Line of Hope Event a Success!
September is childhood cancer awareness month, but just because September is over doesn't mean we should stop doing our part to spread awareness and encouraging words. In September, the U-Haul Self-Storage Affiliate Network teamed up with the St. Baldrick's Foundation to do just that.
The St. Baldrick's foundation is made up of volunteers committed to funding research to find a cure for childhood cancer. Lou Monteleone, one of the volunteers, has been with the St Baldrick's foundation for 8 years and told us, "The first time I heard about St Baldrick's I wanted to make a difference in those kids suffering." The U-Haul Self-Storage Affiliate Network is pleased to be one of Lou's contacts and we were glad to participate in the Line of Hope event that took place in September.
This is the second year the U-Haul Self-Storage Affiliate Network has worked with St. Baldrick's. The first event we held was a charity garage sale at one of our storage affiliate locations, West Phoenix Self-Storage. After we had such great success with that event, Lou contacted Operations Analyst, Alonna Ross, to see if we would be willing to participate in the Line of Hope event. Without hesitation Alonna said we would be more than happy to help them out.
Childhood cancer hits close to home for Alonna. She explains, "In 2014 my step-son was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor that had spread to his spine. I know first-hand how hard it is as a parent to see your child going through this and honestly feeling helpless. There are days when you are just down and just need something to raise your spirits. The children going through this experience this as well." Line of Hope offers just that something to lift spirits. Each year Lou reaches out to people around the United States to participate in taking pictures of themselves holding encouraging words to support, uplift and encourage the brave children who are fighting cancer and their loved ones. Lou shares, "It's a great way to honor our children and requires little effort compared to what they go through every year. The first Line of Hope was strictly just in Eldred, NY and when I felt the emotion of the event I thought, how great would this be if other places could do this as well."
Each year a video is made up of the pictures to share an encouraging message along with names of loved ones affected by cancer. "You would be amazed at how much a simple word or sentence can change someone's day - even if it is from a stranger" Alonna shares. The videos we participated in are shared online and through the Childhood Cancer Awareness community. These videos show the families and children that they are not fighting alone, even though some days they really feel like they are. The Line of Hope event helps Lou reach his mission of supporting and honoring the many affected by cancer. Alonna describes how her and her family feel about the videos, "It's very inspiring knowing there are people all over the world supporting the fight your family is fighting. I personally still can't make it through any of the videos without crying."
Every year Lou strives to get more and more states participating in the Line of Hope event. After the first year he had about 8 states participate and that increased each year. Last year there were 36 states and this year Lou is happy to announce that people from all 50 states participated. The event also surpassed their $15,000 goal and raised over $20,000 for cancer research. It was an honor to work with Lou and benefit the St. Baldrick's foundation again and we are looking forward to our next event.
Please take a moment and watch the Line of Hope video.