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  • Writer's picture Myriam Alvarez

Inspiration has a name: Grace

A ceiling covered in hand painted butterflies, a green and black luxurious kitchen, a bathroom with pink feathers and flamingos, a library with a Moroccan Tequila bar. Inspiration comes in many, many forms.

In this case, inspiration had a name: Grace.

It all started with a simple, but inspirational story. Grace was diagnosed at age 9 with brain cancer, around the same time that her grandfather, Dan Reichard, had purchased a dilapidated historical home in Plainfield, NJ. He accompanied Grace to her treatments at the Valerie Fund at the Beth Israel Medical Center. What he saw amazed him: a team of oncologists working along side with child life specialists and educational professionals. Everyone had the same mission: to restore Grace to her normal, healthy life. Reichard called the Valerie Fund team “magical” and had an idea: to make his historical home a designer show house and raise as much money as possible to help the organization. A team of talented designers was selected, among them Julie Liepold, Gail Davis, Swati Goorha and Cindy Dzurita, to create a unique home, respecting its original style and architecture but adding modern touches and colors. The event surpassed all expectations: it raised over $200,000.

On a more personal note, I am a Valerie Fund mother myself. My son Sebastian was diagnosed with leukemia at age 7 and this year, he celebrated his 11th anniversary cancer free. He went through three years of chemotherapy at the Valerie Fund Center in Morristown. Their dedication to children with cancers and blood disorders is nothing short than amazing. They truly work miracles every day, just like they did with Sebastian and are doing with Grace. My son is 18 and graduating this year from Millburn High school. Can’t wait to see what the future holds for him and Grace. Thank you to all the angels at the Valerie Fund!


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