In May 2004, Nicole Sheriff, 15, passed away after a lengthy battle with Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer. But not before she founded a charity, Angel 34, and outlined her mission – for every child to have his or her own angel in the battle against cancer.
Today, Angel 34 operates on a national level. The organization, headquartered in Bushkill Township, is led by Nicole’s parents, Doug and Linda Sheriff.
“What started the foundation was our daughter’s love of ICEEs,” said Doug Sheriff.
During her treatments, Nicole discovered that the frozen drink found in many convenience stores had the amazing ability to relieve the pain of mouth and stomach sores suffered by cancer patients.
With the help of schools and field hockey teams, Nicole raised $15,000 to install an ICEE machine in the pediatric cancer ward of . The machine was dedicated in April 2004.
Today, the foundation has continued with the ICEE program and has installed machines in more than 15 pediatric centers across the country, with current plans to install 100 more. And that’s only a portion of what the foundation does.
According to Sheriff, the average out-of-pocket expenses for cancer treatment are $34,000 per household, even with sufficient insurance coverage. The Sheriffs understand all of the unexpected costs --things like travel, overnight stays, dining out and prescription costs.
Angel 34 helps families cover these costs and others, like mortgages, medical bills and in some unfortunate cases, funeral expenses.
Angel 34 supports the pet therapy program, in which dogs are brought to pediatric centers to visit and comfort sick children.
The group also awards annual Medical Arts scholarships to aspiring students who need financial assistance.
And, in 2007, Doug and Linda Sheriff bought a home on 3.6 acres in Bushkill Township and a little more than a year later had created the Angel Field Family Center, a facility that acts as a retreat for children battling cancer and for their families.
Angel Field regularly holds like outdoor movie nights, aqua therapy sessions and arts and crafts. At the end of July it will hold Camp Sweetpea, dubbed after Nicole’s nickname.
On Saturday, July 16, two events will be held in Nazareth that will benefit the Angel 34 foundation, both sponsored by . The Road Rally takes place at the , starting at 4pm, and the begins at 11am at the Vigilance Hose Social Club at 50 S. Cedar St., Nazareth.