The Valerie Fund welcomes St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital to its family

MAPLEWOOD, NJ — Join The Valerie Fund and St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital on Wednesday, Sept. 21, at 5:30 p.m. at the dedication of the new Valerie Fund Center in Paterson. Scheduled to speak are Kevin J. Slavin, president and CEO at St. Joseph’s Healthcare System, and Sue and Ed Goldstein, co-founders of The Valerie Fund along with Dominic DiBari, chairman of the Board.

“On behalf of everyone at The Valerie Fund, we are so honored and so excited to partner with St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital as the newest member of our Valerie Fund family,” fund Executive Director Barry Kirschner said in a press release. “To know The Valerie Fund standard of psychosocial care will now be available to over 1,000 new children and their families in northern New Jersey is what makes this partnership so special.”

“The partnership with the Valerie Fund is a major step forward in our mission to caring for the special needs of children,” Kevin Slavin, president and CEO of St. Joseph’s Healthcare System, said in the release. “Together, we can bring our collective efforts to enhancing treatment options for our youngest patients and their families, expanding on the world-class pediatric cancer care provided at the St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital.”

Jill Menell, chief of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital, is looking forward to the collaboration.

“We are so excited that our patients will have the benefit of being a part of The Valerie Fund family,” she said. “We provide excellent medical care for our patients, but the psychosocial piece is equally as important to the well-being of the child and the entire family unit. Many of these services, such as social work and child life, are not reimbursed by insurance. With The Valerie Fund’s generosity, we can support our current social work and child life positions and we will add several new staff positions to ensure that the diseases our patients have and treatments they receive will not limit their success in school and in life.”

The Pediatric Cancers and Blood Disorders Center at St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital hosts approximately 5,000 outpatient visits each year. Current staff is made up of five physicians board-certified in pediatric hematology and oncology. Rounding out the team is a dedicated nursing staff with expertise in administration of chemotherapy and other therapies and a psychosocial team that includes a social worker and child life specialist. Three integrative therapists administer acupuncture, acupressure, aromatherapy and massage therapy — popular and effective treatments that have been proved in a high percentage of cases to reduce the pain and stress of illness. A part-time counselor for the Long Term Follow Up program, established in 2013, provides valuable information about cancer survivors.

After their 9-year-old daughter Valerie succumbed to cancer, Sue and Ed Goldstein were determined that no family should have to travel great distances to receive superior medical care and the Valerie Fund was born. 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. Forty years later, the Valerie Fund’s mission remains that of supporting comprehensive health care for children battling cancer and blood disorders. Visit www.thevaleriefund.org to learn more.

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