WEST ORANGE, NJ - On Saturday, September 13, the First Annual “Caroline Fund 5k” will be held in Caldwell beginning with a 7:30 am registration at St. Aloysius Church parking lot, 219 Bloomfield Avenue. The event will honor the life of Caroline Vandemark, who passed away from inoperable brain cancer on June 26, 2013, with proceeds to be donated to The Caroline Vandemark Fund for Brain and Spine Tumor Research at the John Theurer Cancer Center in Hackensack.

Caroline was a compassionate young with woman with a positive spirit and love for life.  Her warm presence and heartfelt smile brightened the mood of every room she entered.  Caroline grew up in West Orange and moved to Caldwell a decade ago, and in 2009 she graduated from James Caldwell High School. Her pursuit of academic achievement took her to East Stroudsburg University where she studied psychology.

In June of 2012 Caroline was diagnosed with Glioblastoma, the most malignant of all brain tumors, offering little to no effective treatment options. Caroline endured countless rounds of radiation, chemo-therapy, and multiple surgeries. A year-long battle with brain cancer still was not enough to stand in the way of Caroline's goal to receive her Bachelor's Degree, and in May 2013, she received her Psychology degree from East Stroudsburg University.

On June 26, Caroline passed away surrounded by family, friends, and her world-class medical staff at Hackensack University Medical Center, leaving the world a better place. Last July, family and friends of the Vandemark family held “The Sweet Caroline Benefit” at the Shillelagh Club in West Orange. Its goal was to help the Vandemark family with Caroline’s medical bills. 

This year's First Annual Caroline Fund 5K Run/Walk will raise funds to help others battling cancerous tumors found in the brain and spine. All proceeds will go directly to The Caroline Vandemark Fund for Brain and Spine Tumor Research at the John Theurer Cancer Center. The fund was established by Dr. Sam Goldlust and Dr. George Kaptain this past September, the two doctors who were by Caroline’s side during her courageous bout with Glioblastoma. 

The registration fee is $25 and the 5K begins at 9:00 am. For those unable to participate in or attend the race, there are several ways to donate and get involved. Corporate sponsorships are being sought. Go to www.carolinefund5k.com to find out more or to donate online. Corporate and personal checks can made payable to the “Caroline Fund 5K” and mail them to 96 Central Ave., Caldwell, NJ 07006. Email carolinefund5k@gmail.com with questions. 

Caroline Vandemark made a difference in the lives of others during her too-short twenty-two years of life. It is hoped that the First Annual Caroline Vandemark 5K will make a difference in the lives of many more. The mission statement of the Caroline Vandemark Foundation notes, "We will not go quietly; we will not back down.” Caroline didn’t, and neither should we. 

(Editor's Note: Former West Orange High School TAP Team Member Chris Hanley is getting ready to head off to Rutgers. Chris and his family are good friends of the Vandemarks and he will be participating in Caroline's 5K Race.)