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August 2011

In This Issue
Tanner's Story
Tanner's High Fives
Lexie's Corner

Tanner's Story



Tanner Jayden Eichele was born on November 12, 2007, bringing the greatest joy imaginable to two parents who were trying to conceive for 4 years. He was a happy baby, and started life as a perfectly normal child until he was diagnosed in September 2009, at the age of 22 months with a malignant brain tumor - alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma, a tumor growing behind his left eye and into his central nervous system. At 22 months, Tanner had his first of 4 brain surgeries, de-bulking his tumor and starting on his 40 week protocol of treatment, including chemotherapy and radiation. In December of 2009, he was declared NED (no evidence of disease) as there were negative PET scans showing that the tumor had responded to treatment. In June of 2010, Tanner bravely completed his treatment course. He had a celebratory barbeque with all of his friends and family. A week later, on a routine CT scan, it was determined that Tanner had "leptomeningeal enhancement" - he had relapsed, and worse. Tanner was immediately brought into surgery (after having massive seizure activity) and the cancer was found to be floating in his cerbro-spinal fluid and multiplying like wild-fire. He had a port put into his head (an ommaya reservoir) for treatment and for alleviation of hydrocephalus. He spent the next 3 weeks in the pediatric intensive care unit, undergoing life-saving radiation therapy, which was guaranteed to help him at the time, but long term effects were blindness, stunted growth, and degeneration of his growing brain.


3 weeks later, our little determined Tanner not only came home, he started walking again, speaking, eating and resuming his "normal" life. Although Tanner had to go back to the hospital as often as 3 times a week, he never let it get him down. Tanner was his happy self, laughing, playing with his new baby brother Chase (born in January 2010) and going to pre-school at The Morgan Center, a special school for children who are immunosuppressed. Tanner loved Thomas the Train, cars, trucks, planes, singing songs and being silly. He would often pull up his shirt and tell people that was his "situation" (pointing to his belly button). Tanner loved everyone around him, and would often tell random strangers at the grocery store "Love you!!". He loved sitting in his playhouse and watching TV, and he did not like sharing his toys with his brother - telling him all the time "that's mines!!"


When Tanner relapsed, the doctors said at best he had 6-8 weeks. When they sent him home from the ICU, they told us "take him home and enjoy him". Tanner lived for 9 good , happy months after his relapse diagnosis. He enjoyed life, and we lived every day to the fullest with him. We focused on his abilities more than his disabilities, and for this reason, we believe Tanner never truly knew he was "sick". He was just like everyone else... he went into the hospital giving out high-fives to everyone around him, and loved making people smile. It was his way of saying thank-you - a high five from Tanner was a very special gift.


On April 25th, 2011, one week after returning home from his wish trip to Disney World, Tanner took his last breaths at home, in bed snuggled between us, his mommy and daddy. The night before he passed, he managed to tell everyone in the room how much he loved us. He was the strongest, bravest little soul we knew, and although his time with us was short, it was 3 years that we wouldn't give up for the world. Tanner's spirit lives on in so many people, he inspired people while he was here, and he will continue to do so for many years to come. He will forever be missed, and forever be remembered. Our little dude.




My name is Melissa Eichele, and although I am known for many "hats" I wear, the one I wear the proudest is "mommy".


I grew up an average kid on Long Island, raised by my grandmother, attending private school my entire life. I was a good student, captain of the swim team, and student council president. I went to College with a scholarship, and graduated with a degree in nursing. After college, I married Andrew, who I met in high school. We bought the house I grew up in, fixed it up, and started our life together. I went to graduate school, got my masters degree in nursing, and Andrew worked as an electrician. We tried for 4 years to conceive and were finally blessed with our baby boy Tanner in November of 2007. In July of 2009, we found out we would be expecting a second baby the following April. In our eyes, our family was complete. We truly thought "life couldn't be more perfect".


