The Valerie Fund recently completed a yearlong recognition of the organization's 40th anniversary. During this time of reflection, Sue and Ed Goldstein were curious about the journey current and former Valerie Fund patients had been on since diagnosis and imagined a collection of these stories would be a thought-provoking and compelling read. "The Voices that Cancer and Blood Disorders Couldn't Silence. Where They Are Now" published in the Fall of 2016, consists of 40 stories of survivorship and includes a forward written by these courageous and tenacious octogenarians. It has become a meaningful footnote to four decades of treating tens of thousands of kids with cancer and blood disorders.
The history of The Valerie Fund is best told by our founders, the newest Unsung Heroes of the New Jersey Hall of Fame. We proudly present excerpts from the forward of "The Voices that Cancer and Blood Disorders Couldn't Silence. Where They Are Now."
"Back in 1970, our younger daughter Valerie, age three, was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma, a cancer of the bone. At the time, there were no pediatric oncology centers in New Jersey treating children with cancer. This resulted in a 90-minute-long car ride for our daughter's treatment by a pediatric oncologist at Babies and Children's Hospital in New York City. Once there, Val had doctors' appointments, chemotherapy, radiation, emergency visits, surgery or other in-hospital stays. Leaving our five-year-old daughter Stacy at home with babysitters also meant that she was separated from us for great periods of time. It was not a good arrangement for anyone. We had no choice.
Valerie died in January 1976 at the age of nine.
We established The Valerie Fund in Valerie's memory in February 1976. The idea was simple yet vitally important: a close-to-home, state-of-the-art medical healthcare facility integrating a range of customized therapeutic services in an upbeat, child-centered atmosphere.
We worked hard and Stacy played her part at night in front of the television stuffing The Valerie Fund envelopes with flyers. We were not alone. Many remarkable New Jersey folks who wanted to help children with cancer and blood disorders came out as well.
Soon after, in 1977, we opened The Valerie Fund Center for Children with Cancer and Blood Disorders at Overlook Hospital, Summit, New Jersey.
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 attention, unconditional support and loving kindness for the children under their care. Our seven centers are composed of pediatric oncologists, nurses, social workers, educational liaisons, psychologists and child life specialists, integrative medicine practitioners and palliative care physicians, all working tirelessly toward the treatment and cure of cancer and blood disorders throughout the entire network of The Valerie Fund.
In addition, The Valerie Fund's Camp Happy Times offers a free one-week overnight camping experience for children who have or have had cancer. At Camp Happy Times, lifelong bonds are established by these children who all know what it's like to be sick. Beyond that, college scholarships as well as financial aid are available to the families in need.
The Valerie Fund is a wonder and we continue to watch it grow with gratitude. The Valerie Fund Children's Centers for Cancer and Blood Disorders form one of the largest networks of hospital-based outpatient healthcare facilities in New Jersey and one of the largest in the nation. Everyone who made The Valerie Fund what it is today deserves a big thank you." Sue and Ed
"The Voices that Cancer and Blood Disorders Couldn't Silence. Where They Are Now." is available on our website's gift shop https://www.thevaleriefund.org/store/.
The Valerie Fund Walk/5K Presented by Ed and Sue Goldstein and JAG-ONE Physical Therapy