Andrew Bauer didn’t know his Hebrew school teacher for all that long, but the time they spent together made a major impact on the Long Valley pre-teen.
When Bauer and Michael Weiner first met at the Jewish Center for Northwest Jersey, the two immediately hit it off. It didn’t matter that Weiner was the former executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association, rather, it was their fanatacism for the Yankees and Rangers that connected the two.
“He was my role model,” Bauer said of Weiner. “He was one of the smartest, funniest, best people I’ve ever met. I looked up to him.”
Sadly, in the fall of 2013, Weiner succumbed to brain cancer. He announced his disease in 2012 after meeting Bauer.
When Bauer found out about his mentor’s illness, he jumped into action immediately, and joined a Voices Against Brain Cancer (VABC) walk to support Weiner as part of the “Friends of Mike” team.
“I just wanted to help in some way,” the 12-year-old said about his first charitable event. “At that point I learned more about brain cancer and said, ‘this is how I want to help; how I want to make a difference.’"
In the time since, Bauer has gone full force into helping VABC and raising awareness for the disease.
Earlier this year Bauer completed his Change the World project as a student in Long Valley Middle School teacher Matt Marciano’s social studies class. His project was to organize a Brain Cancer Awareness Day where students and faculty would wear all gray and donate $2 and, in return, receive a brain cancer awareness bracelet.
The result? Bauer raised $150 for the foundation.
The hockey defender didn’t stop there, though, organizing efforts outside the classroom as well.
Bauer held a bake sale at the Jewish Center and in the matter of hours hauled in $350 – all to be put toward the foundation.
He also took the initiative to write a letter to the New York Rangers – his and Weiner’s beloved hockey team – and ask for support in some way. The team responded with a Chris Kreider autopraphed photo, which will be auctioned off by VABC.
Bauer’s hockey team – the New Jersey Freeze – keeps donation cans at their concession stands, and each player now wears a sticker that reads “Join The Fight Against Brain Cancer” on their helmets.
He also has his sights set on future endeavors. The seventh-grader is working on organizing a Brain Cancer Awareness Day at the Long Valley Middle School that will include the entire student body.
“The number of people who die from brain cancer, especially younger people, is just so high,” Bauer said. “I think by doing these things I can help change that.”