, placing a financial burden on families. The fund will be used to help families pay for transportation, meals and lost wages during this often stressful and financially draining experience, Ostroff said.

In addition to Ostroff’s generous donation, he enlisted BBL Hospitality, which owns the popular Recovery Sports Grill restaurant chain, as a partner that donated $5,000 in meal cards, $1,000 a year for five years, to the Melodies Center. BBL Hospitality owns and operates a chain of 12 sports-themed restaurants, including a location on New Scotland Avenue, Albany, across the street from Albany Med.

“We would like to thank the Jules & Bonnie’s LLS Family Support Fund for asking us to be a part of this impactful foundation. As we celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the Recovery Sports Grill across from Albany Medical Center, we are thrilled to be able to give back to the families who are visiting during a very difficult time in their lives,” said Ken Waldie, vice president of restaurant operations, BBL Hospitality.

“Rick’s generous gift supports the LLS mission, which is not only to find cures for blood cancers, but to improve the quality of life of patients and their families,” said Maureen O’Brien Thornton, executive director, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. “His donation and partnership with LLS and the Melodies Center will give much-needed financial assistance and some peace of mind to children and families as they deal with a blood cancer diagnosis and treatment.”

Ostroff, president & CEO of Ostroff Associates in Albany, knew that his parents were founding members of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s local chapter in the early 1960s and had both served in leadership roles on the local and national level. His father was a board member and served as secretary of the National Leukemia Society of America. His mother served as chapter president and secretary. The announcement was fittingly made on his late mother’s 94th birthday.

However, what the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s 2016 “Man of the Year” didn’t know until just a few years ago was that he had been treated as a child for a rare immune disorder diagnosed as gamma globulin anemia. He made the discovery while reading a framed 1968 article from Albany’s Knickerbocker News profiling his parents’ volunteer efforts that had hung in his home for years.

“We never discussed it in my house,” said Ostroff, referring to his childhood health issues that had his parents taking him to the leukemia floor at the Boston Children’s Hospital for treatment. “That was the first time I learned about my true connection to the cause.”

This new revelation gave him an entirely different personal and philanthropic perspective. Ostroff, who serves on the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Board of Directors and is the corporate co-chair for the Upstate New York Light The Night event, approached the organization with the idea of financially assisting families of pediatric cancer patients at the Melodies Center.

Jennifer Pearce, M.D., an attending oncologist in the Melodies Center, said the fund and BBL Hospitality’s donation will help give Melodies Center families a financial boost at a time when they need it most.

“On behalf of our patients and their families, we cannot thank Mr. Ostroff enough for his generous donation to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and to BBL Hospitality for their donation to the Melodies Center,” said Dr. Pearce. “These donations will help ease the emotional and financial burdens our families often face during treatment and gives them one less thing to worry about and focus instead on seeing their children get healthy again.”



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