If someone had told me six months ago when I accepted the Program Coordinator position here at CURE, just how much it would change my outlook on life in such a short period of time, I probably wouldn’t have believed them. Now, six months later, as I sit and reflect on my time so far with CURE, I can say wholeheartedly how wonderfully this organization has impacted my life. I often like to use the phrasing “I didn’t find CURE, CURE found me.”

I entered this position during the holiday season, so right off the bat, there was a lot to be done. Without hesitation, Holly and Sam were both extremely helpful with getting me situated and helping me learn the ropes in the office (and still are). From day one, I had promised myself that one of my goals when accepting this position was to get to know every family the best I could so that I could gain an authentic relationship with each one. There are still many families I have yet to get to know (I look forward in doing so). However, the ones I have met along the way so far, have genuinely sparked my soul and have given me a very different view on life, one that I really appreciate. Despite being thrown life’s hardest curve balls, these children and their families have taught me a new definition of strength, love and a new realization of support.

At the beginning of last month, we held our Brick Laying Ceremony. I was moved beyond measure by the families that were in attendance and their strength. It was my first interaction with some of our bereaved families and I wanted the ceremony to be perfect for them while honoring a child they have lost. There were tears, there were laughs, there were hugs, and there were stories, lots of stories. Hearing the stories told about these precious children who had passed, moved me deeply. To hear their memory and characteristics live on through the stories their parents and siblings told, with so much love and pride behind them, was something I will never forget.

In late May, we held our Volunteer Appreciation Dinner, which I was very excited about because we were able to honor some really wonderful people! I tell my loved ones all the time how absolutely amazed I am by the volunteer base that CURE has, it really is a second family. Everyone wants to help, to support, and to voluntarily give their time towards something that is close to their heart and if you ask me, those are truly honorable characteristics to encompass.  Our CURE volunteers have reminded me that there are still genuinely good people left in this world, and we are extremely lucky to have them!

June 3rd was our annual Survivors Day Picnic, and my first time being in charge of it. I am a huge perfectionist and without a doubt, my own biggest critic, so the pressure was definitely on in my mind. I wanted it to be perfect for these kids and their families because well, they mean the world to me and this day is all about celebrating their strength. The weather leading up to Survivors Day looked more than promising, 75 and sunny, I was ecstatic because the last few years it had rained. Silly me for trusting any forecast because we all know that Rochester weather is a roll of the die on any given day. So when it started down pouring around 12:30, my heart sank. Around 1:15, I realized the shelter was little by little becoming packed, the weather wasn’t keeping our CURE families from having a good time, and even though it was pouring, that brightened my day better than any ray of sunshine could have. I saw so many smiles on children’s faces, they were laughing and playing and just simply happy, and that is all I wanted for them. Parents were happy, their family members were happy, everyone looked happy. I look up to each and every one of our CURE kids because honestly, their strength and love for life is so admirable. These kids are absolutely phenomenal human beings and they have already taught me more than they will ever know. There were a few things on my end that I learned from so that I can do better for next year, but I imagine that to be common in anyone’s first time running an event. All in all, it was a great day. Again, our volunteers blew me away with their help and commitment the entire event. Each vendor present at the event was wonderful and so great with the kids. We had a handful of CURE board members in attendance that were also a huge help. Lastly, all of the wonderful women who make up the CURE staff were there to help me with whatever I needed, and I couldn’t have done it without them! It is very empowering to work along side such a great team of intelligent and successful women. All of these factors combined created one successful puzzle and I couldn’t have done it without each and every piece, so I thank all of you from the bottom of my heart!

I genuinely love the Program Coordinator position because it gives me the opportunity to wear different hats, and is constantly challenging me to learn more each day and grow so that I can provide the best social support to all of our CURE families. With that being said, here’s to the next six months!

Last but not least, I want to say to each CURE family (and the CURE staff who have become my second family): you have all become such a strong and important impact on my life, and I hope in time, I can do the exact same for all of you!

– Andrea