When “Celebrity Apprentice” contestant Teresa Giudice presented a $60,000 check last week to Matthew Levine for the NephCure Foundation, she kissed the 9-year-old Melville boy on the cheek and gave him a high five.
As part of her team’s project to raise money for a foundation on the April 8 episode of Donald Trump’s reality TV show, Giudice served as project manager for her team and wrote, produced and directed a 60-second TV commercial.
Because her team won the challenge and she was team leader, Giudice was able to donate the money to the charity she is supporting -- the NephCure Foundation, an organization committed to finding a cure for two types of kidney diseases, FSGS and Nephrotic Syndrome.
“There’s no cure out there but if we all fight for this and raise as much money as we can, we can try to find a cure,” said Giudice, during a press conference last week at Trump Tower in Manhattan.
“It hasn’t been very commonplace for us,” said Michael Levine, Matthew’s father and a member of the NephCure Foundation’s board of directors. “It helps us get the message out to the world.”
Between 80-85 percent of the donation will go toward the foundation’s research mission. The rest goes to administrative and event costs, said Henry Brehm, executive director of NephCure.
“I think what helps, what’s going to solve this disease, is science and research,” Brehmn said. “Our biggest challenge is to find patients and have them come forward. This helps us do that.”
So far, he has already met people who are now aware of the foundation after seeing “Celebrity Apprentice”.
“I am so grateful that I can use my platform to help,” Giudice said. “Life is too short for drama and negativity and my work with NephCure reminds me every day to focus on what really matters in life."
Levine said the donation will help the general public understand exactly what kidney disease patients deal with. For example, he said his son’s kidneys have been compared to a ticking time bomb that could fail at any moment.
“Teresa is an angel on Matthew’s shoulders and all the other children battling these diseases,” Levine said.