The Valerie Fund Blog
When Valerie’s family and friends sought to honor her memory 40 years ago, most were new to the world of philanthropy and unlikely fully aware of the challenges of raising money.
Since the first Valerie Fund Children’s Center opened at Summit’s Overlook Medical Center in 1976, the extraordinary growth of The Valerie Fund has been rooted in founders Sue and Ed Goldstein’s own heartbreaking experiences and their desire to provide compassionate care close to home. This year we will celebrate the generosity, willingness to give back and tireless efforts of so many.
While there is so much more to do, we can reflect on the 40th Anniversary of the founding of The Valerie Fund and be proud of the fact that thousands of critically ill children and their families were not alone as they navigated the many challenges faced following a devastating diagnosis of cancer or a blood disorder.
We can appreciate the integration of top-notch medical care with a growing range of customized therapeutic services offered by social workers, child life specialists, educational liaisons, psychologists and specialists in integrative medicine and palliative care. We can acknowledge that while rarely covered by health insurance, these social services play a vital role in addressing quality of life issues during the treatment and healing process.
The Valerie Fund Board of Directors is proud to announce a new Center will join The Valerie Fund healthcare network serving children in our area with cancer and blood disorders. The St. Joseph's Children's Hospital Paterson-based outpatient facility strengthens The Valerie Fund's ability to offer top-notch services and programs for children and their families in other parts of New Jersey. The official date for the inclusion is July 1, 2016.
The Valerie Walk and JAG Physical Therapy 5K Run, now in its 11th year, is a fine example of the successful growth of a small community event with a big heart. More than $5,000,000 has been raised since a group of people met at Verona (NJ) Park in 2006 to celebrate the courage and resilience of children being treated for cancer and blood disorders.
Just as The Valerie Fund began in the living room of founders Ed and Sue Goldstein to honor their nine-year-old daughter Valerie’s memory, the first Walk-a-thon brought an intimate number of supporters together who wanted to show their thanks and raise money for the non-profit organization. The Valerie Fund’s mission is to provide comprehensive health care services to young patients and their families at a most vulnerable time.
Valerie was treated at hospitals in New York City for Ewing’s Sarcoma (bone cancer) for six years until she passed away in 1976. Her parent’s vision was to spare other families with critically ill children the additional suffering associated with traveling long distances to receive state-of-the-art medical care.
The Valerie Fund is a not-for-profit organization that provides caring, comprehensive, state-of-the-art outpatient health care to more than 4,000 children and their families each year. The Valerie Fund Walk & JAG Physical Therapy 5K Run will be held in Essex County’s Verona Park on Saturday, June 11, 2016 and has raised one million dollars in each of the last four years. The Walk and 5K Run supports The Valerie Fund's mission to provide comprehensive health care for children with cancer and blood disorders. Every step and every dollar raised helps at The Valerie Fund Centers. Patients receive far more than treatment for their physical illnesses. The Valerie Fund's philosophy is that to truly heal the children with whose care we are entrusted, we must treat them emotionally, socially, and developmentally, as well as medically.
The Valerie Fund would like to share a letter that we received from Ed and Sue Goldstein, founders of The Valerie Fund in support of our Friend to Friend Campaign: Give, Share, Repeat. We are asking all of our supporters to share your knowledge and connection to The Valerie Fund with your friends, family and business associates just as Ed and Sue Goldstein have below. Join us by making a donation of your choice in support of The Valerie Fund Walk and JAG Physical Therapy 5K Run on June 11th. Then, post a letter on your social media about your relationship to The Valerie Fund and asking your friends to do the same and share with their social media. Our goal is to recruit one million supporters for this year's walk! Thank you and we hope you will consider this campaign!
The popular use of various colored ribbons to promote disease awareness provides the perfect synergy to The Valerie Fund’s kickoff of fundraising activities leading up to the 2016 Walk and JAG Physical Therapy 5K Run to be held in Essex County’s Verona Park on Saturday, June 11, 2016. Red ribbons for Sickle Cell Awareness and gold ribbons for Childhood Cancer are powerful symbols of the Red & Gold Campaign. These meaningful colors of awareness will be the theme for the 2016 Valerie Fund Walk.
Sue and Ed Goldstein created The Valerie Fund in 1976 after losing their younger daughter Valerie to cancer. In Valerie’s memory, they were driven to make things better for other children and families fighting that same battle. In 1989 Sue and Ed’s older daughter Stacy was diagnosed with breast cancer and in 2001, at the age of 37, Stacy, too, lost her battle with cancer.
Sue was always in the forefront of getting the word out about The Valerie Fund and parenting a sick child. She co-wrote and co-produced the early Valerie Fund newsletters, and has just recently started writing for her personal blog.
What follows is an enlightening excerpt from Sue’s as-yet-unpublished memoirs titled “Unexpected Lives”. She describes the book as “...told from a mother’s perspective... the story of how one family confronts cancer in its only two children: Valerie, diagnosed when she was three, and years later, Stacy, diagnosed at twenty five." Sue uncovers her family’s will to live fully and enthusiastically. Hovering over all, however, is a dark cloud of uncertainty as ordinary people are faced with extraordinary illness.