Who We Are

Deliberate Acts of Kindness

Sandy Balentine, MSN, RN, OCN, Director of Clinical Oncology at The Valley Hospital, Meg McCluskey, and Valerie Quigley, BSN, RN, OCN, Manager at Valley’s Infusion Center.

November 20, 2018 Ridgewood, NJ — When it comes to being a good community member, sometimes the answer is as simple as deciding to say “yes” the next time someone asks for help. When Suffern, New York, resident Meg McCluskey reached out to her wide circle of friends and family to help her make a difference in the world, the good people in her life responded with a resounding “yes.”

For the past three Octobers, Meg McCluskey has made very thoughtful donations to The Valley Hospital and encouraged others to join her. As an independent business owner and stylist for Stella & Dot, Meg asked people to donate $27 towards the purchase of one of the items she sells, a chic toiletry bag. She directed 100% of her commission towards converting them into “Chemo Care pouches”, filling the bags with comforting items for patients undergoing treatment at the Valley-Mount Sinai Comprehensive Cancer Care at The Luckow Pavilion in Paramus.

Shirley Rupert of Mahwah received her kit recently while undergoing treatment at Valley’s Infusion Center. “It makes me feel cared for and all warm inside,” she smiled. “It’s a reminder that other people realize that people are going through difficult times.”

Year after year, support for this project has increased, and this year more than 200 “chemo care pouches” were sponsored. Meg was amazed – but not surprised – by the overwhelming generosity.

“It is touching to witness everyone’s eagerness to give to this important cause, caring for strangers.” Meg remarked. “And it so important for us to model this kindness for our children, and have them experience being philanthropic.”

It was a collective effort. With the help of Meg’s daughters, Kaelin and Ellie, and dozens of friends, they filled the bags with socks, lip balm, mints, teabags, lotions, and lemon oil donated by Jenny Watson of Young Living Essential Oils. McCluskey’s friend and owner of Character’s Restaurant in Sloatsburg, Jenny Kirby, hosted the annual “stuffing party” in the venue’s party room. To make the bags even more personal and inspiring, hand-written notes with thoughtful messages of hope and encouragement were written by local Girl Scout and Brownie troops and slid into each one before the ribbon was tied.

“How wonderful – an entire community coming together to do something nice for complete strangers!” said Valerie Quigley, BSN, RN, OCN, and the Manager at Valley’s Infusion Center. “Not only do our patients love receiving these, but it warms the hearts of our entire department to know that Meg is so committed to taking the time to organize this event, and know that so many others care about Valley’s patients.”

Asked why she directs her fundraising efforts towards Valley, Meg explained, “Because The Valley Hospital is local; it’s not a big national nonprofit.” McCluskey intoned, “It felt a lot more personal knowing that we are doing this for people fighting cancer right here in our own community, right down the road.”

Valley-Mount Sinai Comprehensive Cancer Care — a partnership with the Valley Hospital and The Mount Sinai Health System — is grateful for these generous donations.


The Chemo Care pouches are filled with items that provide comfort and inspiration for Valley’s patients.

At the “stuffing party” at Character’s Restaurant in Sloatsburg, Meg McCluskey, her daughters’ Girl Scout Troops, friends, and community members gather to assemble the Chemo Care pouches for donation.