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Vol. 1, Issue 51            COVERING HAMDEN, NORTH HAVEN, AND WALLINGFORD            December 9, 2009


  Academy seeks support for Help a Child Initiative


By Colleen Redmond
Post-Chronicle Correspondent

Hamden — Frank Ciarleglio, the owner of the Academy of Kempo, is someone who knows first hand how much reaching out to others can mean.

The Martial Arts Master said he has always believed in giving back to the community and has worked for years with local food banks and area churches, to help people in need.

This year, in addition the annual food drive, the Academy has been holding an ongoing fundraiser, called the Help a Child Initiative, with all proceeds to benefit the Tommy Fund and the Pediatric Oncology Unit at Yale-New Haven Hospital.

After receiving the life changing news that their two-year-old daughter had been diagnosed with Leukemia, Ciarleglio said he and his wife have met many families in similar, heart-wrenching situations.

“Last year, my daughter was diagnosed,” said Ciarleglio. “She has been going through treatment. She is a strong girl and doing really well.”

The father of a six-year-old son as well, Ciarleglio said he learned a great deal about the many ways in which the Tommy Fund could help children and their families.

“The Toy Closet is a great thing,” he said, “but what I am collecting ... goes to the Pediatric Units. We are collecting arts and crafts for the Yale Pediatric Oncology floor or the Pediatric Cancer Clinic.”

“The fundraiser is going to help the children in the clinic. I started this because I am

Academy of Kempo Teens Seperate Food
Submitted Photo
Students from the Academy of Kempo Martial Arts in Hamden separating the food collected in November for Saint Ann’s Soup Kitchen and the Keefe Center’s Food Bank. The Academy kicked off their annual food drive in September and has donated more than 35 bags of food to date. The Academy is offering students a free semi-private lesson for any five or more non-perishable items they donate and offering two weeks of free lessons to non-students. Pictured, left to right, are Colt Pimer, Maya Caicedo, Antonio Rodriguez and Chris Pimer.




sitting with the kids, as my daughter is getting her treatments.”

Ciarleglio said that while spending so much of their time at the hospital, the kids he got to know, and their parents, became a big part of the Ciarleglio’s lives.

Ciarleglio bonded with a young man, and spent many days playing games and putting together puzzles before the child lost his battle with cancer.
“There was this boy who was sitting at the table with us everyday, we were doing a puzzle,” he said. “I look at his picture ... he’s laughing, he is smiling, and he is playing.”

Ciarleglio said that while he has witnessed loss, he has also seen children win the battle against cancer.

Established in 1953, the Tommy Fund began with a young boy named Tommy Mozdzierz, who had a love of fire trucks and firemen. Although Tommy lost his life to the illness, his memory has lived on for more than 50 years.

At the time a local fire crew in his hometown of New Britain initially raised $1,000, an unheard of sum for the times. After joining forces with a group of professionals, parents, and Yale New Haven Hospital, the Tommy Fund has become one of the major contributors in the fight against childhood cancers.

“The Tommy Fund, they have a social worker at the hospital that works in the children’s Cancer Center. They do things to help the parents deal with what is going on, not only on a emotional level, but a financial level as well,” said Ciarleglio.

“They provide computers, games, the money raised is going toward research at the Yale School ... there is a lot that the Tommy Fund does.”

For information on the Help a child Initiative visit the Academy of Kempo, 1890 Dixwell Ave, or call at 203-288-9990, or visit the Web site at


Wednesday, December 9, 2009 · POST CHRONICLE · 3


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