MORRISTOWN, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Twelve-year-old Elijah Reed hopes to someday become an author writing about superheroes.
So when The Valerie Fund asked him to help design its new mascot, Captain Hope, Elijah, who has now recovered from cancer treatments, jumped at the chance.
What does Captain Hope do?
“He stops cancer,” Elijah told WCBS 880’s John Metaxas.
Elijah and his friends at The Valerie Fund got to choose the qualities of the newest superhero as part of a contest.
“He got a cape,” Elijah said. “His skin color was green. And he had this type of armor costume.”
Captain Hope came to life at last year’s Valerie Fund Walk and will return this year.
The Valerie Fund, which helps children diagnosed with cancer and blood disorders, is hoping to raise $1 million when it holds its annual walk and 5K run Saturday at Verona Park.
More than 4,000 people are expected to participate in the event, Bunny Flanders, The Valerie Fund’s director of marketing and communications said. The nonprofit group treats about 4,000 kids throughout New York and New Jersey each year and helps create a support system for patients and their families.
Inspired to Help
Monique Jacobs cannot remember life without The Valerie Fund.
Diagnosed with sickle cell disease at age 1, she was treated until she was 17.
Now, as a healthy 23-year-old, Jacobs has come back to volunteer at The Valerie Fund.
“I just thought that it was very important for me to give back to someone who really cared about me so much,” Jacobs told Metaxas.
Jacobs is also studying public health.
“I really would love to talk to children and high school students about their health,” she said.
Jacobs is not alone. Many Valerie Fund kids hope to give back.
Eleven-year-old Thomas Kurzeja, who’s recovering from leukemia, said he wants to be a doctor.
“After seeing what they do, I just want to help other kids,” Thomas said.
Twenty-year-old Charlotte Dequina, who’s fighting brain cancer, hopes to become a child life specialist.
“I know what the child feels, and I want to make them not scared,” she said.
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