A Huntington organization that helps families of children with cancer is mustering financial support for one of its employees: the girlfriend of murder-victim Julian Pena, who was stabbed to death last week in the parking lot of a Holbrook shopping center.
Have A Heart Children’s Cancer Society in Huntington Village is hoping that full paid leave, a $1,000 personal donation from the organization’s executive director, and support from the community will help with expenses for Natali Altenburg and 2 1/2 year old Jaedan -- her son with Pena -- during "their time of serious need.”
Julian was Natali’s “significant other,” said Kerry Walters, vice president of the not-for-profit group, which has offices in the Huntington Chamber of Commerce. “They were raising their son together when his life was unfairly taken away. This has all been so horribly sad for all of us.”
Pena was stabbed in Holbrook around midnight Wednesday, Sept 26 when he became embroiled in an outbreak of fighting by multiple people in front of a bar. The 29 year-old man was rushed to Stony Brook University Medical Center, where he died from his injuries. Robert Gregory, 19, of Farmingville, is being charged with the murder.
“Julian was an innocent individual,” said Walters. “He was trying to help and protect others.”
A six-year Navy veteran who worked as an electrician and was studying to be a nuclear engineer at Stony Brook University, Pena was “also was an important contributor to the work of Have A Heart,” she added. “Julian volunteered countless hours for our charity in order to raise funds and awareness. He also made it possible for Natali to contribute to our work at the society by coordinating his schedule with hers and watching Jaedan.”
Since coming to Have A Heart a year ago, Natali Altenburg, and Julian Pena have done “incredible work all over Long Island who have a child diagnosed with cancer."
“Her contribution to our charity through her work in the office -- and both of their incredible efforts in our fundraising to assist families across Long Island -- has been nothing far from miraculous,” added Have A Heart Executive Director Peggy Harold.
“They were two young people trying to make it in this tough economy. The charity will help Natali by continuing to pay her full salary until she is able to come back to work. We hope that others can help as well in some way.”
To find out more, contact Have A Heart Children’s Cancer Society, 164 Main St., Huntington NY 11743, (631) 470-1198 or visit their website, www.haveaheartcharity.org
“Or come visit us at the Fall Festival,” Walters said.
Have A Heart will have a booth at the corner of Madison and New York Avenue at the Long Island Fall Festival this weekend -- and will also be present at the Farmingdale Street Festival on Main Street this weekend.