A Charity Dedicated To Giving Fun Filled Backpacks To Hospitalized Children Dealing With Chronic Illness

Blog

Nick’s Picks Recognized by Assemblyman Brian Maienschien


April 27th was a day like any other, until I got the most awesome surprise.
I was sitting in Spanish class at Torrey Pines High School and I received a campus pass to go to the office. I was a little nervous about why they were sending for me, I mean no one wants to get summoned to the office.

When I got there I received an envelope with a letter in it. It was from State Assemblyman Brian Maienschein from the 77th District. He had read an article the Del Mar Times had published about Nick’s Picks and wanted to reach out.
The letter said:

 

April 27th was a day like any other, until I got the most awesome surprise.
I was sitting in Spanish class at Torrey Pines High School and I received a campus pass to go to the office. I was a little nervous about why they were sending for me, I mean no one wants to get summoned to the office.

When I got there I received an envelope with a letter in it. It was from State Assemblyman Brian Maienschein from the 77th District. He had read an article the Del Mar Times had published about Nick’s Picks and wanted to reach out.
The letter said:

I recently read an article about your charitable nonprofit , Nick’s Picks, in the Del Mar Times. Thank
you for your compassion and generosity to children with life-threatening illnesses.

It is a pleasure to represent you in the State Assembly and please do not hesitate to contact me if I may be of any assistance in the future. Thank you and best wishes.

Best Regards,
Brian Maienshein
Assemblymember 77th District”

It was such a great honor to receive this letter. I appreciate his recognition, it just reminds me why I do what I love to do for the kids.

Thank you Assemblymember Maienshein for the recognition, it’s an honor to have you serve us in the 77th District.

Nick’s Picks V.I.P for June


 

 

NAME: Max Page

AGE: 12

LOCATION:  Southern California

 

 

 

 

MY STORY

I was born with Congenital Heart Disease. At 12 yrs. old, I have had 12 surgeries, countless tests, and multiple hospital stays. I have a pacemaker and artificial pulmonary valve. Beginning of January 2017, I was diagnosed with Endocarditis, which is a blood infection that was damaging my artificial heart valve. I was in the hospital for over a month.

MY RELATIONSHIP WITH NICK

In my most recent hospital stay at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, I received a back pack from Nick’s Picks. Hey Nick, Thank you for using your life to make mine a bit easier!

 

MY FAVORITE ITEM FROM THE BACKPACK

I enjoy the fact that older kids like me had something to get too. I like the boogie board, balls, and stress relievers. I also like the stuffed animals, because I kept one and gave one to my little brother – sort of bond for us.

MY FAVORITE HOBBIES

I act in Los Angeles, play golf and baseball, love to learn and am a Jr. Ambassador for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

NICK’S VIP THOUGHTS

Max received the first backpack we delivered to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles in 2016. I love that Max has accomplished so much, in spite of his medical condition and that he doesn’t let anything hold him back. He is a great role model for other kids.

Announcing Nick’s Picks Hotel Del Coronado Stay-cation Winners


A huge congratulations to our Hotel Del Coronado Stay-cation winners Julie S. And Charles W.

They each won a 2 night stay at the fabulous Hotel Del Coronado. One of our generous winners donated their stay back to Nick’s Picks to raffle again! “ It’s great that I won, but I entered to support the kids. As a child serious illness touched my family and I know first hand the hardships of it for the child and family. Nick is doing important work and I am always an enthusiastic supporter!”

 

 

 

Our next Stay-cation raffle will be announced this summer!

Nick’s Picks at the Sheckler Foundation’s Skate For a Cause


Nick’s Picks was invited to participate in the Sheckler Foundations 8th Annual Skate For a Cause. There were more than 500 pro skateboarders, sponsors and supporters present at the Etnies Skatepark of Lake Forest. The Cinco de Mayo themed event featured skate contests, carnival games, food and raffles for its supporters who were in attendance.

 

Nick’s Picks hosted the “Lacrosse Toss” booth, awarding winning players with our signature stuffed harp seals, rubiks cubes, and mini glow in the dark basketball hoops.

Despite lots of wind and rain, the event was a huge success. Nick’s Picks looks forward to the 9th event, next year.
Many thanks to Ryan Sheckler for including Nick’s Picks.

