Jul 6, 2022 Foundation Honors Memory of Young Cancer Patient at Monmouth Medical Center with a Special ‘Living Room’ for Teenagers

Gathering in the Ezra Abraham To Life Foundation Living Room

Gathering in the Ezra Abraham To Life Foundation Living Room are, standing from left, Development Manager Eileen Dupey, Child Life Specialist Kristin Kuhi, and Ezra Abraham To Life Foundation’s Margi Bijou, her son Jacob Bijou, Michael Shweky, and Irwin Abraham, and Chair of Pediatrics Jonathan E. Teitelbaum, MD. Seated from left are Debra Petersen, Director of Patient Care for Inpatient Pediatrics, Cheryl Solon, Assistant Vice President Development, and Margi’s husband, Albert Bijou.

Long Branch, NJ, July 6, 2022In August of 2009, a family foundation founded in memory of a young man who lost a seven-year battle with pediatric cancer cut the ribbon dedicating their first teen “Living Room” at Monmouth Medical Center (MMC).

On June 28th, family members with the Ezra Abraham to Life Foundation returned to MMC to tour the space named for their beloved Eddie, as Ezra was known, and see the recently completed renovations and upgrades funded through the foundation.

Eddie was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 16. Shortly after his diagnosis, he originated the "To Life” foundation, by selling green rubber bracelets around his hometown, an act that served as a catalyst for what was to come. On October 13, 2005, after a seven-year battle with Rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare form of cancer, Eddie passed on. However his legacy, his family notes, did not.

“This is all started with Eddie’s journey,” said his father Irwin. “As a brave teen cancer patient, he faced his fears and transcended his illness by thinking of ways to help other teens with cancer. By embracing the philosophy of living every day to its fullest, he truly embodied every meaning of the word ‘life’ and inspired everyone who met him.”

The Ezra Abraham To Life Foundation was officially incorporated in the Spring of 2005, with the goal of providing quality-of-life support to youths with cancer or other life-threatening illnesses during their medical treatments. In addition to the teen room at MMC, the Foundation has funded similar spaces at two other hospitals. (To learn more about the Ezra Abraham To Life Foundation, visit http://www.tolifefoundation.org.)

At MMC, the goal of the Ezra Abraham to Life Foundation Living Room, which is located adjacent to the traditional playroom but separated by a folding screen for privacy, is to provide a room that for teens, is like being at home. It was designed as an inviting living room with computers, video game, televisions and Wi-Fi access, as well as a cozy reading nook.

“Thank you to the Ezra Abraham To Life Foundation for their support and generosity to update both the teen and pediatric playrooms,” said Cheryl Solon, Assistant Vice President of Development at MMC. “These wonderful rooms allow our Child Life Services’ team to provide teenagers and younger children with opportunities to engage in play and recreational activities in bright, energetic spaces.”

Much of the funding for the recent renovations and all of the hospital teen rooms was provided through "Hats Off To Life,” a division of the Ezra Abraham To Life Foundation that was founded by Ezra’s cousin, Margi Bijou, based on the idea that people would pay to rent a hat for their special occasion. All of Hats Off’s proceeds, primarily generated through their highly successful fashion shows that showcase the unique vintage hats Margi designs to be worn by women on occasions such as weddings and bar mitzvahs, go directly to supporting the Ezra Abraham To Life Foundation’s goal that “one should never know the dreariness that long hospital stays can bring.” (To learn more about Hats off to Life Foundation, visit https://www.hatsofftolife.com.)

“Kids still need to be kids, even when they’re sick, and these spaces let them be kids,” said Jonathan Teitelbaum, M.D., Chair of Pediatrics at The Unterberg Children’s Hospital. “We are very grateful to the Ezra Abraham To Life Foundation for this amazing space and their continuing support.”

CONTACT: Kathy Horan