My Tribute to My Sisters
My heartfelt labor of love started a year ago after losing my second sister to cancer, (there was a third sister not related to the disease). People are always fascinated when they find out I am from a family of nine.
Coming from such a large family has many advantages, I have many fond memories of being surrounded by so many siblings, who all happened to be older than me! I was the third wheel on many dates and probably more of a nuisance than anything, bribed to do chores for a piece of gum, but we all loved each other equally!
Thus to say, with each sister, I lost another part of me.
After reeling in grief and pity for myself, after losing Val in November of 2016, I decided to do something in tribute to my sisters. I, along with other family members, spent many hours at her bedside, watching the stages of death take her frail body.
It was an honor and privilege to be with her every single minute until she took her last breath. So I had time to think, how could I honor my sister and help others who find themselves in a similar situation.
I realized that someone with cancer had touched every one of us. Being a Caregiver of someone battling cancer can entail many hours of solitude that pass slowly and at times painfully.
However, the job of being a Caregiver is one of great importance. So this is how I decided to do something for Caregivers. So VAL’s Pals came to life in June of 2017!
Why Val's Pals Caregivers
For my “CAREGIVERS” I wanted to give them something to help pass those sometimes endless hours and fill a unique tote with various items, just for them! With that being my goal, along with the help of wonderful friends and family, the first fundraising project would begin.
The first fundraiser was a purse auction since my sister loved purses! The first annual purse auction was held at HATS Restaurant in Palmyra, MO on June 25th raising $4,000 and filled 100 CAREGIVER Totes. Later on October 29th, we followed with a gift basket auction, generously hosted by HATS Restaurant once again. This fundraiser earned a little over $3,000.
These funds were used to continue keeping the CAREGIVER Totes filled and a generous donation made to Siteman Cancer Center to assist Dr. Ma, in her breast cancer research. Dr. Ma personally attended to my sister Jeanne.
Jeanne would be my third sister to lose her battle to cancer one week before Christmas of 2017. Jeanne was very proud of my efforts and one of my biggest cheerleaders of the VAL’s Pals.
Through my sisters' courage, I have built this organization and will care for it with tender loving care. Through living in such a generous community (Palmyra) and the help and love of family and friends, I have been successful in handing out several hundred CAREGIVER Totes.
Thanks to Community Loving Care Hospice and James E. Cary Center we are beginning to reach those special caregivers! I hope to handout out thousands of CAREGIVER Totes wherever I can reach!!