Peter Powerhouse gives kids with cancer fun experiences

To give families a reprieve from stress about childhood cancer, the Peter Powerhouse Foundation funds fun. The organization has provided several events to children in the Montgomery area already.

Providing experiences tailored to fit each patient’s idea of fun, the Peter Powerhouse Foundation comforts families affected by cancer to help them relax.
10-year-old Sellersville Elementary student Luke Vollberg has a brain tumor and loves watching hockey.
Between expenditures and stress, his family normally would not be able to take him to see the Flyers, one of his favorite sports teams.
Through the Peter Powerhouse organization, the family was able to go to a Flyers game.
“It’s a chance for us to do something as a family that we probably wouldn’t be able to do because of expenses and all,” Vollberg’s father Paul said.
The Vollberg family received tickets to a Flyers game, a personalized jersey, a visit from Flyers mascot Gritty and a meeting with Flyers defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere.
Vollberg’s mother Diane said that she received a call from Peter Powerhouse president Dawn Zucca telling her about a Flyers-themed opportunity for Vollberg.
“Every time [Luke] wasn’t around we would be talking to each other about it,” Paul said.
Plans to surprise Luke fell into place from there.
“We told him that we were coming to see Dawn [Zucca] and Peter [Zucca]’s new office,” Diane Vollberg said.
Zucca’s son, Peter, also a cancer survivor, founded the Peter Powerhouse Foundation.
On Christmas Eve, 10-month-old Peter was diagnosed with cancer and given no chance of survival.
After years of chemotherapy, surgery, physical therapy, and an amputation of part of his right leg, he committed his time to helping improve the lives of others with cancer like Luke Vollberg.
After the Vollberg family reached the office, Luke saw Flyers mascot Gritty waiting for them.
According to Diane Vollberg, Luke reacted exactly as she expected. “He didn’t know what to say and he was just so excited,” Vollberg said.
Peter Powerhouse Founder Peter said that it is a great feeling to give back to the community and support people going through what he did.
“I think it gives them a really positive experience,” Peter said. “Most of them are going through tough times, something like this is really life changing for them.”
According to Dawn Zucca, the organization will continue to arrange plans for other families as well.
They have set up plans for another young boy and his family to tour FlightSafety in Wilmington, Delaware.
“He gets to tour a simulator facility where they train pilots and after he gets to pick what plane they’re going to fly in and then the instructor will take him in his family into a simulator and fly him anywhere in the world he wants to go,” Zucca said.
Along with events similar to Make-A-Wish for patients, Peter Powerhouse provides support and wishes for families, as in the case of a family with a child who died in August.
“She died before her family could take their Make-A-Wish and when she passed away the Make-A-Wish request became void. So we sent her parents and her brother and two sisters to Great Wolf Lodge for the weekend,” Zucca said.
Peter Powerhouse also provides wagons instead of wheelchairs to hospitals and second chances for Make-A-Wish types of experiences.
“We provide wishes to children on hospice because they’ve already had their Make-A-Wish,” Zucca said.
“When treatment starts, within two years of diagnosis you get your wish, if five years later you relapse and head into treatment and it doesn’t go well, there isn’t another opportunity so we’ve provided some mini hospice type wishes.”
The foundation provides services throughout the tri-state area, operating in hospitals such as Nemours/A.I. duPont Hospital for Children, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
Other services include paying for funeral costs, support groups and 10 hour blood drives six times a year since 2015.
“I don’t know what we thought would happen when an 11-year-old decided to start a non profit, what we thought that would turn into, but it seems like every day it becomes something newer and bigger and better,” Zucca said.