Marisa's father initially established the Marisa Fund in 2005 to support research in Pediatric Blood and Bone Marrow Transplantation at Children's Hospital of New York-Presbyterian and the Columbia University Department of Pediatrics.  Since February of 2011, our fight and research has continued at the Maria Fareri Children's Hospital (at Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla, NY) under the leadership of Dr. Mitchell Cairo, M.D., where he is Chief of Pediatric Hematology, Oncology and Stem Cell Transplantation; Director of the Children and Adolescent Cancer and Blood Disease Center and Professor of Pediatrics, Medicine, Pathology, Microbiology & Immunology and Cell Biology and Anatomy.

Dr. Cairo’s research is unique in that his findings are translated into patient care and have a direct and indirect impact on saving the lives of children, adolescents and adults. The current focus of Dr. Cairo’s research program includes:

  1. Novel therapies for childhood, adolescent and adult cancer;
  2. Reduced intensity conditioning and stem cell transplantation in patients with malignant and serious blood and genetic disorders;
  3. Cord blood stem cell biology research and application with regenerative medicine;
  4. Genetic biology of Leukemia and Lymphoma;
  5. and development of targeted cellular immunotherapy for malignant diseases. 

The Fund also provides significant financial assistance to families of cancer patients who are unable to meet the high costs of their children's care.

Each and every donation* to the Marisa Fund will make an important difference in the lives of our young patients and the future of all children with cancer.

Thank you for choosing to honor Marisa's memory and for lending your support to this cause.  The funds raised will help to improve the chances of survival for children undergoing blood and bone marrow transplantation, and to reduce the risks of their associated therapies.  We hope that future children will not suffer as Marisa did from the complications of her therapy.

David Goldwasser: "Marisa loved fantasy fiercely and planned for us to write a book together once she graduated from Duke University.  Her sad and untimely death left me no choice but to write this novel together, but in a different way."  This book is finished and now available for purchase; Visit the Website to learn more!

The Marisa Fund is a partner with the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation.


May 15, 2015 - Rockland/Westchester Journal News article: "The Marisa Fund Has Raised Nearly $500,000 Since Its Inception."  This article details the stories of Marisa, The Marisa Fund and Dave Goldwasser.  CLICK HERE to read the entire article.


May 15, 2015 - Rockland/Westchester Journal News article on Dr. Mitchell Cairo - CLICK HERE


April 23, 2015 - Dr. Mitchell Cairo and the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation announces that David Goldwasser (Executive Director of the Marisa Fund) has been named the 2015 Dream Big Award Recipient for his dedication and support for PCRF in the fight for pediatric cancer research. 

Dave will be honored at the 8th Annual PCRF Dream. Discover. Cure. Golf Tournament to be held on July 13, 2015 at the Whippoorwill Club in Armonk, NY.  CLICK HERE for more info!



March 5, 2015 - When you shop on AmazonSmile, Amazon will now automatically donate a portion of the purchase price to The Marisa FundClick Here for more info!


January 14, 2015 - Announcement by David Goldwasser, Director of The Marisa Fund: Today I had the great pleasure of handing out checks to some great charities as a result of The 5 Mile Turkey Trot for The MARISA Fund. This year's event generated over $83,000 to help those less fortunate.

We were able to send $66,000 of those dollars to the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation from The Marisa Fund... topping last year's donation by $1,000!

Other charities include: People to People ($7,000), Rockland County Police Hispanic Society ($5,000), The Vasculitis Foundation ($2,500), RRR Scholarship Fund ($2,000), the Salvation Army($500) and the Ambulance Corp ($500)

Thanks to everyone who helped us do so much good for those in need... sponsors, volunteers, runners and walkers... we are so grateful!


September 16, 2014 - Special "Light's Keep" book giveaway promotion through October 16, 2014 announced at!  CLICK HERE for the details. 


September 10, 2014 - Announcing the republishing and reediting of the Portals Series books by the founder of the Marisa Fund (David Goldwasser)!!  Child of the Scroll / Darker Days / Light's Keep are fantasy books about a young girl named "Lissa" involving wizards and are dedicated to Marisa.  The books are readable for young adults through adults.  They are discounted and available Online (at Amazon and Barnes & Noble) in hardcover, paperback and e-reader editions (including all Kindles).  A portion of the proceeds of the sale of these books in any form will go to the Marisa Fund.  LEARN MORE >>



June, 2014 / Westchester Magazine - Dr. Mitchell Cairo and his work honored as a "Healthcare Hero."  Click Here to read the article.

      Click Here!


January 10, 2014 - Announcement by David Goldwasser, Director of The Marisa Fund: Today I had the pleasure of giving Dr. Mitchell Cairo a check for $65,000.00 to help find a cure for pediatric cancer and to support children with cancer and their families.  Thanks to all our sponsors, runners and walkers who are a part of the 5-Mile Turkey Trot for The Marisa Fund.  Thanks also to all the volunteers and committee members who are the lifeblood of The Marisa Fund... together we made history and hopefully moved one day closer to a cure!


January 7, 2014 - The 2013 22nd Annual Thanksgiving Day 5-Mile Turkey Trot Race raised $47,500 for the Marisa Fund along with an additional $17,500 for other local Rockland non-profits/charities!!  There was also a record number of registered entrants (3,395)!

Award Recipients:

  • Don Cordisco Award: David Goldwasser
  • Volunteer of the Year Award: Kathleen Daly
  • George Wodicka Inspiration Award: Rich Fernandez
  • Runners of the Year: Russell Flax and Elizabeth Apicella
  • Road Runners Clubs of America’s National Volunteer Award: William Carpenter and Laura DiMarino


December 13, 2012 - Free Turkey Trot Performance T-Shirts available with every Marisa Fund donation of $50 or more.  Learn More >>  / Donate Now!


October 7, 2012 - Dave Goldwasser appears on NBC TV "Debrief" Show; interviewed by Dave Ushery discussing Portals and his personal story.


September 28, 2012 - Portals book review by Cole Garner Hill on  - Click Here.


August 1, 2012 - The Marisa Fund announces a new campaign: "A Million Reasons to Cure Pediatric Cancer." We are trying to raise a million dollars to fund the research needed to find a cure for pediatric cancer.  Visit the Website and Learn More >>


November 26, 2015 - 24th Annual Thanksgiving Day 5-Mile Turkey Trot Race at Rockland Lake State Park.  Visit our Events Page to Learn More!  Click Here to Visit the separate Website Page.




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Books by David Goldwasser: Books #1, #2 & #3 of the Portals Fantasy Series!  Learn More>>

     A Million Reasons to Cure Pediatric Cancer


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  2015 The Marisa Fund Inc. All Rights Reserved. / *All Donations are fully tax deductible / We are a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Org