MAPLEWOOD, NJ — In May, 9-year-old Grace received a devastating diagnosis: She had a germ cell brain tumor. Grace’s treatment brought her to The Valerie Fund Children’s Center at Newark Beth Israel and, after rounds of chemotherapy and radiation, she is recovering well. Her grateful family sought ways to give back to the organization that was taking such good care of their daughter and granddaughter. In June, they spearheaded an extraordinary fundraising effort during The Valerie Fund’s annual 5K Run and Walk in Verona Park, Verona, raising close to $32,000. Grace’s grandfather, Dan Reichard, a builder and principle of ER Development was interested in collaborating further with The Valerie Fund. He and his partners Thomas and George Allen purchased a more than 7,000-square-foot Colonial Revival in Plainfield and are preparing it for designers to showcase their visions.
Christened Grace’s House, the fundraising initiative, “Building a Brighter Future for The Valerie Fund Kids,” will derive revenue from public and private tours, ad journal sales and sponsorships ranging from $500 to $20,000. The mansion, located in Plainfield’s historic Hillside Avenue district, will eventually be for sale, but in spring 2019, the public will have the opportunity to tour the house. Each room will be transformed by a featured designer and throughout the house some original elements will be restored.
Interest in participating in the house’s makeover has been high; designers have the opportunity to bring this special home back to its former glory. In turn, participants will receive significant exposure through the marketing capabilities brought to the project by The Valerie Fund. Most importantly, the success of this fundraiser will benefit The Valerie Fund’s Green Light Initiative, a $5,000,000 capital campaign that is poised to extend “next generation care” to thousands of children fighting life-threatening diseases.
In addition to Grace’s medical treatment — four rounds of chemo and 24 rounds of proton radiation — Grace has benefited from yoga, massage with stress-reducing aromatherapy and art therapy, just a few of the resources available to her and her family without regard to insurance reimbursements. Each year, Grace and 6,000 other children receive this kind of ongoing support from an entire psychosocial team, comprising integrative and palliative care specialists, psychologists, social workers, child life specialists and educational liaisons, in place to make sure their quality of life is the best it can possibly be. And Grace’s favorite: Camp Happy Times, a free one-week overnight summer camp for children with cancer.
To see the amazing house transformation, self-guided tours of Grace’s House will run Thursday, April 25, through Sunday, May 19. Tickets for the house tours are available for purchase on The Valerie Fund website at https://www.thevaleriefund.org/specials/showhouse/tickets.php and for a higher fee at the door.