In the words of our own, amazing charity chair, Eileen DiPietro: “Michelle Lewis and I made our much anticipated trip today to the Valerie Center at Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch with 13 quilts in hand to donate. The Valerie Center is a comprehensive health care center for children with cancer and blood disorders. Their mission is to treat the whole child, socially, emotionally and medically and to do this close to home. The Valerie Fund was founded in 1976 in memory of Valerie Goldstein by her parents who had to travel with her to receive treatment. Today it is the largest network of facilities for children, seeing over 25,000 children per year with seven centers in NJ, NY and PA.
Our meeting today was with Maria Dolan, LCSW, who coordinates the care of these children. Maria gave us a tour of the facility. The atmosphere is cheerful and upbeat. Depending on what the children come in for they could be there for the entire day. There is a waiting room with a huge comfy couch and the walls are lined with bookshelves. Another room is geared toward teens with gaming chairs, video games and iPads. The walls are painted with images of musical instruments. The television room or “Cinema” room has thick, rich, red velvet curtains with gold fringe lining the doorway and televisions with theatre like seating. Even the examination rooms are pleasant and inviting, decorated in beach themes with a surfboards as an exam table!
We had such a pleasant visit with Maria and her staff and they were beyond thrilled to receive the quilts. Maria truly “gets” the whole power of the quilt “thing”. She showed a genuine interest in the process of quilt making and the proper care of the finished quilt. I invited them to come and visit with us at a meeting or sew-in.
The quilts we donated today will be given to children who have to be at the Valerie Center for an extended period of treatment. I asked Maria to let us know when they were running low so we could try and maintain a supply for them. Quilts for kids are such a quick make with a long lasting effect and you ladies are so awesome and generous, and I am always in awe of you. Thank you all!!”