Elaine Currie, Author at NFCR

Elaine Currie

Holiday Lights for Cancer Research

One Family’s Amazing Fundraising Efforts Light Up an Entire Community

Pete and Sherri Kimbell have a holiday tradition in Indian Trail, NC that delights their community and raises money for the National Foundation for Cancer Research. By combining their sparkling lights display with their sparkling personalities, they have raised over $15,000 for NFCR so far.

Joan’s Story


Photo: (left to right) Sherri, Joan and Pete Kimbell

In 2012, Pete’s mother, Joan, was unfortunately diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. But earlier that year, Pete, an IT Manager and Sherri, a receptionist for a local dermatologist, decided to combine their talents and create an amazing holiday light display to wow their friends and neighbors. So, while Joan’s diagnosis was troubling, it led to a new undertaking – a light-display fundraiser.

The family was fortunate – a drug was available to arrest the growth of Joan’s tumor. And, after conducting their own research, the Kimbells learned that this particular drug was created as a result of a scientist’s work funded by the National Foundation for Cancer Research. Because of this, the couple decided 100% of the money they collect during the light display would go to NFCR. Donations like this enable NFCR to continue funding pancreatic cancer research and find the most effective treatments for patients like Joan.

A Dazzling Display

Now in its fifth year, Pete and Sherri’s light display includes over 45,000 individual LED lights and uses nearly 140,000 channels of electricity. The LED lights are individually controlled and every bulb can change color. Onlookers view changing flashes of color that are swept across the couple’s house in all types of patterns and styles synchronized to upbeat holiday tunes.

The annual display begins taking shape in September and, as Peter and Sherri set up, they include new display items they have been hand building throughout the year. Pete is the tireless engineer behind this enterprise, but he gushes about his wife. “Sherri is the creative force; she keeps me in line and reminds me not to go overboard,” says Pete. It’s clear that love, effort and ingenuity come together to create this memorable experience.

What a Bright Time, It’s the Right Time, to Rock the Night Away

Situated on a lovely cul-de-sac, the Kimbells’ illuminated home attracts people from miles away and shines a much-needed light on cancer research. The cars, bursting with family members, flock to the repeating 20-minute display that is synchronized to carefully-selected familiar music and eagerly anticipate what the Kimbells have dreamt up this year.

People are willing to wait for an hour because they know they will not be disappointed. Pete and Sherri greet every visitor personally and enthusiastically hand out candy canes. The candy-cane method allows the couple to count how many people attended –  in 2015, it was more than 5,000! Local nursing homes bring residents in buses and these seniors often get out for a closer look and share stories about how cancer has affected their families. Quite often, spontaneous dancing ensues!

Pete and Sherri never expected their light display would become such a beloved and well-attended attraction. They have created a local tradition and have become significant contributors to cancer research. The icing on the cake? Nobody enjoys the light display more than Joan, the original inspiration for this fundraising effort.

Visit or Support in 2017

The Kimbell’s Garden Oak Holiday Lights will be on display from November 25, 2017, to December 31, 2017. You can visit on school nights from 6:00 pm until 9:00 pm and
all other nights from 6:00 pm until 10:00 pm

4026 Garden Oak Drive, Indian Trail, NC  28079

To learn more about this wonderful light display and/or make a donation, please visit the website goholidaylights.com


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A Loving Tribute to Elmo’s Friends Phyllis and Tony Geiss

A Legacy to Support Cancer Research

geissPhyllis and Tony Geiss lived long and extraordinary lives filled with many accomplishments.  NFCR has been the recipient of a generous gift from the Geiss Estate which will be able to move cancer research forward in a very significant way.  We would like to share with you a window into this inspirational couple’s lives.

Phyllis and Tony were perfectly matched.  Married more than 60 years, both possessed qualities of warmth, modesty, humor and intellect.  For a major anniversary, Tony had a star named for Phyllis in the National Star Registry.  He gave the gift to her with a card that read, “Twinkle, twinkle, little wife.  Thank you for a perfect life!”

Phyllis distinguished herself academically which led to a stellar career in advertising and banking.   A dear friend reflects, “Phyllis was tiny, reserved, and soft-spoken, with an incisive mind and a dry wit.  She delighted in having people over for dinner and throwing large New Year’s parties. Her grateful dinner guests continue to savor the memory of her divine sticky pudding.  She was a creative, original thinker, and although she worked very well in a corporate setting, she was unconstrained by tradition.  Her cousin told of a visit with Phyllis to the Sistine Chapel.  When her cousin said she did not feel she was getting an adequate view of the ceiling by craning her neck, Phyllis pulled her to a place with less traffic and lay down on the floor looking up.  ‘Now we can see it!’”

