Health & Wellness

Relay For Life Walks For Hope And The Cure

June 8, 2014 at 1:38 PM

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - It was a night of celebration and remembrance, with hopes that the future would hold more of the former than the latter. The thirteenth annual Relay for Life was held at Governor Livingston High School on Saturday night into Sunday morning, as a joint effort from Berkeley Heights, Mountainside, New Providence, and Summit.

The Relay for Life of Berkeley Heights has the most participation of the Eastern Division, consisting of New Jersey and New York, and this was clearly on display Saturday night. 908 participants on 106 teams contributed to the $260,324 of funds raised to date [not including tally from the evening's contributions and continuing donations] for the American Cancer Society. Over the past three years, the Relay for Life of Berkeley Heights has raised over $1.2 million in donations.

This year’s event also marked a tremendous milestone for one of the stalwarts of the Relay for Life of Berkeley Heights, Cathy Pitingolo. This was her tenth year of Relay and serving as captain of the Krabby Patties, which has raised more than $100,000 over the past decade.

Sign Up for E-News

First diagnosed in 2004 with breast cancer, Pitingolo became involved with Relay for Life only when the babysitter of her children invited her to come to a meeting as a survivor. Even still, her involvement with Relay for Life did not start out because of her own diagnosis.

“When I got to the meeting, and heard what Relay was all about, I actually did it because I lost both of my parents to cancer. It was because of them that I got involved, not myself.”

Her involvement has become integral in sustaining the growth of Relay for Life in Berkeley Heights. During the opening ceremony and the recognition of Pitingolo, co-chair of the event Linda Weber asked all of those associated with Pitingolo to come down from the audience. Dozens of people flooded to the front, of all ages, all with the common link to the involvement of Relay for Life through Pitingolo. On just her team alone, Pitingolo estimated that there have been over forty participants throughout the years as members of the Krabby Patties.

Relay for Life has also become one of the main events for the community to come together, with many local businesses from the four participating towns lending their services. Weber attributes much of this to the ability of the participants themselves to incorporate this tremendous community involvement: “The teams go out and reach out to the community to bring them in.”

Along with the terrific assistance from the participants, the planning of this event is a tremendous undertaking. It is the fourth year of leading the planning committee for Weber, a nearly yearlong process for the over forty members of the committee. What they do not lack, however, is motivation.

“My mother-in-law was a skin cancer survivor,” Weber explained. “But then a couple of years after we became involved my father became a prostate cancer survivor, then my father-in-law became a prostate cancer survivor, and then my mother became a uterine cancer. All four of my children’s grandparents are cancer survivors, and every year it seems like I lose a friend to cancer.” 

For this reason, Pitingolo and many others join together in hopes of one day finding a cure for cancer.

Shannon Vick relays as a young mother and a survivor.  Vick was 27 weeks pregnant with her fourth child, finding a lump. "My doctor said we have a plan for you and the outlook is good -- there was no other acceptable options than 'good'", said Vick. "I have four children under the age of five and one I hadn't even met yet. There was no way that I was going to let them grow up without a mother. I was ready to do whatever I had to do to get healthy." 

"Unfortunately, my story is becoming far too common. Breast cancer can happen to anyone -- young, old, family history or not," said Vick. "It is so important to be proactive and not to take the stand -- it won't be me. Do your self exams. Don't be afraid of what you will find. Be afraid of what you won't find, if you don't look."

"I walk tonight for the hope that my children will never hear the words, 'you have cancer', and I walk with the hope that we will find a cure," said Vick. 

“Continuing to fight year after year is important; doing it for a real reason and a real purpose is what it’s all about” Pitingolo said. “There is really something behind it, and a reason to continue.”

It is not too late to contribute to Relay for Life of Berkeley Heights, donations will be accepted through the summer by visiting the event website

Video and Photo Credits: Bobbie Peer

TAP Into Another Town's News:

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

Berkeley Heights

Nicholas J. Dimakos to Speak on Handling Contested Guardianships

January 17, 2017

Nicholas J. Dimakos, an Associate of Norris McLaughlin & Marcus, P.A., will speak on the role of the court-appointed attorney at “Handling Contested Guardianships.”  Sponsored by the New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education (NJICLE) in cooperation with the New Jersey State Bar Association (NJSBA) Real Property, Trust & Estate Law Section and the NJSBA Senior ...

Paralympic wheelchair Fencing Is Topic At Berkeley Heights Rotary Club Meeting

Grown from a small gathering of British World War II veterans in 1948, the Paralympic Games is a major international multi-sport event involving athletes with a range of disabilities, including impaired muscle power, range of movement, limb deficiency, and even vision impairment. One of the most exciting Paralympic sport is Wheelchair Fencing.

At the Rotary's next lunch-time meeting, ...

