VERONA, NJ – Hundreds of runners and walkers descended on Verona Park for eleventh annual Valerie Fund Walk & JAG Physical Therapy 5K Run on Saturday. Teams from all over Essex County and beyond came together to support the good works of The Valerie Fund and to recognize children with cancer and blood disorders.
Verona, Cedar Grove and Montclair were well-represented with teams from local schools, girl scouts and boy scouts troops and a variety of community organizations. In addition, many teams walked to honor a friend or family member currently fighting cancer or in memory of those who lost their battle.
According to the Valerie Fund website, $877,371.81 was raised for this cause and 4022 people participated. The participants consisted of 205 teams, 3174 walkers and 848 runners.
The Valerie Fund was founded by Sue and Ed Goldstein after their nine-year-old daughter Valerie succumbed to cancer. The Goldsteins were determined that no family should have to travel great distances to receive state-of-the-art medical care. Along with a group of close friends, they began fundraising efforts from their living room – tireless work that would lead to the 1977 opening of New Jersey’s first pediatric oncology facility at Summit Overlook’s Hospital.
To date, there are seven, not-for-profit Valerie Fund Centers located in New Jersey, New York, and metropolitan Philadelphia staffed with social workers, counselors, psychologists and child life specialists. The hallmark of The Valerie Fund services ensures that families and hospitals do not have to rely on insurance reimbursements to receive the range of support of a multi-disciplinary team. More than 4,000 children with cancer and blood disorders are treated annually---a network that is one of the largest of its kind in the country.