Volunteering is a large part of the community driven-action that is so important in keeping a nonprofit organization vital. At The Valerie Fund, there are a variety of opportunities for those interested in giving back. These volunteer profiles illustrate that there are many ways to make a difference in the lives of children battling cancer and blood disorders.
Rhonda Silver, a long time volunteer, found her niche by visiting with patients during their stays at the hospital while in treatment. With guidance from a Child Life Specialist, volunteers may play games with the patients, make crafts, read to them or just simply have a conversation.
In her blog post, Rhonda reflects on her experience of volunteering at a Valerie Fund Children's Center for the first time. While she was nervous going into it, it turned out she had a wonderful experience and made a personal connection with the 12 year-old patient she met that day.
Rhonda (left) attended ArtShines earlier this month at Radius Digital Science in Montclair, NJ.
Rhonda said, "I know volunteering isn't about me or my needs. In my opinion, if you volunteer in order to feel personally fulfilled, you are missing the point. You do it to ease someone's suffering, to make a difference, large or small, in someone's life."
To read more of Rhonda's inspiring blog, please go to: http://thetarnishedyears.com/taking-a-chance-on-myself/
Over the past year, Clara Sarmiento, has been volunteering at The Valerie Fund’s fundraising office in Maplewood, N.J. once a week for six or more hours. After her son, JD, was treated by The Valerie Fund, Clara wanted to devote time to the organization that helped her and her family through a difficult period.
Clara (left) volunteered at the 4th Annual Toby Tyler Golf Invitational to benefit The Valerie Fund this past October.
“Volunteering at The Valerie Fund helps me give back to this amazing organization. When my son was diagnosed with Embryonal Carcinoma in January 2016, the weight of the world was on my shoulders. The Valerie Fund team became not only our extended family, but our support group.
Coming here every week is a reminder not only of how lucky I am to have my son happy, healthy and celebrating life back in college, but also that I’m somehow part of an amazing group of people dedicating their lives to care for other kids and families going down the same path I had to walk with my son not long ago.”
Bill Cody, has also volunteered at The Valerie Fund's fundraising office, and participates in helping set up the organization's biggest annual event: The Valerie Fund Walk & JAG Physical Therapy 5K Run. Bill's son, Will, is currently being treated by The Valerie Fund.
"Every day that I look at my son, I admire his strength and courage as he battles Leukemia. The last two years have been an emotional roller coaster, however, we are so fortunate for the comfort and ease The Valerie Fund has brought to our family. Without the efforts of Sue and Ed Goldstein over 40 years ago, our journey would be so much more difficult.
Words cannot begin to describe how rewarding it is to volunteer for The Valerie Fund. It makes me feel so good contributing to the mission Sue and Ed started. Helping to set up an event like the annual walk is so gratifying, especially knowing how much joy it brings the children."
Bill Cody (third from left) attended The 12th Annual Valerie Fund Walk & JAG Physical Therapy 5K Run with his son, Will (center) and the rest of their family.
Patricia DaSilva, tirelessly advocated for a N.J. bill to pass in 2017 that acknowledges the third week of September as “Go Gold for Kids with Cancer Awareness Week.” Part of the awareness week is to encourage schools to have activities and programs that will help students to better understand the meaning and impact of childhood cancer.
Patricia's son, Nicholas, was diagnosed with Burkitt’s Lymphoma when he was five years old and has been in remission since May 2014. Since then, they have both worked to raise awareness for other children with pediatric cancer. Nicholas even has a Facebook page to promote going gold for cancer awareness. Their Walk team, Team Nicholas the Trooper, has raised almost $4,000 over the last four years.
Nicholas, ready for a day at school, encourages his peers to "Go Gold for Kids" all year round with the help of his Facebook page.
“This means so much to our family to know that we have a huge support behind us in getting many involved in raising awareness for childhood cancer. We are hoping to have many different schools in different towns participate,” said Patricia of the official Go Gold for Kids with Cancer Awareness Week.
For more information, please visit the Facebook page “Kid Nicholas Going Gold 4 Kids Founding Hope.”
ABOUT THE VALERIE FUND: After their nine-year-old daughter Valerie succumbed to cancer in 1976, Sue and Ed Goldstein were determined that no family should have to travel great distances to receive state-of-the-art medical care. Today, more than 6,000 children with cancer and blood disorders benefit immeasurably by receiving their medical treatment close to home in a child-centered environment. The Valerie Fund ensures they do not have to rely on insurance reimbursements to receive a range of customized therapeutic services that enhance their quality of life. For more information, please visit www.thevaleriefund.org.