Our blog series finishes with excerpts from the last set of 2018 Ambassador's profiles. A total of 16 ambassadors will represent The Valerie Fund at The Thanksgiving Ball Gala this Friday, November 16th.
Santino, age 11
Santino was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) at age seven. He completed his last chemo treatment in August 2017 and he is now playing football and hockey again. Santino has also been able to enjoy other activities like paddle boarding at Camp Happy Times.
Santino said, "Cancer sucks and The Valerie Fund saves lives! No matter what challenge we faced during treatment, we always faced it together. The Valerie Fund became a part of our family. I am all better thanks to The Valerie Fund."
Grace, age 9
Grace was diagnosed earlier this year with Germinoma Brain Cancer. Her expected treatment is for six months. Outside of her time at The Valerie Fund Children's Center, Grace likes to play softball, do gymnastics, paint and hang with her friends. Her favorite memory from Camp Happy Times was the dance and photo shoot with her best friend.
"Grace said, "When my parents had to tell my brother about my sickness, the social worker helped them find a good way to explain it. The Valerie Fund helps kids that are fighting for their lives, for kids that are strong."
Diana, age 14
Diana was diagnosed earlier this year with Large-cell Lymphoma, which is a rare type of Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. She was in treatment for six months. When Diana started treatment, The Valerie Fund helped her to explain her illness to her sister so she would have a better time understanding and coping.
Diana said, "During procedures they would hold my hand and made sure I wasn't miserable the whole time. At the end of treatment, all my nurses and child life had surprised me with my favorite song." Diana continued, "Now that I am not in treatment, I am adjusting to school."
Aanya, age 7
Aanya was diagnosed with B-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia at age six. Her treatment is expected to end in September of 2019. Aanya said, "I remember being scared in the beginning but when I met the nurses and child life specialists, I figured out that they are really nice and made me feel better. They take good care of me and I like that." Aanya likes to color, play with friends, biking and reading.
Her mom said, "The presence of our Valerie Fund Center in Morristown, our home away from home, as we lovingly refer to it is helping us live through these trying times. They offer not only medical support, but also emotional, physical and educational support via their team of social workers, educational liaisons, integrative medicine staff and child life specialists."
Nicholas, age 14
Nicholas was diagnosed with B-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia earlier this year. His treatment will be almost four years long. He has not let his treatment slow him down. Nicholas said, "The Valerie Fund gives me gift cards after each infusion treatment." His social worker, Ann, helped him get an iPad so he could continue to do his school work. His child life specialist took him to put mentos in soda bottles and watch them explode. Nicholas enjoys playing video games with his friends, spending time with his family and loves go-karts.