Alicia Rose Victorious Foundation

“May we always remember every day that we were together,

Remember all the memories we share,

Ready for anything that we could dare.

Alicia Rose DiNatale

On a gorgeous evening in the Summer of 2001, I was strolling the boardwalk in Ocean City with my beautiful daughter, Kelly, and her dear friend, Alicia DiNatale.  They were two teenagers talking, laughing, carefree and full of life.  They had grown close through years of playing travel soccer together and their shared love of theatre.

One of the more memorable shows in which they starred was the Voorhees Middle School production of “Peter Pan.”  Kelly played “Peter” and Alicia played “Tiger Lily,” the brave, strong-willed and incredibly proud friend.

As soon as you met Alicia, you could never forget her.  She ran like the wind on the soccer field and on the track.  She had boundless energy and stamina.  Alicia was constantly moving and I always knew when she was around because she spoke loud and fast.

On that gorgeous evening on the boardwalk, Alicia had trouble catching her breath.  Her struggle continued into the evening.  Days later, on the first day of her sophomore year at Eastern Regional High School, Alicia was admitted to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and soon after was 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 October 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 ARVF has touched the lives of thousands of teens across the country and now offers them “Victorious 4 Teens” Programs.  In addition to establishing 68 Teen Lounges, the Foundation has donated 48 Alicia’s Art Carts to hospitals throughout the United States.  Each year, the ARVF also donates more than 2,000 Teen Kits and Bandana Pillows to hospitalized teens.

In honor of Alicia’s October birthday, the ARVF holds an annual “Birthday Bash” as a fundraiser to continue their noble mission.  On Friday, October 21, 2022, the 20th Anniversary Birthday Bash Emerald Gala 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

I hope to see you there!


** The Voorhees Business Association will hold its Annual Bowling Fundraiser on Sept. 23 from 6pm-8pm at the Big Event, 1536 Kings Hwy North, Cherry Hill.  Proceeds benefit the Voorhees Township Police Holiday Fund.  For more information, contact Lisa Goldwasser at

** The Voorhees Animal Orphanage (VAO) will hold its 26th Annual Woofstock Festival on Saturday, Sept. 24, from 11am-4 pm at the Voorhees Town Center (rain date is Sunday, Sept. 25). It is the biggest fundraising event of the year for the Animal Orphanage. This year, the Camden County Commissioners are again partnering in the event. For more information about Woofstock or the Animal Orphanage, visit or

** The Voorhees Breakfast Rotary Club is hosting a fundraiser on Oct. 1 from 10am-2pm at Golf Land. There will be 18 holes of pitch and putt golf or mini golf, food, refreshments, prizes and games. Tickets and sponsorships are available. For more details, please call John Conners at 856-261-8738 or go to


** The Animal Welfare Association of Voorhees is hosting “Puptoberfest” on Saturday, Oct. 1 from 3pm-8pm at the AWA’s Adoption & Education Center, 509 Centennial Blvd.  For more information about this fundraiser, visit or contact Meggin Olivo at;  (856) 424-2288 x113.