Bay Ridge

Adams, Gentile promote vanity plates to fund cancer research

December 1, 2016 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Borough President Eric Adams says the vanity license plates will be a “meaningful generator of funds” for research into a cure for pediatric cancer. Photo courtesy of Adams’s office
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A new state law signed this week by Gov. Andrew Cuomo that will allow motorists to purchase special childhood cancer awareness vanity license plates for their cars will help families fight the dreaded disease, according to two Brooklyn elected officials who originally came up with the idea.

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and Councilmember Vincent Gentile (D-Bay Ridge-Dyker Heights-Bensonhurst) issued a joint statement praising Cuomo for signing a bill to create the vanity plates.

Under the legislation, sponsored in the state Senate by Kenneth LaValle (R-Port Jefferson) and in the Assembly by Steve Englebright (D-Brookhaven), the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles will be authorized to issue vanity license plates to raise awareness of childhood cancer to motorists who want the plates.

The distinctive license plates will be available for a $25 fee and will feature the words “Cure Childhood Cancer.”

Twenty dollars out of the $25 sale of each set of the license plates will be placed into a trust fund to be allocated for childhood cancer research and education projects approved by the commissioner of the New York State Department of Health.

The trust fund will also provide grants to childhood cancer research hospitals for the purpose of researching a cure.

“Two years ago, we laid out a vision for raising awareness of childhood cancer in Brooklyn and beyond, a vision to ‘go gold’ for the young fighters who need champions as they battle for their lives. The creation of vanity license plates is not only a valuable visual on our roadways; it is a meaningful generator of funds to support scientific research into these diseases,” Adams and Gentile stated.

In 2014, Gentile, working with Adams, introduced a resolution in the City Council in support of the state issuing vanity license plates to raise awareness of childhood cancer.

Adams and Gentile also claimed that funding for research into a cure for childhood cancer is currently lacking. “With less than five percent of federal funding for cancer research going to support children, we need to find new resource streams to help our most vulnerable patients and their families,” the elected officials stated.

More than 15,000 children are diagnosed with cancer in the U.S. each year, according to curesearch.org, a website that keeps track of cancer rates.

When LaValle’s bill was approved by the senate in May, state Sen. Marty Golden (R-C-Bay Ridge-Southwest Brooklyn), who was a cosponsor of the legislation, predicted that the vanity plates would bring a sense of hope to families enduring cancer.

“Without any doubt, funding must be increased to battle against this horrific disease that is childhood cancer.  I know that with additional research and increased awareness, we can find a cure and save lives,” Golden said.

Cancer advocates were also on board with the idea.

In May, Camille Loccisano, founder of the Francesco Loccisano Memorial Foundation, said she was pleased with the bill.

“This would bring tremendous awareness to the fight for a cure,” she told the Brooklyn Eagle. “If you’re driving and you see a car in front of you with a ‘Cure Childhood Cancer’ license plate, it makes you think.”

The Loccisano Foundation, which is also called Frankie’s Mission, is named in memory of Loccisano’s son, Francesco, who died of pediatric cancer in 2007 at the age of 17. The foundation provides financial assistance to the families of children with cancer.


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