How it Began
Background information about the organization:
My name is John Theissen. In 1992, I founded The John Theissen Children’s Foundation, a non-profit 501 (c) 3 organization. When I was 17 years old I was hospitalized for a brain tumor at a local children’s hospital. During my stay, my family and I befriended a seven-year old girl named Tasha. 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 550,000 new toys and donate them to sick and underprivileged children in over 185 hospitals and child-care facilities across Long Island year round. We also donate therapeutic and recreational equipment. Donations enabled us to fulfill wishes and help families with medical expenses. In 15 years, we have never said no to a child in need.
Executive Director & Founder