Newswise — HACKENSACK, NJ – April 28, 2021 Tackle Kids Cancer, the philanthropic initiative of Hackensack Meridian Health Foundation, is launching its first ever virtual race and fundraising challenge during the weekend of May 21 to 23. Thanks to a $100,000 matching gift from #TeamTKC Captain Eli Manning, community support will have double the impact.

The program, which raises funds to support critical research for pediatric cancer and innovative patient care programs at Hackensack Meridian Children’s Health Children’s Cancer Institute, with locations at Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital and K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital, is seeking community support to run or walk as a team in a virtual 5K (or another choice of distance) as a fundraiser.

The inception of Eli’s Challenge in 2015 has energized the Tackle Kids Cancer community, motivating hundreds of groups to join the fight against pediatric cancer and fund education, research and discovery in the search for a cure against this life-threatening disease.

“I am excited to once again partner with Tackle Kids Cancer and our community to raise crucial funds for pediatric cancer research,” said Manning. “My hope is to encourage people to get outside and exercise while raising money for this important cause.” Tackle Kids Cancer’s support funds clinical trials and translational research at Hackensack Meridian Center for Discovery and Innovation (CDI), located in Nutley, NJ. The CDI is home to two important labs funded by the initiative that investigate new immunotherapy treatments for pediatric cancer and meet the clinical and research needs of children with rare central nervous system (CNS) tumors.

“We are so pleased to have Eli’s support in launching Tackle Kids Cancer’s inaugural race,” said Alfred Gillio, M.D., director, Children’s Cancer Institute. “Only 4% of the federal budget for cancer research is dedicated to childhood cancer, and community events like this are critical to the work we do. Funds raised from our race will benefit clinical research at our pediatric cancer research labs at Hackensack Meridian Center for Discovery and Innovation and patient programs for children and their families within the Children’s Cancer Institute. We are hopeful that our community will join us so we can Tackle Kids Cancer together.”

To register for the virtual 5K, visit To learn more, contact Lauren Willis, executive director of annual giving, Hackensack Meridian Health Foundation,  at 551-996-3573 or [email protected].

About Tackle Kids Cancer Tackle Kids Cancer is a philanthropic initiative of Hackensack Meridian Children’s Health to raise money for pediatric cancer research and patient care programs at Joseph M. Sanzari Children's Hospital and K. Hovnanian Children's Hospital. Donations made to Tackle Kids Cancer directly benefit the essential clinical care, unique support services and groundbreaking cancer research needed to find a cure. Since its launch in September 2015, Tackle Kids Cancer has raised more than $10 million in funds. Visit for more information about Tackle Kids Cancer.

About Hackensack Meridian Children’s Health
Hackensack Meridian Children’s Health provides the most comprehensive and highest level of quality care to young patients in the state of New Jersey. The children’s network is comprised of two children’s hospitals – Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital at Hackensack University Medical Center in Hackensack and K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital at Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune – and a large network of pediatric subspecialists and pediatricians. Hackensack Meridian Children’s Health hospitals are the only two in New Jersey to be ranked among the top 50 in the nation for pediatric cancer care by U.S. News and World Report. Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital also ranks among the top 50 in the nation for pediatric neurology and neurosurgery. Visit for more information about Hackensack Meridian Children’s Health.