Help Michael's March Trample Cancer One Step at a Time
Unfortunately, we cannot attend the walk this year, but we love the Valerie Fund and all they do for children with cancer and blood disorders. Thank you for supporting our team over the years! If you would like to make a completely tax-deductible donation, know that we sincerely appreciate your generosity, no matter the amount. THANK YOU!!
In 2010, our son Michael was diagnosed with Pre-B Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) at only 2 years old. Without question, it was the worst time of our lives, but the remarkable doctors, nurses and staff at the Morristown Valerie Fund Children’s Center saved our child and got us through his battle, both physically and emotionally.
Within 24 hours of arriving at the hospital, the Valerie Fund doctors gave us an accurate diagnosis, a plan to combat the cancer and Michael had his first dose of chemotherapy. They saved his life!
Within 1 month, he was in complete remission. For 3 ½ years, we traveled to a Valerie Fund location for his treatments and, on March 15, 2013, Michael took his last dose of chemotherapy! Now, we are even more thrilled to say that Michael has been in remission for over 9 years and he has been off chemo for over 6 years!! He is currently in their Survivorship program and looks forward to celebrating 3500 days in Remission this September!! (Knock on wood!)
Since there are Valerie Fund Children’s Centers nearby, our family was able to stay together throughout his entire treatment. He was able to get his chemo, come home to play with his sisters and get tucked into his own bed with good night kisses--from *both of his parents.* We are still able to go to all the follow-ups with oncologists and specialists without too much interruption to school and his extra-curricular activities.
HOW YOUR DONATION HELPS:
Michael will need to visit one of their seven centers for the **rest of his life**. The Valerie Fund Children Centers are located in the tri-state area so kids can receive exceptional comprehensive treatment close to home and families can stay together. The Valerie Fund now treats over 6K childhood cancer and blood disorder patients each year, during nearly 30K hospital visits. Sadly, that number has grown from 4K patients when we started walking just 7 year ago.
The Valerie Fund’s nurses care for him like we would, if we could. Their Child Life Specialists distract him and all the other kids while we wait for tests and during awful treatments. Their Social Workers still care for our emotional well-being. Their Educational Liaison helped Michael transition safely into school and will ensure that his educational needs are met through college. And, the onsite Neuro-psychologist checks to see that his cognitive functions are where they should be and gets him help as needed.
Beyond what they do for us, they do SO much more for others: Financial Counseling to ensure that treatment costs can be managed; Integrated medicine and holistic treatments to help when drugs cannot; Palliative care to manage the symptoms and side effects of the illness and the treatment; Transportation services to get patients to the hospital when they otherwise couldn’t; Camp Happy Times to keep creating childhood memories despite treatment; Scholarships to help patients pursue higher education; Flashes of Hope to capture the moments; a Mom hotline to help them cope; and, a Grief Support Program when all hope is lost.
Today, Michael is a happy and healthy 11 year-old with a terrific outlook, but, our journey is very far from over. Michael will be treated by an oncologist at a Valerie Fund Center for the rest of his life. We have been incredibly lucky so far, but they need to check for lasting side effects, and to make sure that he doesn’t relapse or develop a secondary cancer. We try to focus on the happy news, but the reality is that we need the Valerie Centers around forever--for Michael and all the other kids fighting cancers and blood disorders. Thank you for caring about Michael and thank you for helping the Valerie Fund!
We are truly overwhelmed by the love and support. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!
Jodi & Matt Savare