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Val Romack is with our Midwest Region branch. She has been a member as long as we can remember! She is always stepping up to help whenever she can, she’s funny, and she has a serious heart of gold. But, there is much more as to why the Board decided to name Val Romack as our VIP member!

BIO:  I’m a 27-year-old (I know, I look younger) originally from Decatur, IL. I moved to the Chicago area in 2011 for an editorial internship to finish my bachelor’s degree. I’m now an editor in medical publishing and a pun enthusiast. My perfect Sunday involves watching Netflix and eating sushi.

Q & A

How did you hear about CwC and do you recall what your first event was?

I’m not sure how I heard about CwC. It might have been directly from Scott Whipple at a con or something. I think my first official event was Kids in Capes in Indiana. I got to play games with kids and I met some awesome people. It got me hooked!

When you were little,  what was it you wanted to be or do when you grew up?
I wanted to be a car salesperson. I was a super weird child (still am). But I loved cars and could recognize the make and model of every one I saw, even from a distance. I never saw any women selling them so I wanted to be the “first.” Then I realized I wasn’t that much of a people person and I’m not very convincing when I argue, so that idea went out the window.
If you could cosplay ANY character, who or what would it be and why?
I’ve really wanted to be a gender-bend Megamind for a while now because I think his character has a truly powerful message. He’s such a misguided person who is only bad because society conditioned him to be that way. It really reflects our current social climate. Plus, the “Black Mamba” outfit is incredible! I could really have fun with that character.
You’re stranded on a deserted island,  you can only take one superhero with you,  but you can’t leave the island,  who would take with you?
If it’s a peaceful, tropical island, I would say Captain America. He’s a guy I could spend forever on an island with and never get bored. He’s funny and sweet, and we could start a family together (cheesy). But I think any superhero would get restless on an island with no one to rescue. Unless it’s the Jurassic Park island, in which case, I would bring Martian Manhunter. We could fight dinosaurs with all his powers. It would be fun!
What was your favorite CwC event?
I think my favorite event was the cancer walk in Norridge a few years ago. We got to walk around the track with cancer survivors and pay our respects to those who were lost in their fight against the disease. Ron Ladao actually took a powerful photograph of us lined up when the lanterns were being lit in honor of survivors and fighters alike. It was a serious and beautiful moment that we shared, and I believe we truly represented the spirit of CwC.
Are there any causes or charities that you hold close to your heart or have special meaning to you? Would you like to share with us why?
There aren’t any that affect me personally. My heart really goes out to all those inflicted with disorders, diseases, and conditions. But I would say that I’m really supportive of causes that seek to further childhood education and take care of families in need. That’s pretty broad, but that’s what I’m drawn to. I’d like to get more involved in any groups that specifically help women like the Chicago Abused Women Coalition or any teen mentoring programs. I think it’s important for us to give hope to those who feel lost or unloved and to be good examples for young ones struggling to find themselves.
Create your perfect superhero world,  who would be there,  what would you do,  and what would your position be in that world?
Oh gosh, that’s a complicated question. My ideal superhero world would be kinda like everyone is a mutant (x-man) with different powers. People would ideally use their powers to work together to make the world an incredible, beautiful place to live and advance science and technology so that we could explore all that the universe has to offer. I would be a teleporter and help people get from one place to another (like a human Uber). I’m sure there’d be some sort of economy but that’s too much for my brain to work out right now.
Do you belong to any other charity groups or volunteer for other causes? If so,  who?
Nope. CwC is my one and only. There are plenty of events to keep me busy. My company has a program that donates $10 to charity for every hour I volunteer to any cause, so I can make a double impact when I work at CwC events.
What is your favorite character to cosplay,  why?
It’s gotta be a Thermian from Galaxy Quest. I assembled a group of Thermians at C2E2 this year and we wandered around clapping and yelling at people completely in character. It was a blast! I have never felt so goofy, and everybody loved us!
You’re given one million dollars to do whatever got want with it,  no strings or stipulations, what would you do with it?
First, I would donate at least a quarter of it to various charities and put another quarter in savings for my future descendents. I would then use the rest to pay off the student debt of my closest friends. I would then pay for some of my friends and I to go on a beautiful vacation somewhere. I also would get some awesome costumes commissioned. And I’d buy a nice house if I had any money leftover after all of that.
As a strong female, what advice would you give to children or little girls out there who may be dealing with difficult times right now,  whether it be they are being bullied, if they have low self esteem/poor body image, or just need to hear some good advice?
This question really resonates with me. Thank you for asking this! I think we’ve all struggled with low self-esteem at various times in our lives so the first thing to remember is that you’re not alone. My first piece of advice would be to wake up every morning and think about what makes you unique and just love that part of you, whether it be a physical or personality trait. Many young girls just need to feel wanted and loved, so the key really is to love yourself. Once you embrace who you are and consider your life a gift that you can share with others, it draws people to you. No matter how unpopular or lonely you feel, the right people will come into your life and love you if you start by loving yourself.
I would also tell kids that feelings are not weaknesses. It is too often that girls and boys alike are led to believe that feeling/showing emotions make them weak and vulnerable. This is absolutely untrue. Being able to express how you feel is the ultimate superpower. Showing sadness, compassion, empathy, pain, joy, anger, anxiety, and all of the rest is true strength. Don’t let anyone put you down for showing your incredible humanity.
Thank you so much Val for being the beautiful person you are! For having an extraordinarily big heart, the willingness to serve, and for helping make CwC the best costuming charity group there is!