In December 2017, Go Get It LIFE hosted our 4th Annual GRATITUDE CHALLENGE! We received entries from all over the world. What stood out this year in particular is that we had a number of nominations. Selfless friends and family shared the stories of people in their lives who were an inspiration to persevere and to spread joy. One of those such nominations came from Christine Orsino when she nominated her friend Laura Valois. Here is Laura’s story through the eyes on Christine…
While I try every day to better myself and put more goodness into this world, I am writing to nominate someone else who inspires me every day without even knowing it. About a year ago, I was searching for someone to bake a cake for me for my Christmas baby’s 13th birthday. I posted my question in a Facebook parents group and I got an overwhelming number of responses for the same person, Laura Valois. This sweet woman was not only willing to bake a cake to be delivered to me on Christmas morning, but she has baked every single cake for every special occasion in the last year. However, that is not what this nomination is about.
I have become friends with Laura and stayed in touch with her all year and because of that have been able to see firsthand all the good she does for this world for both animals and humans alike. She works full-time, 7 days a week, making the most delicious cakes you’ve ever laid your lips on. She is mom to an adopted son, and also an amazing wife. She hardly sleeps and somehow manages to fit these good works into pockets of her time. She not only inspires me, but she inspires thousands of people around Staten Island to join her in her good deeds and that is what makes this story so powerful. One person can indeed make a difference, but when that one person rallies an army of like-minded people to join her in her quest, the results are limitless.
Laura does not only support one issue. She finds causes that speak to her soul and then charges forward and uses her leadership and influence to make things happen. Laura is a proponent of fostering and adopting dogs who do not have a forever home. She works with various animal shelters and groups to find foster families for dogs without homes. Just last month, she was out on the side of a busy road in the dark trying to rescue a cat in distress. She just could not drive by. She went home and drove back with backup to make sure that this animal was safe.
In the last year, Laura has supported other issues as well, both local and national. Laura stepped up to help families after the devastating hurricane in Puerto Rico and sent much needed food and supplies with the help of other islanders by using tools like social media to aid in her quest to get her message out.
Most recently, she teamed up with Dr. Joan Graziano who was looking to put together a small Christmas pizza party for a group of children at The Staten Island Pediatric Hematology and Oncology Unit at Richmond University Medical Center who are suffering with cancer. Last year their Christmas party was held in the chemo room. Once again, Laura rallied the troops and with the help of some good friends found people willing to donate their time to make this a Christmas these children would never forget. She received over $3000 in donations, gathered the children’s Christmas lists and made sure each wish was fulfilled, garnered volunteers to provide music, face painting, food, costumed characters, a petting zoo, decorations, a visit from Santa, and everything needed to provide laughs and pure joy to these children.
Finally, Laura put the word out through friends and social media to aid Mia Mannarino, a 9-year-old pediatric oncology patient at Richmond University Medical Center. Her fundraiser provides character Band-Aids to all the PEDS Unit, PACU, and ER pediatric patients. Rather than the children using the basic hospital band-aids for their wounds, this fundraiser helps brighten children’s lives during a difficult time. Since character Band-Aids are so costly, hospitals cannot afford them. Laura set up drop off points for band-aids throughout the island. Hundreds of people sent amazon deliveries directly to her house and Mia’s No More Ouchies campaign is bigger than she ever dreamed because of this one woman.
Her story does not end there. 2018 will surely bring more worthy causes and I know that Laura will never disappoint. She is not one to sit idly by while people struggle. She inspires me every day and for that she is worthy of this nomination. Please help in recognizing her for all her good work.