To see Malcolm Sutherland-Foggio walking through the on March 9 wouldn’t cause anyone to think twice about the ordinary-looking 13-year-old.
Sutherland-Foggio, a Florham Park resident and Peck School student, came to speak to more than 100 sixth graders about how he’s trying to change the world.
His right leg is now shorter than his left, and he wears a special shoe to make up the difference. His right hip is no longer part of his body, and hardening scar tissue is replacing the bones that were once there. And at the age of 10, he was given a 50-percent chance of living to see another year.
But Sutherland-Foggio stood in front of the group and explained his story–like he’s done so many times before–and how it inspired him to make a difference in the world.
In 2008, Sutherland-Foggio was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare form of pediatric cancer. He developed a tumor on his right hip the size of a melon, he says, that eventually broke his hip.
After six rounds of inpatient chemotherapy treatment, Sutherland-Foggio’s hip was removed, and he was placed in a body cast. He would endure another eight treatments of chemo, followed by radiation therapy.
It was then that Sutherland-Foggio realized “kids cancer wasn’t that rare at all,” he said to the group. “So I decided to do something about it and raise awareness.”
Sutherland-Foggio began selling wristbands for $3 each that would benefit pediatric cancer research. And he did so all from his hospital bed.
“We made about $13,000 in a few months,” he said. “That’s when I thought, ‘what could I do if I really tried?’”
While staying in the hospital, taking classes from school via Skype, Sutherland-Foggio met a three-year-old named Michael who was also being treated for cancer.
Michael succumbed to the disease, Sutherland-Foggio said, “and it set me off. Kids cancer needs to be known in our country and we need to do something about it.”
Sutherland-Foggio went on to explain his non-profit organization, Make Some Noise: Cure Kids Cancer Foundation, Inc., and how it has brought in more than $750,000 for cancer research since being incorporated in September 2009.
Make Some Noise goes hand-in-hand with a year-long project being conducted by the sixth grade students listening to Sutherland-Foggio. The students, as instructed by teacher Matt Marciano, , conducting volunteer and community service based efforts for projects of their choosing.
For the , Marciano has asked that his students come up with a service project, research how to best conduct the effort, and see the idea to fruition before the end of May.
Marciano heard Sutherland-Foggio’s story on New Jersey’s News 12 television channel, and thought he would be the perfect person to serve as a keynote speaker–something Marciano had been searching for–to address his students.
“I think this was an eye opener for the kids,” Marciano said after the presentation. “I hope it will help them appreciate how lucky they are, and also see what they can do to help others.”
Sutherland-Foggio’s quest is to raise enough money to cure all pediatric cancers. The cost to cure just one, however, is approximately $1 billion, he said.
Make Some Noise raises funds by holding events, including a cycling tour in Morristown each May, along with grassroots events that donate proceeds to the foundation.
The foundation’s headquarters are located in Parsippany, and Sutherland-Foggio’s mother, Julie Sutherland, is the president. Make Some Noise has offices in Denver and Seattle as well.
Sutherland-Foggio won’t be able to play contact sports and, while technically cancer free according to his doctors, will be in remission until he’s 21.
“(Having cancer) has given me a better outlook on life,” Sutherland-Foggio said. “I know how lucky I am to still be alive.”
One of Marciano’s students asked Sutherland-Foggio if he planned on raising funds for the foundation even when he grew up.
The speaker responded, without hesitation, “I’m going to do this until I find the cures."
Make Some Noise can be found online by going to www.makenoise4kids.org.