iOS app Android app

Valerie Sobel

Entries by Valerie Sobel

5 Ways + 1 You can Help a Caregiver this Month

(0) Comments | Posted November 15, 2015 | 11:57 PM

November is National Family Caregivers Month, a time to to thank, support, educate and empower family caregivers.

Day in and day out, 90 million family caregivers in the United States fulfill a vital role on their loved one's care team. No one else is in a better position to provide...

Read Post

The Letter I Wish I had Received... from Boyfriends

(0) Comments | Posted September 8, 2015 | 2:17 AM

Sixteen years ago our foundation awarded the first Andre Sobel Award, named for my son who died of a malignant brain tumor at 19.

The award honors teens who have survived catastrophic illness and bravely revisit the darkest hours of illness to share their stories.

This year we invited...

Read Post

The Day I Was Terrorized By Virtual Kidnappers

(11) Comments | Posted August 28, 2015 | 7:44 PM

Two days ago (August 24, 2015) at 12:49 pm Pacific time, I received a phone call, "This is a kidnap ransom demand call," that for a fleeting second I considered a joke. After my light response it was immediately made clear to me that I either "listen up!" or my...

Read Post

It's Lonely at the Top

(0) Comments | Posted May 22, 2015 | 2:38 AM

Let me EntertainYou

Dear Reader,

After I finish an art piece, it wants to say something.

It's hard enough to get to the point with any creation where you feel that no more revisions are necessary, nothing needs adding or removing. So what is this disturbing, surprising, unfinished...

Read Post

Goodbye and Hello

(1) Comments | Posted March 13, 2015 | 12:55 PM

Would you like to know what it feels like closing your very first month-long solo art show?

It's a bit like a death and a birth on the same day... or a friendlier analogy would be like giving a dinner party. You invite, shop, arrange, cook, clean the silver, place...

Read Post

Just When You Believe It's Over, in Fact It Can Just Begin

(0) Comments | Posted January 21, 2015 | 5:26 PM

At 73, art hit me like a piece of the Eiffel Tower. I was in a state of "philanthropic burn out" at the time, a phrase often used by unrelentingly working founders of a charitable organization. I decided that I needed the oxygen of a sabbatical, and went to Istanbul...

Read Post

OK, Take a Moment... Breathe...

(0) Comments | Posted November 8, 2011 | 2:15 PM

Continuing our series featuring the submissions of winners of the Andre Sobel River of Life Foundation's annual Andre Sobel Award, this week we share the essay of Micah Moskoff, the Third Placer Winner of our 2011 Andre Sobel Award.

For the next few weeks, we will...

Read Post

All Pains Aren't Physical

(0) Comments | Posted October 25, 2011 | 6:22 PM

Continuing our series featuring the submissions of winners of the Andre Sobel River of Life Foundation's annual Andre Sobel Award, this week we share the Second Place winner's essay, "All Pains Aren't Physical." In respect to their privacy, we are respecting the wishes of this entrant to remain...

Read Post

Two Best Friends Share the Journey of Battling Cancer Together

(0) Comments | Posted October 21, 2011 | 3:28 PM

Each year, the Andre Sobel River of Life Foundation, offers an annual Essay Award to young survivors of a catastrophic illness as a chance to express the reality of their experiences.

 We get the opportunity to read some amazing stories of survival and triumph from what are the creative group...

Read Post

Young People Share Their Stories of Survival From Life-Threatening Illness

(0) Comments | Posted April 28, 2011 | 1:25 PM

Young people who are diagnosed with a life-threatening illness experience a journey that is both extraordinary and isolating.

In recognition of Andre Sobel's struggle with this challenge, and realizing that this is often a common story among others, the Andre Sobel River of Life Foundation offers an annual Essay Award...

Read Post

Bringing the Dream Full Circle

(1) Comments | Posted December 20, 2010 | 12:31 AM

After my child died, I sat alone for months trying to assimilate emotions I had never felt before and deciding how to move forward. The result was the establishment of a foundation that bears my teenage son's name.

The Andre Sobel River of Life Foundation's mission is to help...

Read Post

Putting School Lessons to Practice: The Spirit of Giving

(0) Comments | Posted December 17, 2010 | 3:44 PM

Natalie Carpenter, a senior at Cal State University San Bernardino, started her shift at TGI-Friday thinking about her public relations campaigns class and how to raise money for the class' client--the Andre Sobel River of Life Foundation ( The class worked on a fundraiser for the foundation in...

Read Post

Christmas Light Can Be a Cruel Light

(1) Comments | Posted November 22, 2010 | 5:03 PM

Christmas light can be a cruel light... to some. I see the holidays from the perspective of one without an intact family. Having lost my child, my mother and husband in one year opened my eyes to the multitude of merrymakers who would rather flip the calendar forward from November...

Read Post

A Story of Real Love and Compassion

(0) Comments | Posted November 11, 2010 | 3:30 PM

On a rainy afternoon, a young man of 19 was driving home from work. His car slid, then went out of control and landed on an embankment. There was no other car involved, and he was trapped for some time on the country road before someone went for help. Each...

Read Post

Obama Administration Recognizes Heroes During National Family Caregivers Month

(1) Comments | Posted November 2, 2010 | 8:29 PM

Practically invisible single parent caregivers head 75 percent of the households where there is a critically ill child. These are the families aided by the Andre Sobel River of Life Foundation, those with few emotional or financial resources and little to no support.

We at the Foundation were delighted to...

Read Post

Andre Sobel Essay Winner: Cancer Isn't a Battle you Fight by Yourself

(0) Comments | Posted October 25, 2010 | 3:37 PM

I am just a mother, and as such, I don't know much more than other mothers do. However, there is a part of me that experienced a loss so savage that is thankfully only the plight of a few. Losing a child gives you a membership in a sorority; this...

Read Post

The Untold Truths of a Teen With Cancer

(1) Comments | Posted October 18, 2010 | 5:10 PM

You will find that the third place winner of the Andre Sobel Essay contest, Arianna Elnes, could have easily been the first. She could be first for the special reason that all the courageous young people who enter this contest could; it is with no ordinary yardstick that our judges...

Read Post

Andre Sobel Essay Award Winner: 'Chai'

(0) Comments | Posted October 11, 2010 | 2:01 AM

This week, I continue my series featuring the 2010 Andre Sobel Essay Award winners.

I am very proud to present the work of Colette Jaycox, our second place winner. Colette has survived pediatric cancer and is now a freshman at Columbia University. Her exquisite writing reflects her intelligent, cerebral approach...

Read Post

I Had Cancer; Cancer Never Had Me

(0) Comments | Posted October 4, 2010 | 3:59 PM

Real talk today is about a very real young lady, who survived a real life threatening illness. She chooses to write about it, and her composition won our 2010 Andre Sobel Essay Award. She writes in a voice that is not only real, but courageous, fascinating, honest and articulate.


Read Post

Real Talk About a "Silent Crisis"

(1) Comments | Posted September 27, 2010 | 5:14 PM

My name is Valerie Sobel, and this is my first time as a regular blogger.

As I sit to gather my thoughts about how best to tell you in a nutshell about the experiences of the past 10 years since founding the Andre Sobel River of Life Foundation...

Read Post