Robin Bennett Kanarek '96, BS, RN
Robin has been registered nurse since 1979 and has worked in the clinical areas of cardiology, spinal cord injury and physical rehabilitation, insurance review, as well as diabetes nurse educator. Her life was changed forever when her 10 year old son, David, was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia. He achieved remission for over 3 years but relapsed in 1999 and died in 2000. After David's death, the family moved to London, England where Robin became involved with an organization called the Teenage Cancer Trust (TCT). It was her involvement with this foundation that made her acutely aware of the specific needs of teens and young adults suffering from cancer at various TCT inpatient cancer centers throughout the UK. These needs included physical, emotional, developmental and spiritual changes. She presented the "Parents Perspective of Adolescent Oncology" at the International Conference on Adolescent Oncology in 2004 at the Royal College of Physicians in London. This experience was pivotal in her realizing what can be done to honor David's memory.
In 2004, "David's Treasure Tree" was opened on the pediatric unit of Stamford Hospital; a large double door walk-in closet stocked with an array of age appropriate gifts for every child admitted onto the unit and overseen by the nurses. The double doors were richly decorated by a child's illustrator commissioned by the Kanareks with all the toys, games and gifts David loved. "David's Treasure Tree" has since been "extended" to The Child Guidance Center in Stamford and to Kids in Crisis of Greenwich and is called "The Branch".
Robin has served on the Board of the Stamford Hospital Foundation since 2000 and on board of the Carl and Dorothy Bennett Foundation in Greenwich. In 2006, Robin and Joe established the Kanarek Family Foundation to honor the memory of David; Robin serves at the President. Fairfield University was the first beneficiary of their family foundation with a $350,000.00 gift for the establishment of the Nursing Learning Resource Center. She has since provided a two year grant to integrate Pediatric and Adolescent Palliative Care into the Nursing Curriculum - lead and overseen by Dr. Eileen O'Shea, Assistant Professor of Nursing.
Robin and Joe live in Greenwich. Their daughter, Sarah, is a student at Boston University's Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation, completing her Master's Degree in Occupational Therapy.
In her free time, Robin loves to do figurative sculpting.