integrateIT employee Lorraine Vatikiotis chose to support the Smashing Walnuts Foundation with her annual company charitable contribution. Here's why:
I've decided to contribute my $1K towards the Smashing Walnuts Foundation, which was created by Gabriella Miller, a 10 year old Leesburg resident. In November 2012, Gabriella was diagnosed with a walnut-sized inoperable brain tumor. I first heard about Gabriella Miller in December 2012 when I walked to into my son's Pediatric office and saw signs requesting that we write letters to Santa to raise funds for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. All of these letters were to be mailed to Gabriella Miller, who would then submit these to Macy's! Her ambition as a childhood cancer awareness advocate quickly gained national attention and she started receiving Santa letters from all around the world, raising $275K for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. She quickly stole my heart, and I started following Gabriella on Facebook (Make-A-Wish with Gabriella). She fought hard over the past year but unfortunately, the cancer overcame her on October 26th. One of her wishes was for everyone to continue fighting the war of childhood cancer until a cure is found. In addition to donating $1K towards her foundation, I also made these colorful flowers which will be displayed during her memorial service then sent to cancer patients who are going through similar battles.