Bottle & Bottega Celebrates Month of Giving Success

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ –Bottle & Bottega is celebrating its success in motivating local residents and their guests to help make this holiday season a little brighter for the less fortunate.

Throughout November, the paint-and-sip studio held its Month of Giving event, an annual food drive to benefit The Good Shepherd Mission, a nonprofit a rehabilitation center and housing ...

Union County Freeholder Angel Estrada Honored for Service on Transportation Planning Board

Freeholder and Elizabeth resident Angel Estrada was recognized for his ongoing service on the Board of Trustees of the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA) at the agency’s annual meeting in Newark, Jan. 9.

Estrada has been instrumental in several infrastructure projects throughout the county, including ones in his hometown. With Freeholder Estrada’s support, the ...

Thank You Westfield!

January 14, 2017

Almost five years ago Imagine, A Center for Coping with Loss, opened its doors in Westfield, thanks to the vision and generosity of Dr. Gerald Glasser and the leadership of Keith Hertell, our first board chair, and all the other founding board members.  We opened our doors on the  third floor of the First United Methodist Church and started our program.

Since then we have served over ...

Union County Clerk Recognized for Tech Achievement

January 14, 2017

UNION COUNTY, NJ -- Union County Clerk Joanne Rajoppi was nationally recognized for her leadership in the use of electronic recording technology.

Rajoppi was presented with the national 2016 eRecording All-Star Trailblazer Award, a competitive recognition sponsored by the global business solutions company Corporation Service Company. The Trailblazer award recognizes a recording office that has ...

Ciattarelli Announces Successful Throat Cancer Surgery, Scales Back Gubernatorial Campaign Temporarily

January 15, 2017

TRENTON, NJ - State Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli, R-16th, a candidate for the Republican nomination for governor, announced yesterday that he had undergone successful surgery for throat cancer in November, and will be curtailing his campaign schedule temporarily.

Gearing up for a primary campaign against several other Republicans who want to run for New Jersey, Ciattarelli, a Hillsborough ...

It’s Go Time.

This one goes out to all the juniors out there. 

I can feel you squirming in your seats, “Who me?” Yes, you!  The time has come to turn that college dial up a notch.  “But I still have so much time left!”  But you really don’t.  Ideally in a year from now you’ll be sifting through acceptance letters and weighing college options ...

Mayor's Round Table on the Road with the Rotary Club of Berkeley Heights: Volunteerism Makes a Difference in the Community

GILLETTE, NJ - Mayor's Round Table is a monthly show hosted by Dr. Donald DeFabio, who sits with Mayor Robert Woodruff to talk about current issues that affect the township as well as answer questions submitted by citizens. This month, the Mayor's Round Table went on location and were guests of the Rotary Club of Berkeley Heights on Dec. 16 at Chimney Rock Inn in ...

Ciattarelli Announces Successful Throat Cancer Surgery, Scales Back Gubernatorial Campaign Temporarily

January 15, 2017

TRENTON, NJ - State Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli, R-16th, a candidate for the Republican nomination for governor, announced yesterday that he had undergone successful surgery for throat cancer in November, and will be curtailing his campaign schedule temporarily.

Gearing up for a primary campaign against several other Republicans who want to run for New Jersey, Ciattarelli, a Hillsborough ...

Union County Democrats Endorse Joe Cryan for State Senate

CLARK, NJ  – Union County Democratic Chairman Jerry Green, Elizabeth Mayor J. Christian Bollwage, 20th Legislative District Assembly members Annette Quijano and Jamel Holley, and the Democratic Municipal Chairmen from the  district today issued their support of Union County Sheriff Joseph Cryan for State Senate.  Their support follows press reports that long-time State ...

Back Pain & Sciatica: Fix it Forever

Back pain is the second reason after the common cold for visits to the doctor: 80 % of the American public has back pain of sufficient intensity to seek care and treatment. Sciatica, pain shooting down the leg, is often related to back pain and is successfully treated with non-surgical and natural treatment.

Before any treatment can begin for your back and leg pain an accurate diagnosis and ...

Upcoming Events


Tue, January 17, 7:30 AM

Apa Hotel Woodbridge, Iselin

ACG Breakfast Meeting January 17, 2017

Business & Finance Food & Drink


Tue, January 17, 12:30 PM

Summit YMCA, Summit

Advanced Beginner Weekly Bridge Lessons

Arts & Entertainment


Tue, January 17, 3:00 PM

Summit YMCA, Summit

Afterschool Sports For Middle Schoolers



Tue, January 17, 4:00 PM

Summit YMCA, Summit

Teen Yoga

Health & Wellness


Tue, January 17, 4:30 PM

Berkeley Heights YMCA, Berkeley Heights

Intergenerational Mentoring Program

Education Giving Back


Wed, January 18, 11:00 AM

Summit Public Library , Summit

Citizenship Study Group Practice for the Test

Education Government