Hope and Help for Children with Cancer


Alexis Santoro, Managing Editor, Current News Editor

On Nov. 4, the Ashley Lauren Foundation, an organization that provides support for children with cancer and their families, held their annual Fall Harvest Party at Yellow Brook Farms in Colts Neck, NJ. The event is a time for families with similar struggles to come together and enjoy quality time with their children, whether it be working on various art projects or going on a hay ride.

The Ashley Lauren foundation is a non-profit organization that specializes in providing individualized help for families who have children battling cancer. Unlike most organizations that raise money and donate it to cancer research, this foundation focuses more on the struggles of the family, whether it be providing presents during the holidays for them or covering the cost of lengthy hospital stays and treatments. The foundation provides support to families in more ways than one, not, only financially but also emotionally in giving families hope and people to turn to in times of need.

Monica Vermeulen, the founder and CEO of the Ashley Lauren Foundation, decided to start the organization after her daughter, Ashley, was diagnosed with kidney cancer at age three. Ashley went through numerous rounds of chemotherapy and radiation, and underwent surgery to remove her kidney and is now cancer free. Vermeulen became committed to bettering the lives of families who are struggling with similar situations, so in July of 2005, she started the Ashley Lauren Foundation. The foundation has significantly grown in size and has touched the hearts of hundreds of families across New Jersey, and is even receiving attention from pro-football player Jamaal Westerman and actress Queen Latifah.

In addition to the Fall Harvest party, the foundation also runs Summerfest, a Spring party on the Boardwalk, and a Christmas party that bring families together in their difficult times.

Currently, the Ashley Lauren Foundation is running “Dance For Hope,” a dance marathon that is open to the public. At this event, donors can sponsor dancers to raise money for families in need. Vermeulen shared on the foundation’s website that their goal is to raise 75,000 dollars before the marathon on Nov. 19. Donations can be processed through text message by texting DANCE to 71777, or by visiting the website https://app.mobilecause.com/vf/Dance The funds raised will be used to continue the foundation’s mission of providing hope, help, and comfort to children battling cancer and their families.

The Ashley Lauren foundation has helped hundreds of families around New Jersey and continues to do so everyday. For more information regarding how to get involved, check out the foundation’s website: http://ashleylaurenfoundation.org/