Sponsor Spotlight: Rosemont Media


 

 

 

 

Rosemont Media is an important partner with Nick’s Picks in providing for our digital marketing needs. When they heard about Nick’s Picks in 2012, as we were just starting out, Rosemont was ready, willing and eager to help us by creating our website and helping us with the development of our digital marketing strategy.

Here’s a little bit about Rosemont and what makes them one of San Diego’s leading web design agencies.

Tell us about Rosemont Media. When did you start and what do you think sets you aside from other agencies?

Rosemont Media was established in 2008. Our mission from the start has been to create customized, all-encompassing Internet strategies while offering a competitive advantage through market exclusivity. We present objective marketing evaluations and are known for providing personalized customer service.

How big are you, how many employee’s?
We started with 3 and have grown to 45 full-time employees in-house at our San Diego office.

How did you become involved with Nick’s Picks?
In 2012 we became acquainted with Nick through his mother, Dr. Deborah Atkin, a local dermatologist and RM customer.  He approached us with his idea of Nick’s Picks and we immediately knew we wanted to do whatever we could to help get his website up and running.

What do you have planned for Nick’s Picks in the future in the digital world? 
As Nick transforms from boy to young man, his website needs to grow too. In addition to changing up the overall look of the site, we plan to work with Nick to add in functionality for video, as well as to make the website mobile-friendly. Now anyone who visits the site can learn about what Nick is currently enjoying outside of his altruistic endeavors as well as contribute to his cause.

What are your thoughts on Nick’s Picks and their mission to serve pediatric centers?
Admirable is an understatement to the work Nick’s Picks is doing to help other children facing many of the same health challenges familiar to Nick himself. We love hearing stories and following them on social media to see the love, happiness and hope being spread through his Nick’s Picks filled backpacks.

 

Nick and the volunteers for Nick’s Picks would like to say a HUGE “Thank You” to Rosemont for all of their continued support.

Nick’s Picks Now Serving Riley Children’s Hospital, Indianapolis, Indiana


 

 

 

 

Nick’s Picks is continuing its reach of giving. In May 2017 we added Riley Children’s Hospital located in Indianapolis, Indiana, to their growing list of centers served.

Riley Children’s Hospital, named for Indiana poet James Whitcomb Riley, began treating children in 1924. In 1983, Riley inserted Indiana’s first cochlear implant into a deaf child.

After helping children hear, the hospital was the first to achieve a successful heart-lung bypass surgery for critically ill infants and children. In 1988, Riley performed the first liver transplant in Indiana, then a year later performed the first infant and newborn heart transplants.

 

 

Nick’s Picks is proud to support the kids at Riley Children’s Hospital. We look forward bringing a lot of smiles to the children of Indianapolis.

A Tribute to Dr. Thomas Starzl


(photo: Dr. Starzl overseeing the amazing transplant team)

My life changed in 2013 when I met Dr. Thomas Starzl. Dr. Starzl performed the first successful liver transplant at the University of Colorado in 1967. He spent the rest of his life saving lives, like mine.

(photo: Nick and Lexie Wallace with Dr. Starzl at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, 2013)

When I met Dr. Starzl I discovered that not only was he a great surgeon and a gifted researcher, but one of the nicest most caring people I had ever met. He became a friend and an idol.

Dr. Starzl passed away on March 4, 2017. It was a sad day for all whose lives he had touched, both personally and as a physician. Dr. Starzl leaves behind amazing legacy of discovery.

Thomas Starzl was so many things to so many people. He was a pioneer, a legend, a great human, and a great humanitarian.With determination and irresistible resolve, Thomas Starzl advanced medicine through his intuition and uncanny insight into both the technical and human aspects of even the most challenging problems.

(photo: Dr. Thomas Starzl, father of modern transplantation)

Even more extraordinary was his ability to gift that capacity to those around him, allowing his students and colleagues to discover the right stuff within themselves. Nobody who spent time with Thomas Starzl could remain unaffected. Including me!

(photo: Dr. Ron Busuttil, Nick Wallace and Dr. Thomas Starzl at his 90th birthday celebration in 2016)

I had the honor of attending Dr. Starzl’s 90th birthday celebration in March of 2016. There are no words to describe the love and respect in the ballroom that night. The celebration was attended by Starzl trained physicians from around the world. There were colleagues, family and a few of us patients whose lives had been saved by Dr. Starzl’s contributions to medicine.

