Thirteen-year-old TJ is not especially anxious about the Corona virus pandemic. Unfortunately, isolation, fear and uncertainty aren’t new to him. Since his diagnosis of leukemia four years ago, TJ spent a lot of time quarantined from the outside world in the hospital or at home, and his mom says he learned to be ok with the ups and downs, the good days and the bad.

TJ found out he had leukemia at the age of nine, on June 16, 2016, a day his mom Shannon calls “literally the worst day of my life.” Just six months earlier TJ learned he had type one juvenile diabetes. “Boy, was that one of my worst years,” he says.

The years that followed were definitely no easier. TJ says his doctors called him “a kid whose body literally hated chemo drugs,” as he got any and all side effect, some of them excruciatingly painful. Sometimes he was put on a morphine drip for weeks at a time to make the pain bearable. For four years, Trevor and his mom spent every birthday, holiday and summer in the hospital. Shannon was told she has PTSD from watching her son suffer and fight for his life so many times. “I watched my son go through things I wouldn’t wish on my own worst enemy.”

ECF began helping TJ and his family right after he was diagnosed. “As my mom says, that is the day our guardian angel Erin entered our lives.” ECF caseworker Erin offered more than just counseling for TJ and his mom. She became their emotional support system, a shoulder to cry on, a source of comfort and compassion during times Shannon said “she couldn’t even talk without crying.” Shannon is the main provider in her family and was not able to work over the past four years because of all the time spent caring for TJ. During that time, ECF helped pay their household bills, delivered monthly groceries, and brought them Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. TJ went to ECF family events such as the holiday party, which his moms says gave him “a safe place to be around other kids just like him and a place to just be him.” She is grateful to ECF for “embracing us and including us in such a beautiful family.”

TJ unfortunately continues to deal with many chemo drug side effects, such as headaches and painful neuropathy in his legs. Nonetheless, “he continues to hold his head up high, even when he doesn’t want to,” says his mom. “And he continues to fight.” Though 13 year old Trevor was born in the 2000’s, his mom calls him “my 80’s kid.” He loves 80’s music and movies, as well as superheroes, comics and video games from any era. “If you know anything about his likes,” says his mom, “he can talk to you for hours.”

In February, TJ and his mom attended ECF’s Crystal Gala. His mom said they had “one of the most AWESOME nights EVER.” TJ confidently read a funny and moving speech to the crowd of 200 guests, including Erin their caseworker, who gave TJ a standing ovation along with the rest of the room. “I can sit here all night and continue to say all the ways ECF has helped me and my family, but then we wouldn’t get much dancing done tonight,” said TJ in his speech. “So in conclusion, I would like to thank ECF most of all for just allowing me to be a kid.”


Additional Newsletter Articles

ECF Families Treated to Delicious Restaurant Meals!

ECF Families Treated to Delicious Restaurant Meals!

In May, the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office (BCPO) and Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association 221 (PBA) delivered fresh, hot meals from Caffe Anello in Westwood to some of our local ECF families! Chef Johnny from Caffe Anello and the PBA (both pictured here preparing...

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Volunteer Story: Kay O’Connell, 41 Years of Service to ECF

Volunteer Story: Kay O’Connell, 41 Years of Service to ECF

​Giving back is what motivated Kay O’Connell to begin helping out at the Emmanuel Cancer Foundation’s Northern Regional Center.  Kay, 89 years young, wears many hats; wife, mom of 4, grandmother of 9, teacher and ECF volunteer for the past 31 years.    Kay’s service...

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Delight’s Journey

Delight’s Journey

The word “delight” means happiness, joy. Thirteen-year-old Delight lives up to her name, finding happiness and joy despite the challenges of her cancer journey. Delight was diagnosed with leukemia at age nine, two years after her family’s move to NJ from abroad....

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Nicole is Doing Great!

Nicole is Doing Great!

​We love success stories, and Nicole is one of them. She is a healthy 18 year old who is about to graduate from high school. But 15 years ago, Nicole wasn’t so healthy. She was diagnosed at age three with acute lymphoblastic leukemia and had to endure grueling chemo...

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Leslie is Our Hero

Leslie is Our Hero

“A hero is an ordinary individual who finds strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.” –Christopher Reeve Little Leslie is as beautiful as she is brave, enduring so much more than a 19 month old should while remaining joyful and smiling....

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Where to Find Us


77 Brant Ave.
Suite 304
Clark, NJ 07066
(908) 322-4323
Fax: (732) 943-7529

Joann Passantino
Executive Director, ext. 16

Victoria Shestack Aronoff
Development Director, ext. 15

Trish Picone
Accountant, ext. 12

Gloria Pocchio
Office Manager, ext. 10

Central Regional Center

77 Brant Ave.
Suite 304
Clark, NJ 07066
(908) 322-4323 x17

Barbara Kopel
Sr. Central Regional Director

Southern Regional Center

451 Beech Ave.
Woodbury Heights, NJ 08097
(856) 853-4803

Mary Ann Sullivan 
Southern Regional Director

Eastern Regional Center

1710 Highway 71
Suite 2
Wall, NJ 07719
(732) 282-2324

Rosemarie Contreras
Eastern Regional Director

Northern Regional Center

174 Paterson Ave.
PO Box 212
Midland Park, NJ 07432
(201) 612-8118

Inessa Rome
Northern Regional Director



The Emmanuel Cancer Foundation is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. All donations to the Emmanuel Cancer Foundation are tax-exempt to the extent allowed by law. Tax ID #22-2459774