David Plotkin made a promise to his Max, a promise he was determined to keep. On May 2nd, 2007, the night before his fourth birthday, Max Plotkin was diagnosed with a rare B-Cell Lymphoma in the bone of his right arm that then spread to his left knee. The news was devastating. As his parents, David and Annemarie Plotkin, researched the disease, they were shocked to discover that pediatric cancer is the most underfunded of all cancer research, while at the same time being the number one leading cause of death among children. David decided at that moment that he wanted to dedicate a substantial part of his life to raising money for research and helping low income families that are struggling with a similar issue that his family was. And that is how The Max Cure Foundation was born.
David spent significant time researching foundations, and realized that big ones such as Livestrong and Susan G. Komen are able to raise a lot of money because they inspire people and get people involved. Livestrong has been able to spread their message using the yellow LIVESTRONG bracelets, and Susan G. Komen has been “turning America pink.” David wanted to take a similar approach, and adopted the lion, which they named Lion Max, as the logo for the organization. “We picked a lion because lions represent courage and perseverance, and Lion Max embraces the story of a little boy who overcame a huge obstacle.”
The East End has shown amazing support to the foundation over the past few years and every Max Cure Foundation event embraces the community and encourages everyone to come join. When Max was in the hospital in New York receiving treatment, David recalls his constant pleas to take him back into the Hamptons, to go to the beach, to get out of the city. “I truly feel that the Amagansett air played a big part in helping to heal Max,” he says.
This year The Max Cure Foundation will be holding its 4th Annual Carnival on August 18 at the Ross School in East Hampton. Over the past three years, the carnival has brought in over a million dollars that the foundation has been able to contribute to research and those in need. David included his personal motto when asked about the price of each event, “Pediatric Cancer does not discriminate, therefore we need to make our events affordable so that everyone can experience what The Max Cure Foundation is truly about.” The carnival has received tremendous support each year, including support from celebrities such as Christie Brinkley, Aida Turturro, John Franco and Kelly Rutherford. Many of Max’s friends plan their summer vacations around the carnival so that they can be sure to be there.
It is truly a special event to be a part of, and the Plotkins cannot thank those enough who come and participate for what they have done for the foundation. Some of David’s favorite memories from past carnivals include children climbing up the mechanical bull, throwing their hands in the air, and screaming, “Roar for the Cure!” which is The Max Cure Foundation motto. And having his youngest son, Alexander, standing in front of the squirt gun trailer for over an hour and finally walking away with an over-sized Angry Bird stuffed animal, with a huge smile on his face. It is not only the big things that the foundation’s doing, but the small things as well that make it all worth it.
The Plotkins are looking forward to the release of Henry & Me, an animated film based on the story of a little boy with cancer. David is the executive producer along with John Franco, and it includes the voices of Richard Gere, Cyndi Lauper, Alex Rodriguez and C.C. Sabathia. David is sure that The Max Cure Foundation is going to benefit from the movie, and he is excited to see its reception.
Today, thankfully, Max is 9 years old and in remission. But The Max Cure Foundation’s work is far from done. Roar For A Cure will continue until one is found.
4th Annual Max Cure Carnival, August 18, noon – 4 p.m., The Ross School, 18 Goodfriend Drive (off Route 114), East Hampton, presented by Town. Info available and donations accepted at maxcurefoundation.org