I will always treasure that experience, and always miss him

Nick Speaks at Intercept Pharmaceuticals


I had the opportunity to speak to over 150 employees at Intercept Pharmaceuticals on Tuesday, February 28th. I was born with Biliary Atresia, a pediatric liver disease, that required me to have my life-saving liver transplant in 2013. Intercept Pharmaceuticals is evaluating a therapy that could one day be delivered to patients with Biliary Atresia like me, to treat the liver disease and perhaps prevent transplant.

I was honored to speak to the team at Intercept and tell my story. I feel lucky to have received my liver transplant, but it is very exciting to think that there could soon be a therapy that could treat Biliary Artesia (BA) in other kids. It was great to have the chance to tell the team at Intercept how appreciative I am of their efforts.

I was invited to speak by Janet Owens-Grillo, Ph.D., Principal Scientist at Intercept, at their La Jolla office. Intercept is focused on the development and commercialization of novel therapeutics to treat progressive non-viral liver diseases including biliary atresia.

My mom spoke too, and explained what it was like to have a child with Biliary Atresia. My little buddy Trent was there too. Trent Boaz was also born with BA, but has not had a transplant. This treatment could potentially help him.

 

“Our biliary atresia team is working extremely hard to find a treatment for this rare disease and it always makes the job easier when we can make a direct connection with the patients we are trying to help,” Said Owens-Grillo.

“Nick is truly inspirational in his outlook on life and the fact that he has already become a leader in the community.  To be only 17 and have experienced all that he has and yet be a mentor and a founder of a charitable organization providing hope and inspiration to chronically ill children, their families, and those who have simply had the good fortune to meet Nick, is simply amazing.”

The team at Intercept is not only working hard to save lives, they are helping me provide backpacks for hospitalized kids across the country. They invited me back in March to present me with a generous contribution for Nick’s Picks.  Intercept and their WONDERFUL employees donated $7,500 to Nick’s Picks. This will provide 150 backpacks!

I’d like to say a BIG “Thank You” to Intercept Pharmaceuticals for their hard work to find a treatment for Biliary Atresia, and for their generosity.

Click the image to check out the article about my talk in the Del Mar Times

Volunteers turn out to support Nick’s Picks assembly line


Nick’s Picks volunteers were out in full force on Saturday March 11th for our backpack assembly line. We had some great help and we were able to put together over 400 backpacks to ship to our centers across the country.

A Nick’s Picks approved backpack with the twelve items that comes in it

It doesn’t seem like that long ago that my CCO (Chief Creative Officer) and sister Lexie, pup Maverik and I used put them all together by ourselves. Since we have expanded, Nick’s Picks now serves 14 centers across the country, we need all the extra hands we can get!

It takes a lot of boxes, with a lot of books, games, seals and No Buttons to make a lot of backpacks!

Thanks to all my great volunteers. Can’t wait for the next time!

There I am, sporting my shades.

 

Maverik guarding the backpacks

The most important part of all of this is the happiness it provides to hospitalized/isolated kids trying to make the best of a bad situation.

Smiles like Max’s – this is why we do what we do!

Support Nick’s Picks: Win A Hotel Del Coronado Stay-cation


Spring has sprung and Nick’s Picks has a great raffle opportunity to help you kick off the season relaxed and refreshed. Two lucky winners will win a two-night stay at the Hotel Del Coronado (offer good through July 1, 2017). Raffle tickets are $100.00 each (tax deductible donation),

 

 

Remember,  100 percent of  the proceeds will go to providing Nick’s Picks approved backpacks to hospitalized, isolated kids in pediatric centers across the country. This will put a lot of smiles on a lot of faces!

Winners will be announced on April 24th.  To Enter, click the “donate now” button below and make your donation of $100.00, or more. In the special notes line enter “raffle ticket purchase”.  We will confirm your purchase and you will receive an email receipt. Nick will select a winner on April 17th and we will stream it live on Facebook.

Just in case you have never been to the Hotel Del Coronado, or you aren’t familiar with all
that beautiful Coronado has to offer, here are some great ideas for how to spend your stay-cation. It’s one of my favorite places in San Diego and I have a lot of great memories there.

 

Don’t miss out on this great chance to support Nick’s Picks and win a staycation.

Thanks!

Nick