Cara Fraser, of the V For Victory Foundation, took time to explain the origins and mission behind the group. This continues our series highlighting different Cancer NPO’s around the world.
Cancer has affected so many of us either personally or someone near and dear to us. We never know how we will react. The Board of V For Victory Foundation decided to make a bad situation better by helping others during a difficult time during cancer treatment.
I wanted to be a part of VFVF because cancer has been part of my life since 1992. I lost both of my parents to cancer. My father was first diagnosed with colon cancer. He was in remission for ten years and in May 2002 he passed after being diagnosed with leukemia. My mom was diagnosed in 2008 with lung cancer. She fought the fight and was in remission until April 2014 when she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Mom lost her battle and passed away July 2014. Because of my parents, I found a passion in giving back and helping others, which I learned from my mom who showed me by example every day of her life as a mother, wife, sister, friend, teacher and a volunteer of many groups.
Our Founder and President, Valerie Wright, made her own breast cancer journey her passion to help others. As a nurse, she was always trying to come up with better ways of doing things for patients. After many sleepless nights and prayers, Valerie’s dream of a 501c(3) came to life in November 2014 with the V For Victory Foundation Inc. The name came from a random “peace sign” during her first chemo and a friend dubbing it “V For Val’s Victory” and it stuck. Val has used the “V for Victory” sign during many milestones during her journey; chemo, radiation, surgery, haircuts, 5K runs, a half marathon, riding a Harley, hiking, kayaking, LIVING! And today, we share it with you because we are ALL victorious!
I met Valerie three years ago when she was still dealing with radiation and multiple surgeries. Since then I have come to know and love Valerie, her passion for life and helping others. We became very good friends and we both have a love for others and a passion against cancer.
Our Vice President is also a breast cancer survivor. Teresa Jones met Valerie while sitting across from each other during chemo. That’s all it took and now they are “Soul Sistas” for life! I am also joined on the VFVF board with Valerie’s husband, Roy and son, Kevin as well as a high school friends, Susan Riebe and Kelly Puchi. We all share the same passion as caregivers and helping others. Jody Toll joined the Board recently and is childhood friend of Valerie’s and Susan’s who is also a breast cancer survivor.
After having 12 surgeries due to healing issues following radiation, Valerie dealt with post operative drains MANY times and figured out quickly that drains SUCK! After her 8th surgery, she discovered using a bag to carry her drains in and felt it was a game changer. She then felt compelled to help other surgical patients and to lessen their burden of post-operative drain care by providing a surgical patient a “Victory Pouch” so they can focus on healing and moving forward in their treatment. We will also encourage and support survivors through the power of knowledge and community via social media.
We finally received our first shipment of Victory Pouches and we are getting them out to those in need. Our Victory Pouch with lanyard are both so simple but can be a game changer for those dealing with drains. Our goal is to have hospitals and surgical centers become sponsors and in return for their sponsorship, we will imprint their logo on the pouches. They will then provide their patients with a Victory Pouch at no cost.
We are getting our name out there by participating in events like the Susan G Komen Race for The Cure and have an upcoming PINK OUT soccer game at College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA. We do want the Victory Pouch to be available at no cost to all who need them. We accept donations to help support that. We also had our first successful fundraiser in June, 2015 where we raised over $1000.00.
I was blessed to be have been able to help my parents during their cancer journey and in my mind they will always be survivors. My parents are the reason I am thankful to being a part of V For Victory. I hope to honor them and the Lord in all I do.
My prayer is no one else has to endure this horrible disease alone. Because we #SURVIVEtogether!
Another Day, Another gift!
Visit www.vforvictoryfoundation.org for more info on what Cara and her amazing team are up to!