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Families Of Young Cancer Patients Find Invaluable Support With The Valerie Fund

Annual Walk Is This Saturday In Verona
WCBS 880's John Metaxas with 4-year-old cancer survivor William DeGregorio

WCBS 880’s John Metaxas with 4-year-old cancer survivor William DeGregorio

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - On Saturday, June 15, 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 disorders.

All this week, WCBS 880 reporter John Metaxas will looking at the people who work with the Valerie Fund and the families it supports.

Metaxas spoke with one young patient and his mother.

“I have a whole bunch of friends,” 4-year-old William DeGregorio said.

“And they’re going to come on the walk with us?” his mother, Kara Shields, asked.

“Yeah!” he answered.

DeGregorio is excited about this Saturday’s walk. His team even has a special name: “Will Power Walk.”

But having cancer is no easy burden for William or his mother.

“My baby, we were in the emergency and, I mean, I was so overwhelmed. The only way I could explain it, what I said to him was that there was a big ball, an ugly ball, inside of him that we needed to get rid of. We did mention cancer here and there, but for a 3 1/2, 4-year-old, it’s a big word,” Shields told Metaxas.

They were grateful to have the Valerie Fund to help them.

“The doctors and the nurses are fabulous. They love my little boy and they care for him and I see it and I know it,” she said.

So, they’re walking this Saturday.

“I wanted to just show how much I appreciated the Valerie Fund and all that they’ve done for my son and I,” she said.

LINK: Join The Walk Or Run

With seven Valerie Fund children’s centers located in major hospitals in New Jersey, New York, and the Philadelphia area, parents have the option of having their children treated close to home.

Matt Savare, the father of a young patient, told Metaxas that can make a world of difference.

“The Valerie Fund’s been absolutely incredible. First and foremost, the fact that it’s at Morristown enabled us to get first rate, professional quality service and medical care that you would have to go to New York or Philadelphia to get,” Savare said. “

The quality of care and the counselors and all the other programs that they run – you know, you go and you get your chemo and then there’s a toy box waiting and then they have a counselor. They hey have social workers that play with the kids and they told us what we should expect and what we’d be going through. They described not only what we’d be going through with Michael, but also how we can manage with the girls what the family goes through, the trauma of it, and just the day-to-day,” Savare said. “So, it’s just really an extension of our family, an extension of our medical care.”

Web Extras:

Metaxas with Abby Vigier, a young cancer survivor, and her mother, Sonya, who will be leading Abba’s Cheering Squad at the Valerie Fund Walk in Verona Park.

Metaxas with Matt Savare, the father of a young patient, about the challenges of juggling a child who has cancer with his other children who don’t.

Metaxas with 4-year-old cancer survivor William DeGregorio and his mom, Kara Shields.

Among the Valerie Fund’s programs is Camp Happy Times, a summer program for current and former patients to get away and spend time with other survivors. 23-year-old cancer survivor Lashikeerah Walker spoke with Metaxas about her time at the camp.

Metaxas with 23-year-old cancer survivor Scott DiGiulio.

Metaxas with Tracy Mara, the mother of 11-year-old cancer survivor Duncan Mara.

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