After twice beating juvenile cancer, Carly Rose Nieves is channeling that fighting spirit to support families that are also facing life-threatening illnesses.
Since the Middle Village native and her family founded the eponymous Carly Rose Foundation in 2016, the charity has paid $15,000 worth of medical bills for families in need. That’s in addition to related efforts, such as partnering with Carly’s high school, Christ the King High School, to host blood drives.
“It opened my eyes to everything we take for granted in our lives and has helped me look at things from a different perspective than most teens/young adults would normally view things,” she says of her overcoming cancer.
She is now one of 375,000 adult survivors of children’s cancer in the United States.
Carly was 7 years old when she was first diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in 2003. She beat the disease through chemotherapy and blood transfusions but relapsed at age 12. She beat cancer a second time and owes her victory to strangers who donated blood and platelets.
After graduating LaGuardia Community College with honors, Carly now works as a substitute teacher and teaching assistant at her old high school while also running events for CRF and telling her inspirational story.
This month, CRF will host their annual Christmas in July party to raise money for the charity and provide a fun afternoon for the children being treated by the Cohen Children’s Medical Center’s Hematology/Oncology unit. There will be food, face painting, characters, music, and more. Santa is also promised to make an appearance and give out gifts.
“It’s a nice, happy occasion to help them have a nice day out,” says Lisa Horner, Nieves’ mother and founder of CRF. “We try to make life a little easier For families.”
Visit “How to Help” section of carlyrose.org for an Amazon Wishlist of toys that Santa will hand out and other items requested by child cancer survivors. Christmas in July will take place from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. July 29 at Plattduetsche Park in Franklin Square. For more information, contact Lisa Horner at [email protected] or call 917-620-8716.