About Dina McGowan

Dina McGowan was born on Long Island, NY on October 6, 1969.  She grew up in Mill Neck, NY attended Oyster Bay High School, graduated from Seton Hall University in 1991, and went on to obtain her Master of Science in Special Education from C.W. Post in 1992. During this time she met Steve McGowan, whom she married in 1994.  They settled in Westbury and in 1996 she had their first child, Tyler.  In 1998 she gave birth to their daughter, Natalie.  In 2000 the family moved to Dix Hills.  A few of her many passions in life were tennis, her students, her friends and most importantly her family. 

Dina’s professional career began in 1992 when she accepted a position as a Special Educator for the Developmental Disabilities Institute in Huntington.  In 1994 she began teaching elementary students at the North Bellmore School District where she remained until 2005.  In 2006 she began working in the Half Hollow Hills School District as a Special Education Teacher.

Dina was diagnosed in July 2002 with a rare form of pancreatic cancer, called neuroendocrine carcinoid tumors.  That began her eight year battle during which she endured multiple surgeries, several types of chemotherapy, two clinical trials and two trips to Switzerland for treatments not available in the United States.  During this time she spent 97 days hospitalized in and out of Sloan Kettering.  Even with this arduous task, one of the most important things for Dina was that life remain as normal as possible for her family. 

Dina was an inspiration to all who knew her and her determination to not allow this disease to dictate her life or that of her family was truly astounding.  No matter what the treatment or how she was feeling Dina would find the strength and courage to get to her children’s games and dance recitals, attend family events, travel, play tennis and work.  Family aside, Dina’s passion was her love of teaching.   Dina’s effort to get to her students each day was boundless; at times she would receive chemotherapy in the morning and be in the classroom in the afternoon.  Her ability to stay positive and have humor during such a difficult time was awe inspiring and a life lesson to all who knew her. 

Throughout it all, Dina's optimism, strength and her ability to live life to the fullest was truly remarkable to all whose lives she touched.   Dina lost her battle with cancer on July 12, 2010.  This foundation has been started in the spirit in which Dina lived her life.  To support to the children she was passionate about and spent her career dedicated trying to help