Over the past year Walk With Sally has worked very hard to expand our services throughout Los Angeles County. This included strengthening partnerships with school districts (Los Angeles Unified School District in particular) and other organizations, as well as hiring a bilingual program coordinator so that ALL families impacted by cancer can get the support they need. As a result we were able to match twenty seven children from all over the area with mentors.
Our mission is always to help the children who often struggle the most, but the friendships that are created through Walk With Sally help heal the mentor and the parents as well. Will and Rocco were matched in May of this year. After losing his father to cancer a couple of years ago, Will joined the mentoring program to help kids with a similar story. He was matched with Rocco, 8 years old, whose mom is currently battling cancer. This is what Rocco, Will, and Danette had to say:
“Will is a good friend. He makes me feel happy and good about myself. I’m proud to have him as a friend. We have fun and he is special.”
“I love Walk with Sally! Being a part of this community has allowed our family to schedule in some “fun” during this otherwise extremely difficult time. It has provided us an opportunity to relax and enjoy each other as well as meet new friends, when our regular daily lives have been filled with pain, anxiety, and sadness. As a family, we ALL feel loved and supported and really look forward to releasing all of our stress and just having a great time together. And the relationship with my son and his mentor has been amazing! Their friendship helped my son find happiness again in his life and for that I will forever be grateful. Having a special friend who understands him has been invaluable in his healing process. He can count on him and knows he is there for him. It is the little things that matter the most, and for my son and our family, the stability and consistency of friendship, love and support has helped us all to heal and enjoy ourselves in the process.”
-Danette, Rocco’s Mom
“I have not only established a relationship with Rocco, but I have established a relationship with the whole family. I can be a supportive influence for Rocco’s mom the same way people were there for my dad as he battled his disease.
There is no doubt that I have developed a special connection with Rocco. But as much as I have tried to give, I have received more from my relationships with Rocco and Walk with Sally. As a 6 foot 6, 300 pound offensive linemen in the NFL, I have often felt the pressure to demonstrate a stoic persona. But through my time with Walk with Sally, I have been able to reflect and express the emotions that I felt with losing my father. And whenever I drop Rocco off at home, and he gives me that infectious smile and I hug his mom, I know we are all in this together.”
-Will, Rocco’s Mentor