The John Theissen Children's Foundation of Wantagh will host its largest fundraising event of the year Thursday evening at Mulcahy's Pub & Concert Hall.
Founder John Theissen started the foundation more than two decades ago after fighting a brain tumor at the young age of 17 when he was a student at MacArthur High School. Now a resident of Seaford, Theissen has watched his foundation blossom into one of Long Island's leading charities for sick and underprivileged children.
Thursday's gala, which is anticipating nearly 1,000 guests, will benefit the holiday season as well as the upcoming year. In its 11th year, Theissen said the gala is crucial after Superstorm Sandy's impact on the local area.
"Sandy will affect us both with donations and with requests for help," Theissen said. "My goal is to come out of this holiday season having helped anyone who asked for it."
At this time just two years ago, the foundation's fun center, located at 1881 Wantagh Ave., was in danger of closing. Since then, Theissen said donations have been more consistent and things are looking well for next year.
"The foundation has been steady, not up and down, and I think that's okay in this economy," he added. "These days I take it year by year. I just want to know I can work another year with the foundation."
The holiday gala will feature guest appearances by famed Long Island Medium host Theresa Caputo, former New York Jets star wide receiver Al Toon and former New York Giants running back Otis Anderson in addition to a live auction and hundreds of raffle prizes. Tickets can be purchased for $40, which includes a dinner buffet and open bar, at the foundation's Wantagh location or over the phone at 516-679-5098.