Roc Solid Foundation has a new space dedicated to its Ready Bags program. It’s called the Hope Zone — named for what it provides families facing the devastating diagnosis of pediatric cancer.
The space, within the nonprofit’s Chesapeake headquarters, came to fruition because of a $20,000 donation by TowneBank. Other sponsors include Atlantic Bay Mortgage Group, McCormick Law & Consulting and Sussex Development Corp.
Roc Solid’s vision is to build hope for every child and family battling childhood cancer nationwide. It does so in two ways: Play it Forward, a program that surprises children fighting cancer with custom-built play sets in their backyards and the provision of Ready Bags to families right after their children are diagnosed. The bags are packed with essentials a family might need during their unexpected hospital stay including toiletries, a cellphone charger, a blanket, journal, a tablet, coffee tumbler and a board game.
“It’s their first line of support in that moment when they’re super overwhelmed, everything’s kind of a blur and they don’t know what to do next,” Ashley Martin, Roc Solid’s director of marketing, said.
The small token of support is in addition to the intangible message that assures each family they are not alone. Martin said the nonprofit decided to turn part of the warehouse into an event space so it could invite community groups, businesses and organizations to get the bags packed. The Hope Zone was created as a more welcoming and efficient space for volunteer opportunities and company-sponsored packing parties.
“It’s really organized as a team-building activity for that group,” Martin said. “It’s a two-hour event where we give them a tour of the warehouse and walk them through not just what goes into making this Ready Bags program happen, but also the impact of it.”
A family affected by pediatric cancer shares their story at each packing event, Martin said.
The Ready Bags program launched in 2013 with the Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters as its first participant. Today, the program is in more than 60 children’s hospitals across the U.S.
Roc Solid distributed 700 bags in 2019, about 1,500 in 2020 and plans to distribute at least 2,000 this year.
Eric Newman, Roc Solid’s founder and a pediatric cancer survivor, said in a news release that TowneBank has believed in the organization since its founding in 2009.
“They’ve seen where we started and where we’re going, and we truly appreciate their involvement in this new endeavor that will help us build hope for even more families during one of the worst times of their lives,” Newman said.
Sandra J. Pennecke, 757-652-5836, email@example.com