The Power of Helping
By Leigh Labrie
As a baby, Peter Zucca was pulled
in a wagon through the halls of Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital
for Children in Wilmington, Delaware, during his treatment for stage IV embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma, which included chemotherapy, radiation and multiple surgeries that began when he was diagnosed at 10 months old.
So when Peter, now 12, read on Facebook in March 2014 that the hospital didn’t have enough wagons to transport its patients and their belongings, he wanted to help. He decided to donate 100 wagons. To accomplish his goal, he needed to create a foundation.
A law firm and an advertising agency volunteered their time to help him establish a nonprofit and create a logo and website. In June 2014, he launched the Peter Powerhouse Foundation
to help improve the lives of kids with cancer.
In fall 2014, the foundation organized a miniature golf tournament for elementary school children, held fundraising events at a bookstore and a restaurant, and brought in donations through its website. Peter Powerhouse raised $10,000 and donated
50 wagons to duPont Hospital in November 2014 and 50 more wagons in February 2015.
Peter says he started a foundation because he doesn’t want other kids to go through what he went through. He permanently lost hearing in both ears from chemotherapy and had his right leg amputated in May 2013 after he developed a desmoid tumor. Dawn Zucca says her son’s attitude while recovering from his amputation inspired the foundation’s name.
Peter’s next project is to raise enough money to buy and donate four pairs of Cinemavision goggles, which cost roughly $48,000 apiece, to help kids relax without sedation during MRI scans. Along with fundraising, the foundation has started hosting blood drives, and Peter speaks to kids about cancer. He also wrote a children’s book about hearing loss called Peter Learns to Listen. Eventually, he hopes to direct his fundraising efforts toward research on hearing loss among cancer survivors.
“I want to make [cancer treatment] better until they can find a cure,” he says.
Do you know an extraordinary person who’s giving his or her time to the cancer cause? Email Volunteer@CancerTodayMag.org. We may feature the person in a future issue.