Glen Cove fitness honoree uses her winnings to the max


When Mary Stanco learned that she was voted the winner of her Max Challenge, a 10-week fitness program based around daily classes, she knew exactly where her winnings would go.

Her sister, Donna Stanco, is going through treatment for stage 4 pancreatic cancer, a condition which was unfortunately caught very late in its development. There is not much that can be done at this point aside from chemotherapy, and Mary decided she had to do what she could to help.

At the conclusion of each 10-week Max Challenge, members vote on a winner based on both their physical and mental transformation throughout the process. They voted Stanco as their winner not only due to the fact that she had gone down by two pants-sizes, but also her great desire to continue to better herself even beyond the classes. Stanco said that, upon learning that she had won, “I was like ‘Thank you!’ I was very shocked, very humbled.”

Stanco, a local real estate broker and member of the Glen Cove Chamber of Commerce, was awarded $500 in cash, as well as $500 to go toward future membership. Immediately after her victory was announced, she told Matilde Tysz, the owner of the Glen Cove Max Challenge, that she would put the money toward her sister’s cancer treatment. Tysz said Stanco inspired her and the rest of the Glen Cove Max Challenge management to also donate $500 to Donna Stanco as well.

Since this was the first Max Challenge Tysz has run, she wanted to extend its impact past the classes and into the community. She said that she considered Mary’s and Donna’s story to be a perfect opportunity to give back. “When one of us has a need,” Tysz said, “we’re there beyond the physical classes.”

However, word of the Stanco story did not stop at the borders of Glen Cove. Tysz notify Bryan Klein, the founder and CEO of the Max Challenge, of Stanco’s generosity. Klein found the story inspiring. “When Matilde called me and filled me in that she was choosing Mary, I was blown away,” Klein said.

He decided that the Max Challenge corporation would match Mary’s and the Glen Cove Max Challenge’s donations as well, sending $500 to Mary for her sister’s treatment. Klein said, “I thought, ‘What better way to carry forward the message of the Max Challenge?’ It’s about doing your best, reaching your potentials, and along the way helping to make the world a better place.”

“Hopefully that small contribution helps to initiate and lift up the spirits of the person on the other end of it,” Klein added.

At the center of all of this is Donna Stanco, who said she was grateful and unsurprised by her sister’s generosity. “We’re all family,” she said, “I knew she would help me out in some shape or form.”

While Mary’s donations may not have been much of a shock for her, Donna said that the community’s contributions have been touching. “It’s making me feel like the community really helps out and chips in where they’re needed,” she said.

Donna said she continues to experience a great deal of gratitude for those who are doing what they can to help her along what is an incredibly difficult part of her life. “Thank you very much to the community for helping me through this journey,” she said. “I really appreciate it.”