Sept. 15 designated Tackle Kids Cancer Day

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HACKENSACK, N.J. — A New Jersey nonprofit tied to Hackensack University Medical Center celebrated the designation of national Tackle Kids Cancer Day at the hospital on Friday.

Children battling cancer and their families attended and brought checks for research.

"Kaia and me gave them a couple of checks,” said Niamh Devlin, 9.

Niamh and Kaia Carroll became friends after meeting at HUMC for treatment.

“I gave them $1,000,” said Kaia, also 9.

Her parents say Kaia’s determination is what keeps them going.

“You see them, they get up, they smile, they want to go to school,” Darlene Carroll said. “That is truly the biggest inspiration you can have: the kids.”

To continue the celebration and cause of raising money for a cure, Tackle Kids Cancer is kicking off a weekend filled with fundraising events. On Saturday, they will be seeking donations at Vineyard Vines in the Garden State Plaza Mall in Paramus. On Sunday, they’ll be on the field of the New York Red Bulls soccer team at Red Bull Arena in Harrison.

“The money is for research. Pediatric research is really poorly funded by the government,” said Dr. Alfred Gillio, director of The Children’s Cancer Institute at HUMC.

About 4 percent of federal funding from the National Cancer Institute goes toward cancer research for kids.