Roc Solid hope zone pack the bags SCF

I had the opportunity to make a difference at the Roc Solid Pack the Bags event (Shellie center with hand on precious little Sadie)

When I had the opportunity to participate in a Pack the Bags event at the Roc Solid Foundation on behalf of SAGA Community Focus (SCF), the non-profit side of SAGA Realty and Construction I had no idea how much it would touch my life.  

As part of the team that helped with the first annual Home Run for Hope charity event put on by World Series Champion Los Angeles Dodger Chris Taylor’s CT3 Foundation, I learned about the two charities, Roc Solid Foundation and Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters (CHKD) in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia.

I knew they were doing amazing things for kids battling pediatric cancer, but my visit to Roc Solid Foundation was the tangible element I had been missing… and that is where this story leads.

ABOUT THE BAGS 

Roc Solid Ready Bags are given to families on the worst day of their lives… the day they find out their child has cancer. Their battle often starts that day, with their child being admitted into hospital to start treatment, and everything else comes to a screeching halt.  

Ready Bags include everything a family might need for their unexpected hospital stay – toiletries, a blanket, a journal, a tablet and more. These essentials are helpful, but we hope they also send a message to each family that they are not alone as they begin this journey. This is Roc Solid’s first step toward building hope in a situation nobody ever hopes to face. 

Ready Bags are distributed through partnerships with nearly 50 children’s hospitals throughout the country. We will continue to push this initiative forward until we reach the 16,000 kids who are diagnosed with cancer in the U.S. each year. 

IT’S PERSONAL

At the Ready Bags Packing event I met a family who were personally touched by these bags. Roc Solid isn’t just a charity, it’s a community of individuals who rally around one common goal, HOPE. As the founder, and childhood cancer survivor Eric Newman shared with us, knowing these families are not alone in this fight, and that there is a community who loves them and cares about them makes a world of difference. This helps give the confidence and strength to keep fighting!  

A young mother and her small daughter Sadie who were fighting Leukemia shared their story with us. She said that in the darkest hour of their life, when they were told the most tragic news ever: “Your daughter has cancer and will be admitted immediately to start treatment,” they were given a Ready Bag that had everything they needed until one of them could slip out and get some things together. This would have meant leaving the Mom or Dad behind (if they are a couple), alone with their fear, or unable to have the basics if a single parent. She said this bag goes everywhere with them, to every doctor or chemo appointment, and it sits waiting and ready by the door. They keep their medical notes in it, their toys in it, toiletries, a small blanket, and it contains the power of HOPE as travel this difficult journey. 

THE CARD

The card goes inside the bag and the tag sits on the backpack and goes with them wherever they go

As I packed my two bags along with the other volunteers, I quietly prayed for the two families who at this very moment had no idea their world was going to be turned upside down. Their entire family was going to be impacted in ways they never imagined. Like what I saw and couldn’t really recognize in the eyes of little Sadie’s Papa while her Mom shared their story. I knew it was pain, but it was a pain I had never felt before.

Then I sat down and wrote each family a card to put into the backpack. I cannot express how this felt… as I said, tangible. 

I thought about the card that I held in my hand right in that very moment would shortly be in theirs, tear-stained.

                           What do you say to someone about to hear what sounds like a death sentence to their most beloved? An innocent child. Where do the dreams of the future go from here when at 2 or 3 year old you are told it is going to be a rocky road with no guarantees? There is HOPE! 

THE REASON

Roc Solid pack the bags event Arrowhead Environmental owner Michael Luter with Sadie

Arrowhead Environmental Founder and President Michael Luter with sweet little Sadie

Like throwing a rock in a stream forever changes the course, my life was forever changed by seeing, hearing and touching at this Roc Solid Foundation event. I can only imagine the others who were there on behalf of their participation in the Home Run for Hope event felt the same. It was not easy, I have a lump in my throat as I type this. I asked myself, what can Shellie do for these families fighting pediatric cancer? Besides donating money, what can I do to make an impact, I am only one person…

“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” – Mother Teresa

PLAYSETS 

Build hope roc solid

The team at Roc Solid united for the kids in this battle

Roc Solid Foundation also builds play sets for kids fighting cancer. Because when a young child is diagnosed with cancer, the first thing taken away is the opportunity to play. Normal family activities are replaced with doctor’s appointments and treatments that leave kids with weak immune systems and often the inability to interact in public. A new backyard playset not only provides a safe haven for play, but it also represents an escape from the reality of fighting cancer, and most importantly, hope for the future.  

This is another opportunity to get involved. All of the Roc Solid Foundation’s current available volunteer opportunities can be found on their volunteer calendar here.

LEARN MORE

A documentary came out the very next week after my visit to the Roc Solid Foundation, “Our Story: A Roc Solid Short Film.” What an honor and a privilege to be a part of something greater, something that will have an everlasting impact, and as my t-shirt so succinctly says “BUILD HOPE.”   

I highly recommend this film if you have a few quiet moments, view it here.  I know it will touch something deep inside, and it’s not a sad story, it’s a joyful story, of HOPE.

I am grateful for the small part I was able to play on behalf of SAGA Community Focus to touch hope. If you have questions about volunteering with Roc Solid Foundation or would like to learn more about them, just give them a call at 757-966-5500 or click the link below.

Learn More