We’ve been very vocal about our support of The Tommy Fund for Childhood Cancer. After all, we benefited from the Fund during the entire seven month stay at Yale-New Haven and its mission is a terrific one. Among their activities are funding for direct and indirect financial assistance to families dealing with childhood cancer, funding of fellowships in pediatric oncology, funding for a pediatric social worker, funding for child life and a child life specialist, funding professional development seminars for physicians and nurses, and funding recreational equipment in the pediatric specialty center and inpatient units among other activities.
And then there’s Family Day. This is a chance for families of patients, doctors and nurses to get together and have some fun while raising money. There’s a fun run for the kids, a 5 kilometer run and a 2 mile walk. People arrive having been sponsored and participants get the annual t-shirt, designed by a patient. One patient from Milford was supported by a team 100-strong all wearing Rooney Runners t-shirts – they looked cool.
This year’s shirt was co-designed by a young girl named Mirza and our own Robbie. He saw her design and suggested modifications so wound up tracing it and making the adjustments which everyone liked. Together, they had been asked to hold the flag for the opening ceremonies.
We could not miss the event and wanted to be there in his honor. Mirza was nervous about doing this on her own so we agreed to stand with her for the ceremony and then she walked the two miles beside Erica, the Child Life Specialist who worked with them both on the shirt.
It was with mixed emotions that we arrived at the event. After all, this was the first time we were seeing many of the doctors and nurses since his death and funeral. But you know what? We had a good experience. First, we were warmly welcomed with just about everyone saying .”I’m so glad you actually came.” So that felt good.
We grabbed some of the t-shirts and caught up with people then did the walk with Dr. Massaro and her family. Once that ended, people milled about enjoying hamburgers, hot dogs, fruit and ice cream, chatting amiably.
By 12 it was over and we’re told it was a successful event and one we intend to return for next year. It was nice to honor him and see his influence remains strong there.