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Pre-school for cancer patients moves to Hicksville

Students at the Morgan Center, a preschool for

Students at the Morgan Center, a preschool for children with cancer, create Thanksgiving turkeys using construction paper and pine cones. Photo Credit: T.C. McCarthy

The Morgan Center, the only preschool in the nation dedicated to children with cancer, has moved to a new home in the Town of Oyster Bay Athletic Center in Hicksville.

Nancy Zuch, head instructor and co-founder of the center, said it made the move from Plainview because the landlord had made other plans for the original location. During the search for a new place she said Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto offered a location in the new athletic center.

Venditto said he was proud to welcome the program to the center because it gives the children a sense of normalcy and support and allows them to enjoy preschool with others who are also enduring cancer treatment.

Zuch’s husband Rod, another co-founder, said the move to Hicksville is not the only one the Morgan Center will be making.

The concept has been successful enough that the Clark Gillies Foundation, founded by the former Islanders forward, plans to build a second location in Suffolk County.

“We create a safe environment for the children,” Zuch said. “We clean everything that they touch throughout the day.”

Students at the center must have a note from their doctor that states they are healthy enough to be in school. Zuch said chemotherapy and radiation therapy, two common treatments for cancer, compromise children’s immune systems, making them highly susceptible to infection.

To reduce the risk the center provides each student with their own box and supplies so that it limits contact between them.

“Sharing is not something we teach here,” she said.

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