Children's Brain Tumor Foundation Honors Protravel International; Tom Curran PHD, FRS; And Tania Shiminski-Maher, RN, PNP At 13th Annual Dream & Promise Gala

The Children's Brain Tumor Foundation had its 13th Annual Dream & Promise Gala on May 27, 2015.

On May 27, 2015 the Children’s Brain Tumor Foundation (CBTF) 13th Annual Dream & Promise Gala honored Protravel International, LLC; Tom Curran, PhD, FRS of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia; and Tania Shiminski-Maher, RN, PNP of the Children’s Hospital of Montefiore; at a crowd-filled event held at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City.

Corporate Honoree:  Protravel International, LLC

Robert Budlow, CBTF Board Chair, says, “For years, the team at Protravel has been extremely supportive of our mission and has singlehandedly underwritten the wonderful Children’s Holiday Party for over 300 sick children and their families who are served by Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital and CBTF.”  Patrick Fragale and Andy Pesky accepted the award on behalf of New York City-based Protravel International, LLC

Fragale is President of Protravel and oversees over 900 employees at 20 locations in the United States and the United Kingdom.  Throughout his career, Fragale has served on numerous advisory boards, and since joining Protravel, Fragale has accepted invitations to serve on the prestigious Travel + Leisure Travel Advisory Board, as well as the Taj Hotels and Trump Hotel Collection Advisory Boards.

Pesky is Senior Vice President of Leisure Sales & Marketing of Protravel.  For over thirty years, Pesky has organized the annual CBTF Children’s Holiday Party.  Because of his experience in the travel business, he has been awarded the NYC Trade Show Lifetime Achievement Award and Sari Center Integrative Cancer Care Award in 2014 among many others.

Fred Epstein Lifetime Achievement Award Honoree:  Tom Curran, PhD, FRS

“We present the Lifetime Achievement Award to Dr. Tom Curran for his brilliant pediatric brain and spinal cord research, as well as his leadership in the development of the Children’s Brain Tumor Tissue Consortium,” explains Budlow.  Curran is the Deputy Scientific Director at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and Professor of Pathology at the University of Pennsylvania.  In 1995, he founded the Department of Developmental Neurobiology and the translational Brain Tumor Program at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.  Dr. Curran became Deputy Scientific Director of the CHOP Research Institute in July 2006.  He served as President of the American Association of Cancer Research in 2001 and on the Board of Scientific Advisors of the National Cancer Institute for 2000-2005.  His research program is designed to uncover new approaches to the treatment of pediatric brain tumors by integrating an understanding of normal brain development with the molecular genetics of brain tumors.

Health Care Professional Honoree:  Tania Shiminski-Maher, RN, PNP

“We are excited to honor Tania Shiminski-Maher, RN, PNP, as our first Health Care Professional Honoree,” continues Budlow.  “Tania has been an exceptional example of how a professional can give so much support and care to our kids and families who have been impacted by this disease.”  Shiminski-Maher worked as a pediatric nurse practitioner in Pediatric Neurosurgery and Pediatric Neuro-oncology for thirty years and has published extensively in the area of pediatric brain tumors, hydrocephalus, and multidisciplinary team communication.  In April 2014, she became the Assistant Administrative Nurse Manager on the Pediatric Hematology Oncology Unit at The Children’s Hospital at Montefiore (CHAM) and most recently has assumed the role of the interim Nurse Manager in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at CHAM.   

The gala featured both a silent and live auction, cocktail reception, dinner, a live performance by singer, songwriter, musician, and producer Richard Marx, and was emceed by News 12 Long Island anchor Stone Grissom.  The Children’s Brain Tumor Foundation is one of the few national organizations that works with both the survivor and family to support them through a continuum of care.  Founded in 1988, the Children’s Brain Tumor Foundation is a national 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization, headquartered in New York City, dedicated to improving the treatment, quality of life, and the long term outlook for children with brain and spinal cord tumors through research, support, education, and advocacy to families and survivors.  The organization offers social work support services; an online community for parents, patients, and survivors; a family to family program; conferences; events; loss, grief, and bereavement programs; a young adult survivors network; and much more.  For more information about the Children’s Brain Tumor Foundation, please visit or call 866-228-4673.

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