Morristown Beard senior Andrew Low final Valerie Fund hockey benefit

Andrew Low was inspired to fight cancer even before he went to high school.

In 2016, both of her paternal grandparents died within six months. Then the family dog, Ellie, died under the Christmas tree.

As a freshman, Low and the Morristown Beard varsity ice hockey team started a fundraiser for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis. The following year, Low founded Kids Ice Cancer, a 501c3 nonprofit dedicated to helping the Valerie Fund.

Established in 1976 in memory of Valerie Goldstein, The Valerie Fund provides care and support for children with cancer and blood disorders at seven centers in New York and New Jersey.

“I really wanted to do something in my local community, to help those around me,” said Low, who lives in North Caldwell.

“Every day we are so lucky to be able to walk on the ice and do what we love. There are so many kids our age who are not able to do what they love because they fight these battles every day day.”

Morristown Beard's Andrew Low #17 holds the Championship trophy after their 4-3 win over Morris Knolls/Hills in the Mennen Cup Final at Mennen Arena in Morristown on Monday February 14, 2022.

Low recruited about 40 hockey players, many from Morristown Beard, for an annual fundraising hockey game. This year’s Kids Ice Cancer All-Star Game takes place at 7 p.m. on June 5 at Codey Arena.

Flashback to first year! Morristown-Beard Hockey Team Holds Cancer Fundraiser

After making $14,000 for St. Jude’s in his freshman year, Low’s initial goal was $100,000 in three years. But Kids Ice Cancer surpassed that in its first year.

At press time, Kids Ice Cancer was just short of its three-year goal of $250,000. Brothers Connor and Brendan Tartaglione were top fundraisers, with around $16,000 combined.

Low sends out weekly reports on each player’s individual donations and sponsorships, trying to get his friends “to be competitive, because we’re all competitive at heart.”

Each child at Valerie Fund is assigned a psychosocial team, including a child life specialist and social worker to help the patient and family adjust during treatment. It costs about $1,000 a day, so this fundraiser raised 250 days of psychosocial services.

“Never in the history of the Valerie Fund have we seen someone so young lead something to raise so much money,” said Bunny Flanders, director of marketing and communications.

“Having the tenacity and the will to campaign for three years through a pandemic is pretty cool. I think it’s an inspiration for other young people to get involved in the philanthropy.”

Jane Havsy is a storyteller for the Daily Record and, part of the USA TODAY Network. For full access to live scores, breaking news and analysis, subscribe today.

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