Sons Of Italy Morris County Chapter, Parsippany Lodge # 2561, President Joseph Jannarone, Jr., presented the Valerie Fund, with a check for $2,000 to support a walking team called “Bella’s Bunch.” Bella’s Bunch is named after 11-year-old Central Middle School student and two-time cancer survivor Bella Rocco, who is thriving today.
The group is a visible and vocal force in raising money to help the Valerie Fund.
The Valerie Fund was established in 1976 by Ed and Sue Goldstein in memory of their daughter Valerie after her battle with cancer.
Bella’s dad, Ralph said her well-being—and that of the whole family’s—is due in part to the assistance of the Valerie Fund.
Jackie Callandrello, the Fund’s Assistant to the Director of Communication and Special Events, said $1,046,005.38 was raised in donations after last year’s walk, which was more than double what was earned in 2011. “We just continue to grow,” said Calandrello.
Bella’s goal in 2012 was to have the biggest team in the walk. She reached her goal with a host of friends and supporters having 175 participating in the Valerie Fund’s annual 5K Run/Walk fundraiser at Verona Park in Verona. The walk, co-sponsored by JAG Physical Therapy, provides families an opportunity to show support for loved ones and fight against childhood cancer in a fun-filled setting. Click here to watch a You Tube video of the event which was on CBS TV News.
The event will take place this year on Saturday, June 15, which coincidentally will be Bella’s 12th birthday, said her mom, Pat Rocco.
As long as the Roccos keep fighting and walking, the Sons of Italy will continue to help, said Jannarone.
“We’re happy to help the Valerie Fund,” he said. “That’s what we do, we help out.”
Bella will be launching her new website in the near future, www.bellasbunch.com. Bella has also set up a twitter account, @bellasbunch4tvf.
The Order Sons of Italy in America is the largest and longest established Italian-American organization in the country. There are 36 Lodges in the State of New Jersey.
Morris County Chapter, Parsippany Lodge # 2561 meets monthly to discuss fundraising, lodge business, and any charitable needs in our communities for the upcoming year. Some of these charities include: Cooley Anemia, Shop Rite foods (cards for needy families), St. Peter’s Church, St. Ann’s Church, St. Christopher’s Church, Battered Women Shelter of Morris County, the Valerie Fund as well as scholarships for Parsippany High School and Parsippany Hills High School.
For more information on the Parsippany club, contact Joe Jannarone, Jr. at (973) 632-2295.