Our world came crashing down in September of 2009 when Tanner was diagnosed with cancer. Until then, we thought of pediatric cancer as something we saw on TV, something that happens to "other people". We learned first hand how pediatric cancer can change your life from "perfect" to a complete nightmare in the blink of an eye. I took leave from my job as an ICU nurse for the next year and a half to sit by Tanner's side through every treatment and surgery. Andrew took long leaves of absence. When it comes to your child, nothing is more important - especially when you're fighting for his life. The world kept turning though, and the bills kept coming. We depended on family and friends, fundraisers, and charities for support. The Lexiebean Foundation was one of our biggest supporters, and at the time of Tanner's relapse, we were surprised with a gift from them, while we were in the ICU, that helped pay our mortgage that month. You can't imagine how scary it is to sit by your child's side, praying that he will live, and at the same time worrying about how to keep a roof over your heads so you will have somewhere to go "home" to. With a gift like that, all of a sudden, you can focus fully on your child - the burden of bills was just lifted.


I have fought the hardest fight of my life, and lost. Trying to keep my son Tanner alive, I would have given anything, including my own last breath. He was the light of my life, and I know in my heart I will never be the same. But Tanner still lives in my heart, and I hope to make a difference in the lives of families affected by pediatric cancer, in his name. In this spirit I have joined the Lexiebean Foundation so that I can help other families, so that their financial burdens can be lifted, so that they have someone to talk to who "gets what their going through" just as the Falabella's did for us, and so that everyone will always know my angel Tanner. 

Upcoming Events



Local Bar and Grill

39-24 Bell Blvd

Bayside, New York

Have fun, show your support, drink and laugh with other Lexiebean friends.




The Lexiebean Foundation's
2nd Annual Golf Outing

Shoot a round at the beautiful Garden City Golf Club while raising money to help kids with cancer.

>>Learn More



Lexie's Legs Inaugural 5K Run/Walk
at Eisenhower Park

Run--or walk--down to our inaugural 5K and enjoy a day spent in the fresh air for a great cause.

>>5K Run    

Lexies Legs

Lexie's Legs Needs You!

Our running teams needs some fresh legs!
Come along, have fun, and get moving!
>>Join Now  


Volunteer Spotlight


Alexandra Weyl

Alexandra is a 16 year old, soon-to-be twelfth grader. She's been playing soccer since she's six years old. Along with her father, Russell, Alexandra is proud to run for Lexie Legs. She's very glad to make a difference!

>>Sponsor Alexandra 


Russell Weyl

Russell is an avid biathlete and triathlete. This married father of 3 girls has been running to raise money for different charities for the past 3 years. He's proud to be a member of the Lexie's Legs team with his daughter Alexandra by his side.

>>Sponsor Russell 


Jesse Kotler

Jesse Kotler is 16 years old and enjoys playing soccer as well as singing. Jesse heard about the Foundation from her family and friends, and she's happy to be the newest member of the Lexie's Legs team. She can't wait to help support and raise money for such an amazing cause.

>>Support Jesse 


Click here for more details or to learn about our other Lexie's Legs team members.


Maria Schulz is our newsletter and article writer. To see more of her work, please visit her blog at



Grace Maher is our newsletter designer. Visit www.gracemaher.com to learn more about her work.

Dear Friends,


August is here, and we can't wait to tell you about all of the new and exciting things that are happening at The Lexiebean Foundation.


We've got a lot to tell you about when it comes to our amazing Lexie's Legs team. We are thrilled to welcome three new members: Russell Weyl, Alexandra Weyl, and Jesse Kotler. They bring loads of enthusiasm, energy, excitement, and most of all-fresh legs to the team. To learn more about them, look at the sidebar for a brief bio on all three of our newest team members.


Despite the heat wave, Lexie's Legs was up and running throughout the month of July.


