SOMERSET HILLS NJ - Members of the Team Campbell Foundation board were on hand Aug. 10 to deliver six V-Go robots to the Valerie Center at Morristown, just in time for the start of the school year. The robots will be used by children battling cancer who cannot attend school due to treatment or side effects related to the disease. Each robot has a name and is donated in honor of a cancer warrior.
Of the six robots, two were shared with the Valerie Fund at Columbia University Medical Center for use by their pediatric hematology-oncology patients.
The robot, a remote controlled kiosk on a motorized platform, stands just under four feet tall. It comes equipped with an integrated camera, microphone, a video display with a feed from the user’s camera and even headlights. Students operate the robot remotely through their laptop, computer or tablet, and can virtually be in the classroom.
Joann Spera, educational liaison for the Valerie Center at Morristown Medical Center, believes that the robots are a huge psychological boost for sick children who cannot attend school. "Thanks to the Team Campbell Foundation, we will be able to offer more options for our patients. This generous gift provides the student with a way to stay involved in the classroom and with their classmates when attending school just isn’t possible. Even when school districts try to accommodate the special needs of sick children by providing in-home tutors, and videoconferencing, students still miss out on the classroom experience and the social life that comes with attending school."
A significant portion of the funding for the machines came from the MAX Challenge of Basking Ridge. In April, 2017 and for the second year in a row, the MAX Challenge chose Team Campbell Foundation as their charity of choice for the MAX Day of Giving. Each year, the MAX Challenge hosts its annual Day of Giving offering franchise owners the opportunity to select a local charity. This year, over $20,000 was raised to purchase four of the six machines donated.
Five of the six robots are named for a cancer warrior. All six are in honor of another child who has fought childhood cancer. The first VGo robot is named Cam1, after Campbell Hoyt, the inspiration for and namesake of Team Campbell; the second, Cam2, in honor of Campbell’s friend and fellow warrior, Jaxson Utain of Harleysville, PA. The third robot is named Callie, for Caroline Cronk of Norwell, MA, another one of Campbell’s childhood cancer friends, and in honor of Connor Crooks of Bernardsville, NJ. The fourth robot is named Jadyn, after Jadyn Schill of Toronto, Canada and in honor of Lily Adkins of Haddon Township, NJ. The fifth robot is named Ryan, for Ryan Kennedy of Clarkston, MI, in honor of Thomas Rice, of Mendham, NJ.
The sixth robot is named MAX, recognizing the generous efforts of the members of the MAX Challenge of Basking Ridge, in honor of Joey Clayton of Dover, NJ. Joey’s mother, Jennifer, spoke at the MAX Day of Giving, sharing a bit of Joey’s story with attendees, including how having a VGo robot helped him when he was unable to attend school while battling glioblastoma. Each robot is decorated with colorful stickers, including the Team Campbell Foundation butterfly. The custom design of the stickers was donated by Sign Brothers or Matawan, New Jersey.
Robin Hoyt, executive director and co-founder of Team Campbell Foundation noted that Campbell would have been thrilled to see these robots in action. “So many children become isolated due to their illness, away from their routines. The robots provide support for children and their families that goes beyond the medical treatment. This technology helps these children feel more like kids.”
For more information about Team Campbell Foundation, visit teamcampbellfoundation.org.