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Gift saves Theissen Children's Foundation

A $150,000 donation from a financial firm will help a Wantagh foundation continue to bring smiles to the faces of critically ill children.

The gift from Lazard Capital Markets to the John Theissen Children’s Foundation allayed fears that the foundation, which was facing financial difficulties, would have to close its doors after 19 years in operation.

Roberto Friedlander, director of equity trading at Lazard Capital Markets, presented the check to the charity on Saturday on behalf of the investment bank, which is based in Manhattan. The foundation was selected as a beneficiary of the bank’s Annual Community Giving Day.

The money will benefit the foundation’s Wish and Gift giving program, which pays for birthday parties for critically ill or needy children. The parties, at the foundation’s family fun center on Wantagh Avenue, account for about 40 percent of the foundation's budget, said founder John Theissen (pictured above).

Theissen, who had a childhood bout with a brain tumor, started the foundation in 1992. The foundation also runs annual holiday toy drives, provides new back-to-school clothes and school supplies for needy children, and contributes to medical expenses of critically ill children.

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