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How it Began

Thursday, December 8, 1988 - Twenty eight years ago today, on Thursday December 8 1988, I was 17 years old I was walking into Schneider’s Children’s Hospital in New Hyde Park to have brain surgery the next day for a brain tumor. That day I met a seven-year old girl named Tasha. Tasha came into my room and greeted me in her pajamas, she said hello introduced herself and walked out, only later to come back in my room.

Tasha spent many hours with me for the next few days, always trying to make me happy. This little girl was in and out of the hospital throughout the year receiving different treatments for her illness. She received very little family support. She was dropped off and then picked up again when it was time to go home without having a visitor. Tasha was very excited about a holiday party sponsored by the hospital staff and was expecting her family to attend. They unfortunately did not. I was still too ill but my family agreed to take her. When Santa asked her what she had wanted, Tasha replied, “ I would like a teddy bear for friend upstairs.” I felt fortunate to be that friend. Her positive attitude and generous spirit inspired me. When I got out off the hospital I wanted to help children just like Tasha.

In 1992, I held a toy drive during the holidays to benefit children in local hospitals. During the first toy drive I collected over 800 hundred new toys in just two weeks and brought them to three different hospitals. Well that was the beginning of what has become a year round organization. Since 1992, we have collected over one million new toys and have donated them to sick and underprivileged children in over 180 hospitals and child-care facilities. We are a year round 501(C) non-profit organization that helps sick and underprivileged children in any capacity possible. To learn more about The John Theissen Children Foundation and all its program please visit www.jtcf.org or email john@jtcf.org.

John Theissen
Executive Director & Founder 


BIO - John Theissen is the Founder and Executive Director of the John Theissen Children’s Foundation and President of JBT Consulting. John started this foundation after having a brain tumor at age 17 and being hospitalized in a children’s hospital. After John’s hospital stay, he wanted to create a foundation to help sick and underprivileged children in any capacity possible. In 1992, John began his foundation out of his parent’s house. Since 1992, the foundation has donated well over one million new gifts through their holiday toy and gift drive, started a family fun center and many other programs and services.

The foundation has been voted Best Charity on Long Island for ten years in a row through the Long Island Press and Bethpage Federal Credit Union’s Best of Long Island Contest. John is an avid runner, who has competed in over 14 marathons, 100’s of local level races and ultra runs including 103.5 miles in 1999 to benefit the foundation. John is also a competitive stair climber and has competed in climbs such as but not limited to: Empire State Building, Freedom Tower, Willis Tower (formally Sears Tower) US Bank Tower, Rockefeller Center (30 Rock) and much more. John is married and has two children.

MacArthur High School
Nassau Community College

Previous work positions:
Henry Schein: Medical- Sales
Games on the Move Entertainment: Owner

Some of John’s Awards and Accomplishments
Levittown Public School’s Hall of Fame Induction, Inaugural Class after 75 years.
Long Island Volunteer Hall of Fame Induction.
Mulcahy’s Concert Hall, Hall of Fame Induction. (Second honoree inducted)
The Steve Harvey Show, Harvey’s Heroes.
Long Island Business News 40 under 40 Induction.
Nassau County PBA Man of the Year.
Long Island Federation of Labor- Man of the Year.
Nassau County Corrections Department- Citizen of the Year.
Nassau Life Underwriters Association- Citizen of the Year.
Wantagh Chamber of Commerce- Citizen of the Year & Lifetime Achievement Award.
The Patriot Award 9/11 Memorial, Seaford High School.
TD Bank Hometown Hero Award.
The D’Brickashaw Ferguson Foundation, Man of the Year.
Nassau Boces Educational Award.
Newsday Community Champion Award.
Winning Beyond Winning, Great American Award.
Diabetes Research Institute Award.

Over the years, John has been the Grand Marshall to numerous parades.

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John Theissen Children's Foundation - A 501(c)3 Non-Profit Organization | 1881 Wantagh Ave. Wantagh, New York - (516) 679-5098
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