Home • Camden County News Mayor’s column: Remembering Alicia Rose

Mayor’s column: Remembering Alicia Rose

Alicia Rose DiNatale was only a teenager on the first day of her sophomore year at Eastern Regional High School when she was admitted to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, where she would soon be diagnosed with cancer.

For the next 13 months, Alicia was in and out of CHOP undergoing tests, enduring chemotherapy, surgeries and procedures.  During that time, she was homeschooled to keep up with her studies, got her driver’s license and even had a part in Eastern’s play, “Into the Woods.”  She just wanted to be a normal teenager.

During her time at CHOP, Alicia noticed that there was a room with tiny chairs and cartoon decorations for young kids to color and watch TV during their stay, but no such place for teenagers.  Alicia dreamed of a place where kids her age could surf the Internet, watch TV and hang out together.  Alicia shared this vision with her parents, Mario and Gisele.  

On Oct. 10, 2002, heaven became a happier and much louder place, when Alicia burst through the pearly gates.  Some might suggest that she “lost” her battle with cancer.  They would be wrong.  Alicia was victorious because she touched the lives of so many with her love, compassion and tireless spirit.  Every person she met in her short 17 years came away with a gift.  

In honor of Alicia’s courage and spirit, in December of 2002, Mario and Gisele founded the Alicia Rose Victorious Foundation (ARVF).  The mission of the ARVF is to improve the quality of life of hospitalized teens battling serious illness.  In 2003, the ARVF opened the first Teen Lounge in Alicia’s memory at CHOP.  Sick teens now had a comfortable place to be teens.   

Over two decades, the Alicia Rose Victorious Foundation has touched the lives of thousands of teens across the country. Victorious 4 Teens Programs support 68 Teen Lounges, 48 Alicia’s Art Carts, and ships more than 2,000 Teen Welcome Kits to hospitalized teens. 

To see the impact the ARVF has on hospitalized teens, view the most current impact report View our 2023 Impact Report

In honor of Alicia’s October birthday, the ARVF holds an annual “Birthday Bash” as a fundraiser to continue their noble mission.  On Friday, Oct. 20, 2023, as ARVF turns 21, the Annual Birthday Bash will be held at Lucien’s in Berlin.  This annual celebration is always an epic night of music, dancing, great food, cocktails, and of course, memories of Alicia.  Please consider joining the party as we celebrate Alicia’s spirit and the wonderful work of the ARVF.  For more information and to buy tickets/sponsorships, visit victoriousfoundation.org.

I hope to see you there!

** The Voorhees Police Department is working with the Camden County Partnership for Children on a 2023 Winter Coat Drive.  Donations (gently used coats, hats and gloves) will be collected in the Police Station Lobby at 1180 White Horse Road until Dec. 1.  For more information, contact Lt. Hawkins at dhawkins@vtpd.com or Sgt. Eric Camm at ecamm@vtpd.com

** The Voorhees Animal Orphanage is hosting its 27th Annual Woofstock Festival on Saturday, Sept. 23 from 11 a.m.  to 4 p.m.  at the Voorhees Town Center.  It is a fun-filled, outdoor event with something for everyone in the family, even your four-legged friends! Enjoy food trucks, music, dog demonstrations, a beer garden, a humongous gift basket raffle pavilion, the ever-popular VAO Alumni Parade, and much more! For more information, email info@vaonj.org or call (856) 627-9111.

**The Voorhees Art Commission is hosting auditions for the “Voorhees Got Talent” competition. Singers, dancers, actors, musicians, poets, bands or any special talents are welcome.  Auditions are on Saturday, Sept. 23 at 4 p.m. and on Sunday, Sept. 24 at 4 p.m. at the Voorhees Town Center.  You will receive your number after registration. The location is the Atrium of the Voorhees Town Center, below Town Hall. Scan the QR code in the graphics or click
https://forms.gle/1MAEQyon333qKLESA for the registration form.  Both auditions are on a first come- first serve basis and space is limited. The semifinals will be held on Saturday, Nov. 4 at 4PM at the Voorhees Town Center.  The finals will be held during Voorhees Township’s Tree Lighting Ceremony. (Date to be announced.)  Prizes: 1st Place $1000, 2nd Place $500, 3rd Place $250. For more information, contact Gabrielle Horvitz at ghorvitz1@gmail.com

** Live Jazz Night featuring Budesa Brothers and Jerry Tannenbaum is on Friday, Sept. 29 at 6:30 p.m. at the Voorhees Town Center courtyard. Bring your chairs and blankets and wrap up the summer with this classic jazz trio – organ, guitar and drums. The Beer Garden and food trucks will open at 5:30 p.m..  Bring your lawn chairs or blankets. For more information about this free event, visit voorheesnj.com or call the Show Hot Line at 856-882-SHOW.

**The Voorhees Breakfast Rotary Club is hosting a Voorhees Community Yard Sale on Saturday, Sept. 30 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Voorhees Town Center parking lot.  All residents are welcome to participate. Cost is $25 for two parking spaces. To sign up and for more information, contact Bob Scapicchio at  my67pony@aol.com or Susan Bromley at sbromley14@gmail.com** The Voorhees Arts Commission presents the “Healing Art for a Hero’s Heart” free community event on Saturday, Sept. 30 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Voorhees Town Center Mall Food Court. Paint holiday greeting cards for deployed soldiers, meet special guests from the Tri-State Canine Response Team and enjoy Sal Vito’s delicious hoagies.  For more information, contact Amy Bash at amymarks1@yahoo.com or call 856-979-9585. 

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