JERSEY CITY, N.J. – Ed and Sue Goldstein were two parents caught between a rock and a hard place in the 1970s. Their daughter Valerie was diagnosed with cancer and the best treatment available was only offered in New York City or Philadelphia.
The Warren residents traveled hundreds of miles a week to various hospitals in New York City for Val’s care, only wishing it was somewhere closer to home.
When the Goldsteins tragically lost Val in January 1976, they made a promise to themselves that no child would ever have to travel to big cities for the best treatment. When Ed and Sue started The Valerie Fund in February 1976, they had one goal in mind: bring New York City treatment to the suburbs.
“Before we started there wasn’t a place in New Jersey for a child to be treated for pediatric cancer,” Ed Goldstein said. “You either had to go to Philadelphia or New York. We saw that it made no sense to go into New York, there are such fine doctors in New Jersey.”
Sue Goldstein said they wanted to take their project national, however they didn’t know how. To this day, they don’t regret the decision because of the tremendous support they have received in the Garden State.
“We stayed here,” Sue said. “It was a wonderful thing that happened. Not that we did it, people came out of the wood work to help the Valerie Fund because they knew these were children with cancer and blood disorders and they wanted to help.”
Enter CareOne Health Care.
One year after raising money for their employees effected by Superstorm Sandy, CareOne Executive Vice-President Elizabeth Straus set out to give back more.
Growing up in a charitable home, Straus had a vision to help. Her visualization came full circle on Wednesday night. With 1,100 people present at the Maritime Parc in Liberty State Park, Straus and her business partners raised more than $1.2 million dollars for The Valerie Fund.
“It was a fund that was created by a family that had a tragedy in their lives,” Straus said. “Through that, they built something incredible that cares for 4,000 children each day. That’s phenomenal. They saved their lives. My dad has always taught me to make the impossible possible. If I can give them a large percentage of their annual budget by gathering my team, then let’s do it.”
The 2014 Valentine’s Ball was the hot ticket on Wednesday. CareOne’s founder and chairman Daniel Straus was expecting 500 people at the ball. Once word spread, so did the demand for tickets, causing an unexpected cutoff of sales.
“Caring for people involves compassion and passion and love,” Daniel Straus said. “The people that care for other people care regardless of age and just want to take care of people in need. When you think about this organization, The Valerie Fund, which was started by two individuals who unfortunately had a loss and converted it into an opportunity to do good in the world and take care of 4,000 children in the world who are sick, that really resonated with my company. That’s the relationship we have here.”
New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz, a Paterson native, and New York Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie led a group of A-Listers that included former NHLer Sean Avery and “Real Housewives of New Jersey” star Melissa Gorga.
“Its amazing,” Daniel Straus said of the celebrities at the event. “These are people who are involved with The Valerie Fund and the giving of their time and presence this evening. When you talking about sick children, it speaks to everybody from the heart. A guy like Victor Cruz, he’s human. He’s got that passion, compassion and care and love, as we all do tonight.”
Ed and Sue Goldstein were almost speechless when they were presented the $1.1 million check, with more money coming later from the night’s silent auction and raffle ticket sales.
All the money donated at the event will be used to help fund the care needed for over 4,000 sick children at the seven treatment facilities, including the hospital that treated Valerie in the 1970s.
“CareOne has done such an extraordinary job because they’re amazing people,” Sue Goldstein said. “What they did tonight is incredible. They raised over $1.2 million to help our kids. We couldn’t ask for better friends.”
If you would like to become Friends of The Valerie Fund, please visit their website at TheValerieFund.org.