For the first time in seventeen years, a new Valerie Fund Children's Center has opened at St. Joseph's Children's Hospital in Paterson, NJ. The Passaic County-based outpatient facility neighbors the northern New Jersey counties of Morris and Essex where several other Valerie Fund Centers are located.
The Valerie Fund Blog
New York-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital is renowned for its pediatric healthcare services, and is currently home to the only Valerie Fund Children's Center outside the state of New Jersey. According to U.S. News & World Report, New York-Presbyterian consistently makes the magazine's Honor Roll as one of the best hosptials in the nation. The hospital's pediatric hematology-oncology department is led by Dr. Julia Glade-Bender alongside a multidisciplinary team of physicians, nurses, psychologists, educational liaisons, child life specialists and social workers. Dr. Marie Barnett recently joined The Valerie Fund family as the Center's psychologist.
In 1977, Overlook Medical Center in Summit, NJ, was the first hospital to support Sue and Ed Goldstein in their mission to provide comprehensive health care to children in our area with pediatric cancer and blood disorders. Forty years later, their dream has come to fruition with the expansion of seven Valerie Fund Children's Centers.
In their book, "Where They Are Now: The voices that cancer & blood disorders couldn't silence," Sue and Ed reflect, "The Valerie Fund Children's Centers- in New Jersey, New York City and the Philadelphia area- evolved into what we had hoped for: institutions delivering expert medical expertise, unconditional support and loving kindness for the children under their care."
Children who are treated at The Valerie Fund Children's Centers receive comprehensive health care. This not only includes state-of-the-art medical care, but the care of the patient's mental and emotional well-being. From diagnosis to well after treatment has ended, The Valerie Fund Center's multidisciplinary team identifies and treats the physical and emotional effects that manifest in pediatric patients. Psychological effects can include changes in attitude and behavior, breakdown in interpersonal relationships, depression and anxiety.
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.
Amy Tarabokia’s son, Nicholas, was diagnosed with leukemia in 2006 just shy of his fourth birthday, and received his last treatment in 2009 on his seventh birthday. She notes that there are many support groups for families but very few, if any, just for moms. "Moms take care of everyone else and tend to put themselves 'on the back burner'.” One of the things she remembers most vividly is the overwhelming feeling of isolation, particularly when Nicholas was quarantined and her “only outlet was the phone.” She tried to stay positive but there was a “constant dark cloud” hovering over her. The Valerie Fund Mom2Mom program gives moms a way to connect with kindred spirits who understand what it means to have a sick child because they have been there themselves.