By: Sharon Aron Baron
A South Florida foundation is launching a six-week learn-to-skate program at the Florida Panther’s IceDen for children who are fighting a battle with cancer.
Called N.I.C.K.’s for Cancer Kids Ice skating, The Chiera Family Foundation launched the program for children who are currently undergoing cancer treatments. This program was made possible in part through a grant received from The Florida Panthers Foundation and gives children and their siblings a chance to have fun learning how to ice skate.
“The Florida Panthers Foundation is proud to partner with The Chiera Family Foundation and award them with a Community Champions grant to help in their efforts to provide opportunities for children battling cancer,” said Lauren Simone, Executive Director of the Florida Panthers Foundation.
Local figure skating phenom and former Team USA figure skater Franchesca Chiera will be teaching the skating lessons for N.I.C.K.’s Ice Skating. Franchesca began her skating in a learn-to-skate program through the Florida Panthers. A five-time U.S. National competitor who qualified for two Olympic trials, she is now training and teaching at the same Coral Springs rink where she learned to skate.
“Helping kids forget about their cancer and letting them have fun on the ice is a life changing experience,” said Franchesca. “I am truly honored to be able to help these kids and also pay tribute to my grandfather.”
Celebrating its 26th year, The Chiera Family Foundation began as a tribute to the family’s father, Nicholas Chiera, who passed away from cancer almost 30 years ago. N.I.C.K.’s, which stands for Nothing is Impossible for Cancer Kids, provides college scholarships for young adults who have beaten cancer, and helps send kids battling cancer to summer camp. Through The First Tee of Broward, the Foundation is also teaching children life lessons and how to golf.
Today, there are children who first attended summer camp, then received a N.I.C.K.’s Scholarship. Some of those children are now doctors and social workers who are helping kids with the same cancer they once had.
This year, the Foundation’s signature fundraising event will be taking place on May 5, at the Polo Club in Boca Raton. The dinner auction will be followed by their annual golf tournament the next day at The Old Course at Broken Sound, home of this year’s Tour Champions Oasis Championship. For more information on how to help kids and young adults who are battling cancer, visit www.chierafamilyfoundation.org or call 954-480-8809, ext. 20 or 21.