BEDFORD, N.Y. -- Fox Lane High School students Robbie and Jake Ferman, Olivia Singer, and Jamie and Wylie Kaplan wanted to raise funds for the Family Reach Foundation, which helps families fight the overwhelming medical costs associated with cancer.
To their astonishment, and with support from Robison Oil co-president David Singer, the students raised $75,000 with “The Amazing Race” in early December. The event at the Saw Mill Fitness Club in Mount Kisco included dodgeball, a pie-eating contest, a round-robin table tennis tournament and cardio fitness competitions.
The Fermans, who live in Bedford Hills, and nearly 100 other students from Fox Lane raised the money for the Family Reach Foundation , which is based in New Jersey. Singer’s twin sons, Ben and Wyatt, and the Fermans' sister, Samantha, were also active supporters of the fundraiser. Seth Ferman, who had been a member of the Advisory Board for Family Reach, talked to his sons earlier this year about starting a club at the school for the foundation. His family has also been long-time friends of the Singer family. With the support of their parents, the kids created and produced "The Amazing Race."
“When they start clubs at school, some of the more popular ones might get 20 kids,’’ Seth Ferman said. “This one got 150 students on the first day. It’s one of the most successful clubs they’ve ever had.”
" The Amazing Race " featured 10-member teams and each team had its own fundraising goals and plans. Singer and Robison helped by sponsoring the event, donating prizes and helping to raise funds. Saw Mill Club also gave the students the facility free of charge for the evening.
Seth Ferman said all proceeds will be donated to Family Reach, which he said is the only national organization that helps people meet the high medical costs associated with cancer.
“Forty-percent of bankruptcies in the United States are due to medical related reasons,’’ Ferman said. “And the number one medical cause is cancer. Many times a parent will have to give up their job to help their child fight cancer. It’s like you’re getting hit twice. You lose your job, and have overwhelming costs.”
Singer said students received the additional benefit of leadership training and displaying to colleges a sense of community activism. “The initial concept we wanted was to create some kind of leadership training,’’ Singer said. “We know that colleges look highly upon extracurricular activities, especially community activities. It’s a way to groom leadership, bring charitable giving and donate time. We wanted to educate the kids on the value of that and how rewarding it can be.”
Ferman and Singer were proud fathers as they watched their children spearhead "The Amazing Race." They also hope that the event will introduce the idea of a similar concept at other schools and perhaps start a nationwide club to support the Family Reach Foundation.
“It was a team effort,’’ Ferman said. “The first person I turned to was Dave. He’s very charitable, a good friend and he’s very smart and has great ideas. We give the boys credit for it. We just helped to facilitate it and recruited other parents to become involved as well.”