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Pediatric Cancer Patients Receive Daniel Brooks Scholarship Awards to Help Fund Pursuit of Higher Education

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Pediatric Cancer Patients Receive Daniel Brooks Scholarship Awards to Help Fund Pursuit of Higher Education

Awards funded by Sunrise Fund at Stony Brook Children’s Hospital

Daniel brooks education award group photo am3 banner
At the Daniel Brooks Memorial Educational Award ceremony are, front row, left to right: Michael Maiale from Shirley (attending Suffolk County Community College); Christian Cruz from Hauppauge (SCCC); Caitlin Mason from East Setauket (Boston College); Maria Camilla Garcia Caro from Brentwood (SCCC); Nicole Brockhoff from Shirley (SCCC); Alexandra Solowinska from Mattituck (Stony Brook University); Alyssa Korpi from Holbrook (Stony Brook University); Caitlin Zaugg from Medford (Fairfield University); and Kaitlyn Suarez from Wading River (Union College). Second row, left to right, are: Zachary Foreman from Coram (Stony Brook University); Steven Fratello from Manhasset (SUNY Binghamton); Ben Koster from Centereach (Hofstra University); Donna Coane from Commack (SUNY New Paltz); Brian Wecker from Nesconset (SCCC); Christopher Tucciarone from Lake Grove (Widener University); and Taylor Vetrano from Lake Ronkonkoma (SCCC). Back row, left to right, are: Thomas Romano, and Nancy and Joseph DiNero, from the Knights of Columbus; Paulette Walker; Cara Giannillo; Rosemary Mahan; Debra Giugliano; William & Lenore Brooks, Dan’s father and stepmother; Dr. Robert Parker; Jeanne Greenfield; Jeannie Gaspard; Dr. Laura Hogan; and Nicole Gutman. Not pictured are Alexis Alpert from Ronkonkoma (SCCC); Amanda Baker from Massapequa (SUNY Binghamton); Alana Braschowitz from Commack (SUNY Purchase); Andrew Doskotz from South Setauket (SCCC); Leeanthony Edwards from Patchogue (SCCC); Nicolina Risco from Stony Brook (SCCC); Ivette Rivera from Brentwood (SCCC) and James Thompson from Lake Grove (Central Connecticut State University).

STONY BROOK, N.Y., August 21, 2013 – Alexandra Solowinska is grateful to the Stony Brook University Cancer Center for helping her fight to overcome her cancer. Now she is benefiting from a scholarship award that will help her pursue her dream of becoming a doctor at Stony Brook University School of Medicine.

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Dr. Robert Parker MD, FAAP, Director of the Pediatric Hematology/Oncology program at Stony Brook University Cancer Center, congratulates Alexandra Solowinska, 18, of Mattituck, one of 24 recipients of the Daniel Brooks Memorial Education awards, given each year to students who have been treated for cancer to help fund their education at a college or trade school.

Solowinska, 18, daughter of Elizabeth and Arkadiusz Solowinska of Mattituck, is one of 24 pediatric oncology patients who received the Daniel Brooks Memorial Educational Awards, which were presented in a ceremony hosted on Aug. 9 by the Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at Stony Brook Children’s Hospital. A graduate of Mattituck-Cutchogue Junior/Senior High School, she will attend Stony Brook University in the fall.
Solowinska addressed the audience to express her gratitude, not only for the award, but for everything the Cancer Center has done for her.
“Despite having to receive chemotherapy here, I consider Stony Brook my home, and the doctors and nurses part of my family,” she said.
The Daniel Brooks Memorial Education awards are given each year to students who have been treated for cancer at Stony Brook Cancer Center to help fund their education at a college or trade school. Established in 2003, the awards are supported through the Sunrise Fund, which was created in 1999 to raise awareness and funds for Pediatric Hematology/Oncology programs at Stony Brook Children’s. Since its inception, the awards have totaled $180,000 in support for students.
The awards were established in memory of Daniel Brooks of Port Jefferson, who was treated for leukemia at the Cancer Center as a teenager in the 1990s. Following his treatment, Brooks obtained a degree in special education. Since he could empathize with children undergoing treatment and perhaps inspire them, Brooks returned to the Cancer Center to develop a program of hope for them.
Working with the healthcare professionals at Stony Brook, he offered his unique perspective as a survivor who had faced the challenges of returning to school. He also provided his perspective as a teacher to help develop Stony Brook’s School Re-entry Program, which helps children undergoing treatment for cancer to return to school when medically cleared. Brooks lost his life in 2002 in a motor vehicle accident.
“This is the eleventh year we have given scholarships to our current and former patients who are cancer survivors who are furthering their education,” said Debra Giugliano, RN, MS, Nurse Practitioner in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology. “Dan’s input was invaluable to our current program. It’s fitting that this award is named for Dan, whose spirit and dedication to education and children with cancer endure through this award program.”

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Alexandra Solowinska, 18, of Mattituck, shares her story of survivorship and gratitude at the annual Daniel Brooks Memorial Education Awards, given annually to students who have been treated for cancer to help fund their education at a college or trade school.

At the awards ceremony, Robert Parker, MD, FAAP, Director of the Pediatric Hematology/Oncology program, presented certificates to attendees as their families and friends looked on. A reception followed the presentation in the Charles B. Wang Center on the Stony Brook University campus.

This year’s guest of honor at the ceremony was Joseph DiNero from the Suffolk County Chapter of the Knights of Columbus, who serves as fundraising chairman for the chapter. Funds raised by the Knights of Columbus support the scholarship program through the Sunrise Fund.
“All the good works we do are based on four core principles: charity, unity, fraternity and patriotism,” DiNero said. “It is not what the Knights of Columbus does for the Sunrise Fund, it is what the Sunrise Fund does for the Knights of Columbus in the way it has motivated our chapter to help children with cancer.”


About Stony Brook Children’s:

Established in June 2010, Stony Brook Children’s is Suffolk County’s only children’s hospital. More than 7,000 children and adolescents are admitted each year. Stony Brook Children’s operates 100 pediatric beds and has more than 140 full-time pediatric physicians and surgeons in 30 different specialties and over 200 voluntary pediatric faculty members. The hospital is the Level 4 Regional Perinatal Center for our area and has a Level 3 Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. It is home to the nation’s first Pediatric Multiple Sclerosis Center and also offers a Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Program, Pediatric Cardiology Program, Pediatric HIV and AIDS Center, Cystic Fibrosis Center and the Cody Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities. To learn more, visit
About the Sunrise Fund:

The Sunrise Fund was founded in 1999 by Susan Shiebler and Maureen Brennan, whose children were treated for cancer at Stony Brook University Hospital. The fund was established to increase awareness about childhood cancer and to raise funds for specific projects including a respite center, a playroom, extended support services, facilities and programs that meet our families’ growing needs, and vital research into the causes and treatment of childhood cancers.  The Sunrise Fund helps sustain the Outpatient Pediatric Hematology and Oncology program of Stony Brook Children’s Hospital, the only pediatric oncology program on Long Island tied directly to a major research university. To learn more, visit

© Stony Brook University 2013

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