Although they never dreamed it would happen in their family, Mario and Gisele DiNatale were devastated when their teenage daughter was diagnosed with cancer. Yet despite the excellent medical care, many prayers, and overwhelming community support, their beloved Alicia Rose passed on at the age 17, having lost her courageous battle.
A longtime friend of the DiNatale family, Safelite Solutions Vice President Client Sales & Support Gary Strain reached out to offer support. Gisele shared with him that she and Mario were creating The Alicia Rose Victorious Foundation in their daughter’s honor, with a very special purpose—to provide amenities and activities that would boost the spirits of hospitalized teens.
Eager to get involved, Gary lent his support to a very special program designed to give patients a creative outlet during treatments—through Alicia's Art Carts filled with plenty of supplies, delivered to teens who are patients at local hospitals. Gary’s enthusiasm for the program led to Safelite’s participation at a very special event—the unveiling of Alicia’s Art Cart at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Scottish Rite Hospital. Atlanta team members who were honored to deliver the art cart included: John Grimaldi – District Manager; Kim Lewis – Agency Service Representative; David Rhodes – Operations Manager; Brian Howell – Quality Manager; Justin Parker – Quality Manager.
Brian and Justin had fun working together to build the cart and enjoyed showing off their handiwork at the Art Cart Reveal. Kim was touched by John’s passion for kids and enjoyed being part of an event that would brighten their day.
“I have a nephew with Cystic Fibrosis and know firsthand what it is like to have a teen family member hospitalized for weeks or months at a time,” she said. “When John asked me to help with this project, I was delighted to say YES!”
During the reveal event, Team Atlanta met with CHOA Development Officers, Jennifer Wells, Ashley Baker and Michelle Bennett for a tour of the AFLAC Cancer Center and a tour of the rest of the hospital.
“We had an amazing opportunity to learn about the wonderful things this hospital provides for children, not just in Atlanta, but children all over the southeast,” John shared. “We spent some time in the Robotics Lab and learned how technology is helping children heal faster and regain mobility sooner than traditional physical therapy.”
They also had a chance to visit The Zone, a place where the children can go to relax, play and experience being a “normal” kid for a while. They provide fun activities and parties every day of the week. “This seemed like a stress-free oasis in the middle of a busy hospital,” John said.
John and his team were especially delighted to meet Franny, one of the teens who was looking forward to the art cart unveiling.
“Franny has discovered her passion for art and painting since being a patient at the cancer center,” John said. “We were so impressed with her work that we took photos of two of her paintings on display in the art tunnel at the hospital. She was really excited to see all the new things in the art cart so she can create even more of them!”
As soon as he got involved with the program, John knew Gary’s passion for this organization would be contagious.
“Anytime you have an opportunity to help put a smile on someone’s face who might otherwise be having a bad day, you should jump at the chance,” John said. “I read up on what The Alicia Rose Victorious Foundation was all about and couldn’t wait to take part in providing something that would brighten the days of many teens!”
John and his market plan to continue donating supplies to replenish the art cart and are discussing supporting the program in other ways as well. They were all very touched by the opportunity to give back in honor of the young lady whose spirit, courage, and will to live inspired everyone around her.
Alicia left this world a better place for having been in it because everyone she met came away with a gift. A gift to see life in new ways, to know what it means to truly live life, and to be strong no matter what life hands you. And that is a legacy that will live on for many years to come.
For more information about Alicia’s Art Cart, visit www.victoriousfoundation.org/artcart.
Source article written and published by Safelite AutoGlass The Wire.
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About Alicia Rose Victorious Foundation
Alicia Rose Victorious Foundation (ARVF, Corp.) is a 501(c)3 non-profit charitable organization founded in 2002. ARVF is dedicated to providing age-appropriate Victorious 4 Teens programs, for hospitalized teens and young adults, battling cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. Since inception, over $2.5m has been dedicated to Victorious 4 Teens programs, including funding 65 Teen Lounges, located at children’s hospitals in 38 states across the country. ARVF also distributes over 2000 Teen Kits & Bandana Pillows annually to hospitalized teens and young adults. For more information about ARVF and to find out how you can help hospitalized teens, visit www.victoriousfoundation.org.