Cancer. No other word quite has the unique devastating power to a family. In a matter of seconds, your life is turned completely upside down and inside out. Everything after the utterance of that word seems to fade out; the world muted and vision tunneled as the news sets in. All of a sudden, the business meeting you thought was all-consuming now hopelessly and hilariously pales in comparison as you turn and look, through cloudy, tear-filled eyes, at the faces of your family. I heard a saying once, “There isn’t anyone anywhere whose life wouldn’t crumble around them with a knock on the door, a buzz of a cell phone, or a diagnosis from a doctor.” You suddenly realize how fragile and vulnerable you really are.
As reality sets in, you soon realize that while your world has stopped, the world around you has not. While facing the battle of and for life, things still need to get done. The car still needs servicing, dinner still has to be cooked, dry cleaning still needs to get done, dogs still need to be walked. Life still happens, but it can be too much to bear and you need help.
Paul Scott knows this scenario all too well. In May 2017, his son was diagnosed with a type of cancer, Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL for short), and suddenly it was Paul’s family whose life had turned upside down and inside out. As a self-proclaimed “Fixer,” this was one thing he couldn’t fix. But he also couldn’t stand idly by. Paul and his business partners committed to find a way of helping other families fight cancer. From that day, V for Victory was born. As part owner of V Pizza, Paul provides meals for the Ronald McDonald house for one week every month. His employees volunteer their time to cook and deliver these meals.
But in their heart, they knew they could do more. They desired to do more. Feeding people is great and is a huge help, but what about the car needing service, the dry cleaning, and dog walking? Then the thought struck him. What if Paul and his partners could convince other small, locally owned businesses in and around Jacksonville to join them in helping families? Being a small business owner himself, Paul knows the struggles regarding charitable giving. Small business owners want to give, but may not have the time, energy, resources, or staff to do so.
This is where V for Victory wants to step in and help. Their desire is to build a network of small businesses that have a willingness to help but find the barrier of entry too high. What V for Victory will do is, by zip code; refer families to local businesses to receive help in the form of a service. The business would provide a one-time free (or at cost) service for one family battling cancer. V for Victory would only ask businesses to do this once during a month and not every month. Businesses would provide their services as they normally would at a time they would normally do it, but for one time during the month, give back to the community. The goal is to create a coalition of businesses large enough to spread the giving.
So for instance, a family needs help making sure their dog is walked while they’re out for treatment. V for Victory would connect them with a local dog walker that has expressed interest in helping a family and that dog walker would walk their dogs for them that day, pro bono. Maybe you’re a business that can’t provide a free service due to the initial cost of providing that service, for example, tires for a car. If a business is able to provide those tires to a family at cost, V for Victory would pay it. V for Victory is passionate about connecting families to businesses in the family’s local zip code. The vision is to not only help families, but also in the process, bring communities together.
What V for Victory hopes to accomplish is a win-win for everyone involved. The family receives help with everyday life obligations so they can spend that time and effort into battling cancer, and the business is able to help without overextending resources.
So maybe you’re a small local business owner reading this and saying to yourself, “Self, I can do this. I can finally give back to the community in a meaningful way and at the same time not overburden my staff or my resources. How can I become a part of the V for Victory network?” Send an email to V for Victory’s Executive Director of Development, Holly Morse. Her email is hmorse(at)vforvictory(dot)org. She’ll need your contact information including zip code, the type of service you provide, and what you’re willing to provide a family fighting cancer. She’ll also answer any questions you have about being part of the V for Victory network.
Or maybe you’re not a small business owner, but you want to contribute. Currently, V for Victory is accepting monetary donations at the San Marco V Pizza location; 1406 Hendricks Ave. V for Victory is still in its infancy. A website is currently being built to hopefully facilitate online giving, but in the meantime, you can follow the story of V for Victory by liking their Facebook page here. If you’re concerned about how your money will be used, don’t be. 100% of all monetary donations will be used exclusively for the V for Victory charity. It will not be used to pay for any administrative salaries, office rentals, or any other overhead costs. It all goes towards helping families fighting cancer with their everyday needs.
Cancer. While the word can deal a devastating blow to a family, they don’t and shouldn’t have to bear the burden alone. As humans, we’re created with an innate need for connection, for community. With V for Victory, we have a unique opportunity to bring our Jacksonville community closer together in a very personal way.