Three months ago, Lou Chiera thought of a way to continue to help those battling cancer.
Chiera, who presides over the Chiera Family Foundation, annually has a two-day fundraising event with the proceeds going to the N.I.C.K. (Nothing is Impossible for Cancer Kids) charitable endeavor. At this year’s event, he announced the #PlayitForward initiative.
The Chiera foundation has raised more than $3.3 million over the past 23 years to provide summer-camp and college-scholarship opportunities to area youth. The foundation was formed 23 years ago as a tribute to Lou’s father who passed away from cancer.
“I came up with the #PlayitForward concept and Bridgestone partnered with us to put the kids pictures on the outside of the sleeve of golf-ball packages,” Chiera said. Companies or country clubs can also put their logos on the opposite side of the packages for co-branding at other charity golf tournaments.
H. Norman Schwarzkopf to create a free, safe and medically sound camp environment that enriches the lives of children with serious illnesses. Since opening, more than 62,000 seriously ill children and family members have had the opportunity to attend camp for free.
Chiera said his late father would be proud.
“I know my father is looking down,” Chiera said. “When we started it, we started it as a tribute to him since he was a big parks and recreation guy. To see how big it has grown and to know it is in his name and that we have helped so many kids [through it] has been great.”
Last year, the Chiera Family Foundation partnered with First Tee of Broward to put 12 children who are undergoing chemotherapy through the camp program.
“They learn about life lessons, nutrition and exercise and they also learn how to play golf,” Chiera said. “It’s kind of a cool thing. It gives them something to do on the weekend after they have been going through chemo all week.”
For more information or to get involved with the Chiera Family Foundation, visit ChieraFamilyFoundation.org or call 1-800-344-0545, ext. 21.