Spreading a Little Holiday Happiness
In 2014, St. James residents, Joseph & Jessica Ondrush brought together their family, friends, neighbors, & business contacts to help the family of Dylan Beach, a 7 yr. old St. James boy with a brain tumor. They had heard about his illness as Joe and Jessica had graduated from Smithtown High School with Dylan’s father. That was all they needed to hear, and they went to work putting together an amazing
fundraiser for Dylan.
But the story doesn’t begin or end there. Prior to Dylan’s fundraiser, they ran an event for Joe's cousin whose daughter was born with a rare heart condition. For some people, hosting one fundraiser is a daunting task, and many would never consider another. But the Ondrush team of Joe and Jessica are a force to be reckoned with. When they heard about their classmate’s son, they took charge. When the Smithtown Children’s Foundation heard about their fundraiser, we approached them to provide assistance to their efforts. Together we raised enough money for the Beach family to breath a sigh of relief so that they could focus on Dylan getting better rather than worrying about bills. It is this kind of spirit that formed the Smithtown Children’s Foundation back in 2008. We are so glad to meet and work with like minded individuals such as Joe and Jessica who do this for no other reason than it is it the right thing to do.
We were not surprised when we got a phone call from Joe Ondrush with an idea to start a chapter of the foundation that he wanted to spearhead with his family, the Silent Night Foundation. Joe thought about the experiences of those around him like Dylan; battling a serious illness while the holidays came and went for everyone else. For these families, festive holiday traditions and gift exchanges were the last thing on their minds. Joe’s mission was to make the holidays a little brighter for those in need. We asked Joe to join us for our Annual Holiday Breakfast hosted by Maureen’s Kitchen as a way of introducing Silent Night to the community and to start raising funds for this worthy endeavor. As a result of this and Joe’s singular fundraising efforts through Silent Night, we have been able to impact the lives of some of the families residing at Stony Brook Children’s Hospital during the holiday season by providing gifts & making holiday wishes come true.
As if all of the above was not enough to keep him busy, you might find Joe around town raising awareness of the Smithtown Children’s Foundation. You might not recognize him though as he is the foundation mascot, Benny the Bull!
For more information specifically about Silent Night, click here