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.The Red & Gold Campaign focuses on town-wide fundraising initiatives involving as many schools, houses of worship, restaurants and other businesses in the communities where Valerie Fund patients and their supporters live. Mayoral proclamations have been issued in more than two dozen communities and over 200 Walk Team Captains have access to fundraising tools that will enable them to “paint their towns Red and Gold”. Their extraordinary efforts during past Walk events have yielded amazing success. Over $1,000,000 has been raised during each of the last four years. The objective of the Red & Gold Campaign is to lay the groundwork for raising $1,00,000 five years in a row for the Walk 2016!
Over the past ten years, this premier fundraiser has grown steadily in attendance, number of donations and sponsorship participation, now over 75 strong. A 5K Run held prior to the Walk is a perfect example of the evolution into a community-wide happening. Sponsored by long-time Valerie Fund supporter, JAG Physical Therapy, the race attracted fewer than one hundred participants back in year one. A decade later, the JAG Physical Therapy 5K attracted over one thousand runners for this USA Track & Field sanctioned event.
The day is a celebration of the hope and courage of Valerie Fund patients and their families. Local sponsors provide complimentary food and beverages. Entertainment includes carnival activities, live music, and face painting. The event is promoted by WCBS-TV 2 HD, WCBS 880, Outfront Media, NJ Advance Media and The Star-Ledger who donate on-air public service announcements, radio spots, billboards and full page ads.
The individuals and businesses donating to the Walk have made it a priority to strengthen their local communities and to be there for residents in need. The Red & Gold Campaign looks to increase this support and reinforces the messages educating the public about sickle cell disease and childhood cancers…and the resulting willingness to giving back.
The greater our fundraising successes, the better the ability The Valerie Fund has to implement programs and expand services and staff that achieve the organization’s mission of supporting comprehensive health care for more than 4,000 children in our area battling cancer and blood disorders. The seven Valerie Fund Children’s Centers located in top pediatric hospitals in New York, New Jersey and metro Philadelphia make up one of the largest networks of healthcare facilities for children with cancer and blood disorders in the country.