Mention the name, Judy Rubel, to just about anyone who knows her and chances are their response will be, “She won’t take ‘No’ for an answer!” Judy admits that’s true, but her feisty resolve has brought a wealth of help to CURE Childhood Cancer.
Judy entered the world of pediatric cancer when her granddaughter, Hannah, was diagnosed with neuroblastoma ten and a half years ago. Hannah checked into Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite.
“The first visitor we had was from CURE,” said Judy. “She had a basket of ‘necessities’ for my daughter and a lot of good advice. She made us feel we were not alone.”
Judy has never forgotten that visit from CURE and has dedicated a major portion of her life to helping CURE and our mission to end childhood cancer. Hannah has relapsed and is still undergoing treatment in Georgia, but Judy, who lives in Gadsden, Alabama, has spread the word about CURE in her hometown.
“I raise funds,” said Judy. “I sponsor lunches and get others to sponsor lunches. I do all I can to make people in my area aware of the need for research and to let them know what CURE does.”
Judy is constantly thinking up new ways to help. Earlier this year, she approached the manager of her local Winn Dixie store about asking customers for donations. Every Winn Dixie in the district participated, and the grocery store chain presented a check to CURE for $24,000. In September, during Childhood Cancer Awareness month, Judy tied a gold ribbon on every tree in downtown Gadsden, and reportedly put a donation container in every store downtown and every branch of The Exchange Bank of Alabama.
CURE Advisory Board member, Ginger Kindred, met Judy when her son, Trenton, was diagnosed with cancer—the same day, the same diagnosis of neuroblastoma as Judy’s granddaughter, Hannah. The two women bonded and are still good friends.
“I was blessed to have her loving on our Trenton as much as she did Hannah,” said Ginger. “That’s just who she is. She loved on all those kids on the floor.”
Ginger calls Judy a “Grandma-cologist” because Ginger says Judy “…will fight until her last breath to find a cure for neuroblastoma and all childhood cancer.”
CURE’s director of Patient and Family Services, Lisa Branch says Judy has “…the heart to find a cure and take care of families.”
“Judy calls me to check in on a regular basis and the call always includes ‘Do you need anything for the families?’ The most beautiful part of that question is that I know she really means it,” said Lisa.
As Hannah continues to battle cancer, Judy continues her efforts to raise money for research to save children’s lives.
“We have to speak for our kids,” Judy said. When she thinks of the pain that cancer causes, Judy said she doesn’t cry, she gets mad and works.
“People ask me how I do what I do,” Judy said. “I tell them, you can do what I do, just put a foot forward and do something.”
And this 71-year-old “Grandma-cologist has no plans to slow down any of her efforts for CURE. She said she will work for CURE “…for the rest of my life…forever.”