Loved and esteemed by his colleagues, Tony’s genius lay in entertaining, educating and enchanting children and adults alike.  One of his colleagues tells the story about one of their first meetings as Sesame Street writers: When someone suggested that they “brainstorm,” Tony replied immediately, “Oh–if I had known there would be a brainstorm, I would have worn a braincoat!” If you have been around children at any time since the 1970s, you will undoubtedly have been fondly aware of Tony’s Sesame Street characters, songs and storylines.

For over three decades, Tony’s gifted writing and composing, along with his talent as a lyricist created Elmo’s Song, the Honkers, and Abby Cadabby, among many other memorable characters and familiar songs.  Tony also delighted his audience by co-writing three films: Follow that Bird, The Land Before Time and An American Tail.  The 22 Emmys he helped Sesame Street earn were among many won by the show since it first aired in 1969. Tony gave so much pleasure to so many people that he can truly be named a national treasure.  As of 2009, Sesame Street co-productions were broadcast in more than 140 countries.  Today, it is almost impossible to count the number of children who are enjoying and learning with Sesame Street all around the world!

Phyllis and Tony made their decisions about charitable contributions jointly to reflect their passions and interests.  During their lifetime, they were loyal and generous donors to the National Foundation for Cancer Research and it has been enormously gratifying to learn that they valued our mission to fund innovative cancer research enough to remember us in their estate plans.   Phyllis and Tony Geiss were extremely accomplished individuals, and as a team, their partnership was happy and harmonious. Their philanthropic work will enable NFCR to find new ways to prevent, detect and treat all types of cancer.  NFCR is enormously grateful and honored by their generosity and foresight.   Trustees of the Geiss Estate say “Phyllis and Tony deeply valued worldwide efforts in health care and protecting the environment.  They would have been greatly inspired and gratified to see and advance the work that NFCR is doing to unify discoveries in cancer research around the world and to integrate information on a global scale.”

Learning, having fun, and good health, are vital components for the well-being of anyone, anywhere.  NFCR will honor the Geiss’ generosity by promoting cancer research to ensure that people worldwide can enjoy good health, enabling them to lead productive and joyful lives.

From Elaine Currie, NFCR Donor Relations Officer

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Art with a Heart

Artist Extraordinaire: Dana Rosenberg


Elaine Currie, NFCR Donor Relations Officer with artist Dana Rosenberg Photography and woodcuts are only some of Dana’s favorite mediums. Writing poetry has also become a passion.

Dana Rosenberg is a gifted artist whose life bursts with color and creativity – her mantra is “art keeps me alive!”

A Somers, NY resident, Dana is 84 years young, wears a homemade wreath of roses in her hair every day and is a life-long producer of beautiful art.  Dana has worked in special education, has been an art teacher and an art history professor. Her distinguished career has inspired hundreds of creative pieces; watercolors, etchings, weavings, sculpture, p

Cancer research is important to the Rosenberg family. During a 10 year period, Dana accompanied her son to Memorial Hospital for treatment approximately 50 years ago and encountered many very sick children, these sights were so powerful they’ve remained with Dana all these years. The traumatic memories are what propel this special octogenarian to give to The National Foundation for Cancer Research. Her examples of generosity and hope are priceless.

During the months of September and October 2016, Dana’s lovely work is on display and may be purchased at The Somers Library, 82 Primrose Street, Katonah, NY 10536. 100% of all sales will fund cancer research via the National Foundation for Cancer Research, Shriner’s Hospital for Childrendana-group-pic and St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. “Art comes out of my heart!” says Dana.  Individuals who buy her work truly get a reward for their meaningful donation. Dana also has a poetry reading of her work at The Somers Library on October 16th.

For additional information, please call The Somers Library at 914-232-5717 or visit somerslibrary.org.

Dana reflects, “This is what I am able to do to make a difference in the lives of others and giving is important to me.This is a small way for me to help rid the world of cancer.”

NFCR salutes Dana Rosenberg’s beautiful spirit. Using her gifts as a local artist, Dana is making a difference in world-wide cancer care and research for a cure!

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