On July 10th, Vince Salvia, Russel Weyl and Alexandra Weyl ran for us at the Heart & Sole 5K at Plainview-Old Bethpage Middle School. The weather was bright, sunny and hot, but they did us proud and ran for The Lexiebean Foundation. You can see the race results at http://www.justfinish.net 


On July 17th, our team took on the Thunder Run 5K at Hidden Pond Park in Hauppauge. Once again, it was a hot day with blazing sunshine, but Vince Salvia, Connie Crump, Russell Weyl, Alexandra Weyl, Jesse Kotler and George Lee laced up their sneakers and ran for the cause. Check out their race results at:



The Lexiebean team also made about 350 kids at Sunrise Day camp happy with goodie bags and pizza-and it's all thanks to you, our wonderful supporters! Learn about it, and get inspired by the people whose generosity always motivates us by reading "Tanner's High Fives" and "Lexie's Corner," below.


Check out our upcoming events on the sidebar, and please join us. Thanks again!


All the best,

Your friends at The Lexiebean Foundation

Tanner's High Fives


camp 01

A special thank you goes out to all of the people who donated to Vince & Connie's Mud Run. Thanks to you, we raised $2200! We used this money to buy pizza and goodie bags for about 350 children attending the Sunrise Day Camp, located on the border of Nassau and Suffolk Counties. Children ages 3 1/2 - 16 are able to enjoy this beautiful day camp--the only one in the nation dedicated to children with cancer and their siblings. The look of pure joy and happiness on the faces of the kids who enjoyed the pizza party and goodie bags makes it all worth it!

camp 03

Lexie's Corner

Lexie  Inspiration and Motivation for those touched by cancer


The Great Things People Do


Here's a call-out to everyone who supports us: thank you. We couldn't do the things we do without you.   


  • We'd like to give a special shout out to The Aulicino Triplets. These 3 year olds really know how to get into the spirit of giving. Through their combined efforts, they were able to raise $11.16 for The Lexiebean Foundation. Their mom told us how they got started: "We made the decision as a family to give charity (called tzedukah in the jewish religion) to The Lexiebean Foundation. We have a tzedukah box and the kids fill it with change. When it's filled to the top and ready to be donated, we bring it to the Falabella's. It makes them proud and happy to know that they are doing something good for someone else and able to help in some way. My kids had the pleasure of meeting Lexie, but don't remember her because they were so young. But, if you show them a picture of her, they know who she is! They know she is someone very special. We will continue this path of giving....." Thanks to the entire Aulicino family for making today better for all of us. You're a true inspiration! Rastell baby donation 
  • The Lexiebean Foundation would also like to thank Darren and Michele Rastelli for their donation (in lieu of favors) at their baby shower, held on July 23, 2011. Michele and Darren feel that the upcoming birth of their daughter Graziella (due in the beginning of September - or possibly sooner) is a gift from God, and they want to share their good fortune with the Foundation. They sincerely hope that their donation will help others.  Newlyweds
  • Newlyweds Jill and Steve Ruhs made a very generous donation to the Foundation. In lieu of favors at their wedding, they donated $2000.00.  Thanks, Jill and Steve, for remembering us on your special day. We wish you great happiness and joy, and thank you for helping us do the same for the kids who need us. 
Meet our new 

Corporate Sponsors


Lynbrook Runners Stop

They help you find fantastic runner's shoes at the best prices, along with free shipping, deep discounts on popular and discontinued models, and more.

>>Run On Over 

Four Food Studio & Cocktail Salon

With exquisite food and extravagant flair, FOUR is a great place to socialize with friends, family and business associates. Drop by to enjoy a spectacular meal.

>>Let's Go 


Two Steak and Sushi Den

The New York Times says that the "lush sushi selections," "top of the line entrees" and "exciting desserts" make TWO a "Don't Miss" restaurant sensation.

>>Check it Out   


Mark David Real Estate

Whether it's buying, selling, or renting a property, their techno-savvy, highly trained, and motivated agents make it their business to satisfy you.
The Lexiebean Foundation | P.O. Box 1006 | Plainview, New York 11803 | 888-539-2326