For much of his young life, 16-year-old Andrew Low, a sophomore at Morristown-Beard School, has focused on becoming an exceptional hockey player, and using the sport to help kids who are battling cancer. The latter focus rose to a new level in 2016 when Andrew lost both his paternal grandparents, Jim and Ann Low, to cancer.
“I’ve always loved hockey, playing since I was 6, and I’ve enjoyed helping people any way I can,” said Low, who lives in North Caldwell. “Then I had cancer affect my family, my grandparents, and even my dog.”
Low, listed as a top 16-year-old prospect on the scouting website eliteprospects.com, has scored 35 points (15 goals, 20 assists) in 24 games this season for the Morristown-Beard Crimson (20-4-1), ranked No. 6 in the state by NJ.com. Last year he and some of his hockey-playing friends created Kids Ice Cancer to raise money for pediatric cancer research and donated $14,000 to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn. They raised the money through local sponsorships and donations and by organizing and playing in a charity hockey game.
This year Low recruited 40 friends from the Crimson and his 16-and-under travel team, the Jersey Hitmen, to help with fund-raising for a new partner, the Valerie Fund and its seven Children’s Centers in New Jersey, New York City, and Philadelphia. The Valerie Fund provides comprehensive health care for children with cancer and blood disorders. They have Children’s Centers in seven N.J. hospitals providing state-of-the-art outpatient health care to more than 4,000 young people each year.
Kids Ice Cancer will hold a young hockey players all-star game on March 27 at the new American Dream complex in East Rutherford. Admission is free and donations will be accepted to benefit the Valerie Fund.
Kids Ice Cancer considered several similar charities before deciding to work with the Valerie Fund. “It’s really been a good experience,” said Low, who hopes to study economics and play Division I hockey at Cornell.
The Valerie Fund, which opened its first center in 1977, helped Kids Ice Cancer boost its fund-raising by attracting support through a website donation page and gathering sponsorships in the $100-$5,000 range while also contacting its national sponsors and requesting individual donations. Through their own connections, the hockey players pushed the fund-raising level to $87,583 as of press time.
Low told NJJN he originally wanted to raise $100,000 for childhood cancer during his four years of high school, but with that goal nearly achieved this year alone he increased their four-year target to $250,000.
“I started by myself with my Morristown-Beard varsity hockey team,” he said. “We did well with our project to raise what we did for St. Jude, but with both the Valerie Fund and American Dream working for us, there is no limit to what we can do.”
He said the fact that he and several of his hockey-playing friends are Jewish played a part in their desire to work with charities.
“We have a feeling of wanting to help those in need from our upbringing,” said Low, noting that he was inspired by his maternal grandfather, Peter Fried, who is now 83 and lives in Florida, who had to flee his native Hungary during the 1956 revolution. “My grandfather had his bar mitzvah in hiding in a Budapest basement.”
The American Dream ice skating rink can be viewed from three tiers of the complex’s retail area and can accommodate about 3,000 people.
“Coordinating a ‘Kids Ice Cancer’ event is one of the most inspiring parts of my job,” said Bunny Flanders, director of marketing and communications at the Valerie Fund. “Andrew and his teammates have so much compassion for children facing life-threatening diseases. Both the enthusiasm while reaching out to their community, friends, and family and the response has been extraordinary. These young philanthropists are truly remarkable, and they should all be very proud of their effort.”
Said Don Ghermezian, co-CEO of American Dream, in a statement, “We’re thrilled to host this year’s Kids Ice Cancer ice hockey game … Giving back to the local community is part of our DNA, and once we heard about Kids Ice Cancer’s mission, we had to be involved with this amazing organization.”
Wendy Low, Andrew’s mother, said she’s pleased that this experience is giving her son an opportunity to learn about business. “Andrew is seeing what it is like to manage a business, and work through a website and a partner to develop a brand identity,” she said. “I’m proud of what he has done and think this experience will help him in the future.”
For more information on Kids Ice Cancer and the March 27 event, visit kidsicecancer.com.