Click here to listen to the Norton’s Nest podcast, featuring our Founder, Sidney!
Recently, the Founder and President of CCChampions, Sidney Kushner, sat down with Tim Norton of Norton’s Nest podcasts. As the discussion progressed, listeners were given a glimpse into the making of CCChampions as a non-profit organization. Kushner began the story by describing his experience at a camp located a few hours outside of Toronto, Ontario. But the camp was not simply a summer camp for youngsters; each camper had been diagnosed with some form of cancer but simply wanted a normal summer camp experience.
“I was a counselor for boys ages six to ten who were just inspirational. They just have an amazing attitude,” explains Kushner.
The story continues with the mention of one particular camper who struck a chord with Kushner because of the child’s extreme passion for baseball. The boy’s name is Andy, and when Andy discovered Sidney is a baseball fan, the two became inseparable.
In retelling their initial meeting, Kushner said, “[Andy’s] eyes got big when he found out I loved baseball. From then on, he followed me all around camp.” Kushner continued, “Everyone seems to know someone who has been diagnosed. For me, it was a friend in high school with a rare form of back cancer.”
With all of this in mind, Kushner had the motivation to make a change, leading to his creation of CCChampions.
“CCChampions provide[s] unique support for children with cancer. […] If that’s not important, I don’t know what is,” explains Kushner.
Norton then takes over the microphone by explaining why he wished to interview Kushner and inform his viewers of the work CCChampions does. Specifically, Norton discusses how impressed he was with the fact that Kushner began CCChampions not to pack his resume but to take the extra step and go above and beyond the actions of a typical high school student. Norton continues by explaining so many students wish to make their resumes standout in order to accepted into the Ivy League of their dreams, but Kushner showed no indication of personal gain but, instead, demonstrates a real reason: the desire to help kids like Andy.
“[The] most unfair thing in the world is for children to be dealing with cancer,’ states Norton.
In continuation, Norton provides a quote by Charles Barkley, the famous NBA star and member of the US Olympic Dream Team, in which Barkley asserts that he as an athlete is not a role model for kids. But, Norton strongly disagrees with this sentiment. In Norton’s opinion, athletes are role models by default, which is why the relationship between athletes and children is so important.
In complete agreement, Kushner explains why he wanted CCChampions to pair diagnosed children with professional athletes. In describing what makes CCChampions such a unique non-profit, Kushner explains there seems to be a lack of long-term support for children battling cancer. In addition, long-term survival rate has been increasing because of more harsh treatments, which cause kids to be away from their home and their friends and any sense of social normalcy. Enter the professional athlete. Every athlete, throughout their career, has been told they are not good enough at one point or another. In spite of adversity, each one has faced the struggle to the best of their ability. Kushner explicates that experiencing such a struggle means a lot to the kids involved with CCChampions.
But a network involving diagnosed children and professional athletes is obviously difficult to establish, which Norton notes. Wondering how such a community was formed, Norton asks how Kushner took that first step to reach out to professional athletes.
In response, Kushner explains a moment of sheer coincidence when discussing his desire to create CCChampions with is father on an airplane flight, he happens to be sitting across from former Pittsburgh Penguin Mark Recchi. After a brief conversation, Kushner opened his first door towards communication with a network that now consists of 6,000 professional athletes across the nation.
Concluding the discussion, Norton asks Kushner about one more aspect of CCChampions which Norton deems revolutionary: the induction ceremony. Norton is referring to the fact that every child who is a member of the CCChampions team is awarded a personal jersey, a personalized scrapbook, and a Star of Courage, not to mention a friendship with a professional athlete.
With his final remarks, Kushner explains CCChampions works to build a community amongst its members and rally the local community: “[It’s] important to give back, and I hope I am.”
To listen to Sidney’s interview with Tim Norton, follow this link to the podcast: http://nortonsnest.com/an-idealistic-college-student-brings-an-inspired-idea-to-life/
For more information concerning Norton’s Nest, visit nortonsnest.com or follow Norton’s Nest on iTunes.