By the end of 2010, it is estimated that nearly 48,000 more New Jersey residents will be diagnosed with cancer during the year. In Union County alone, fifty-three people are diagnosed each week, totaling 2756 individuals annually, right here in our own community.
These staggering figures were seen as a call to action by a group of friends who call themselves "Kiss Away Cancer". Robin Brown, a seven year cancer survivor and "Team Captain" decided to turn these shocking statistics into something positive. She and those close to her joined forces to volunteer as a team for the American Cancer Society's Relay For Life in Union County.
Over the past six years, Kiss Away Cancer has risen to the level of "Flagship Team" by collectively raising close to $100,000 for the American Cancer Society, a portion of which goes directly to patient services within Union County. The remainder of the funds go to cancer prevention, disease control, medical research, and advocacy efforts to insure that everyone has equal access to health care.
Not only does the team fight the disease through fundraising efforts, they educate the public regarding programs and services available through the American Cancer Society, thereby making a significant difference in the fight against cancer within their own community.
In the weeks prior to Relay For Life, Kiss Away Cancer will be hosting a number of "mini-fundraisers" to benefit ACS, including their annual Tricky Tray and Auction.
On Friday, April 30, ACS staff and volunteers will "Paint The Mall Purple" at Jersey Gardens Mall on Kapkowski Road, Elizabeth. Jersey Gardens will donate $1.00 to ACS for each person who is wearing purple that day. One-hundred Relay gift bags will be distributed to donors who visit the ACS-Relay For Life information table.
Friday, May 7 the annual "Team Kiss Away Cancer - Tricky Tray and Auction" co-sponsored by Clark UNICO will take place at Rahway American Legion Post #5, 581 Maple Avenue. Doors open at 5:00 pm, admission is free and there will be a cash bar. Drawing for prizes and auction begins at 9:00 pm, but winners do not need to be present at the time of the drawing.
This festive gathering will feature more than one-hundred different items including a big screen tv, digital camera, GPS system, tickets and sports memorabilia. Individual gift baskets will be raffled off containing everything from designer items, gourmet food baskets, collectables, toys, and even baskets appealing to motorcycle enthusiasts.
On Saturday, May 15 from 12 - 6 pm, all are invited to visit the Kiss Away Cancer / ACS Table at Rahway Hot Rods & Harleys Street Festival. Team members will be there to promote Relay For Life of Clark and to explain the upcoming event to potential new participants. Information on American Cancer Society resources and programs will be available. The table will be located in front of The Waiting Room, 66E Cherry Street, Downtown Rahway. There will be fun items such as purple Relay bracelets available for those who make a donation that day.
On Thursday, May 20, the team has organized a bus trip to see the Broadway show, "Rock of Ages". This interactive musical comedy currently starring American Idol finalist Constantine Maroulis features rock music from the 1980's. Rock of Ages was nominated for Five Tony Awards, including best musical. Cost per ticket is $125, which includes orchestra seating, transportation, and food. Show time is at 8:00 pm. The bus will depart from Township of Clark, exact location to be determined.
The third annual Relay For Life of Clark, NJ is happening on Friday, June 11 at Arthur L Johnson High School, 365 Westfield Avenue beginning 6:00 pm, and continuing throughout the night until 6:00 am the following morning.
Relay For Life is a celebration of hope and survivorship. More than eighty teams will take turns walking or running a track overnight not only to collect funds, but to increase awareness by showing the community that by working together, we can make a huge difference in the fight against cancer. The event opens with the Survivor Celebration Lap, as survivors of all types of cancer are honored by the community, family and friends. At nightfall, hundreds of luminaria candles are lit, with each one symbolizing a loved one who won the fight against cancer, or honoring those lost to cancer.
Like all ACS volunteers, Kiss Away Cancer hopes to unite the community in support of this very worthy cause. Relay For Life supports the American Cancer Society's mission to save lives by helping people stay well, by helping people get well, by finding cures and by fighting back.
To learn more about Kiss Away Cancer events and Relay For Life of Clark, contact Stephen Frost at 908-986-4048, email: firstname.lastname@example.org. To make a donation to the American Cancer Society in support of Team Kiss Away Cancer, visit the web at www.relayforlife.org/clarknj, then click the "Kiss Away Cancer" link under "Top Teams".