The Alicia Rose Victorious Foundation recently granted Miller Children’s & Women’s $2,550 to support teen activities offered by the Child Life Program.
Alicia Rose lost her battle to a rare cancer in 2002. Her parents, Gisele and Mario DiNatale, decided they wanted to honor her and other courageous teens like her.
“My husband and I are very community oriented, and we knew our community would support us,” says Gisele DiNatale. “We thought what would Alicia want? She wanted quality of life and to be a normal teenager, so we decided to give back to other kids that are like her.”
The Alicia Rose Victorious Foundation was born in 2003, when they created their first Teen Lounge at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
“The foundation came together from our own personal experiences,” says Gisele DiNatale. “We recognized there were not many amenities for teens who are hospitalized, so we set out to change that.”
Since 2006, they have been supporting teen patients at MemorialCare Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach by donating bandana pillows and teen kits.
“A good pillow was a commodity at the time that Alicia was in the hospital,” says DiNatale. “When we first started, we made the pillows out of bandanas. We had volunteers who would sew and stuff them.”
Now the pillows come alongside a teen kit, usually a backpack filled with age-appropriate gifts like journals, lip balm, as well as games and other activities.
In addition to donating teen kits, the Alicia Rose Victorious Foundation recently granted Miller Children’s & Women’s $2,550 to support teen activities offered by the Child Life Program.
The Child Life Program helps patients of all ages adjust to hospitalization and promotes the continuity of normal, daily childhood activities. Providing a sense of normalcy is vital to recovery, particularly for teens, since they experience a great deal of stress during hospitalization as their developmental needs for control, privacy, peer connection and independence are challenged.
“We recognize that the needs of our teen patients are very different than our school-aged patients,” says Rita Goshert, manager, Child Life Program, Miller Children’s & Women’s. “The support of the Alicia Rose Victorious Foundation will allow us to continue offering dedicated activities for our teens. Making sure they feel heard and accepted is just as important as the medical care they receive.”
Since its inception, the Alicia Rose Victorious Foundation has raised more than $2.5 million providing “Victorious 4 Teens” Teen Lounges, activities, and teen kits and bandana pillows. More than 70,000 children throughout the country have been touched in some way by the Alicia Rose Victorious Foundation, and they are proud to be a part of the healing while waiting for the cure.
“We’re so grateful to the Alicia Rose Victorious Foundation for recognizing the unique needs of our teen patients and partnering with us to ensure their needs are met,” says Goshert.