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Valerie Fund Inspires Young Cancer Patients To Seek Bright Futures

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This coming Saturday, WCBS 880 and CBS2 will be part of the Valerie Fund Walk and JAG Physical Therapy run in Verona, New Jersey. The annual event is a fundraiser for the organization which supports the comprehensive health care needs of children with cancer and blood disorder. All this week, reporter John Metaxas is looking at the people who work with the Valerie Fund and the families it supports. For more information, visit thevaleriefund.org

NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) - For cancer patients who once saw darkness ahead, there is now light, and a bright future helping others. It’s because of the help of the Valerie Fund, WCBS 880’s John Metaxas reported.

WCBS 880’s John Metaxas With Today’s Profiles

Now that she’s a senior in college and has been cancer-free for about ten years, Katie Lowery Graziano can look back on her cancer experience with a perspective she did not have when she was diagnosed at age 11.

“Definitely appreciate life more,” she told Metaxas. “I don’t take it as granted as I used to.”

A frightening time for any child was made more livable for her because of the Valerie Fund.

“They kept me going. Like, there were days where I didn’t want to get up or go out and the fact that it was 20 minutes from my house, and we could bring the whole family, and have the support there as well, was a Godsend pretty much,” she said.

She had the time to heal with plenty of life lessons learned.

“If life throws challenges at you, just go at them. You can do it. Just put a smile on your face,” she said.

After graduating from Unity College in Maine, Katie wants to be an environmental writer. Her future is now ahead of her.

Having cancer is a life altering experience, but it can change you in a positive way.

Davinah Bryan, now 18, has been home schooled since her diagnosis with lymphoma two years ago. But she is heading to nursing college in the fall.

“I realized I want to make a difference in others’ lives and help them go through different challenges in theirs,” she told Metaxas.

With just months left in her treatments, she credits her survival to the support of her parents and the helping hand of the Valerie Fund.

“That’s my second family. I love them all,” she said.

Davinah’s direction in life has been forged by her battle. Her father David credited divine intervention.

“God has a purpose,” he said. “We might not understand why, but he has a purpose for everything we do in life.”

There’s a future nurse out there who will bring her own heartfelt compassion to her patients.

“Just stay positive, be strong, and just know that there’s always somebody out there that cares about what you’ve been through,” she said.

Have you or someone you know been helped by the Valerie Fund? Feel free to share the story in the comments section below.