WEST ORANGE, NJ - The Essex County South Mountain Recreation Complex was the site for this year’s 7th Annual Susan G. Komen North Jersey Race for the Cure.  The excitement was contagious as thousands of runners, walkers, visitors, volunteers and staff came out for a full day of activities.  The Official USTAF 5K Run, 5K Walk, 1.5 mile Fun Walk and a Kids for the Cure 50-Yard Dash were some of the events that supported the cause.

This year, there was a new challenge, “Endure for the Cure,” a 3.5 mile obstacle course by City Obstacle Challenge that included cross-overs, figure 8’s, kettle bells, and a cargo net climb.

There was also a stage for entertainment, an Expo and Wellness areas, food tents and trucks and a kids area that featured an inflatable obstacle course, games and performers from Medieval Times.

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Komen North Jersey’s Executive Director, Jennifer Griola said, “We want our Race Day to be something that the whole family can enjoy.  A bigger better experience that offers some new and different activities that will get people excited about coming out to support the fight against breast cancer.”

Kathi Edelson Wolder is the Public Relations Representative for the North Jersey affiliate.  She said, “We are delighted to have the generous support of our many sponsors."  She also pointed out that the cooperation of local government is essential to the success of the event.  “We are so grateful for all they do for us in Essex County.

On hand at the start of the race was Sheriff Armando Fontoura and Essex County Executive, Joe DiVincenzo.  DiVincenzo welcomed the crowd and Fontoura commented that it was a “great, great cause.”

Over 300 volunteers make the Race for the Cure possible including groups from Shop Rite and other sponsoring companies.  There were also individuals like Tyeasha Carey of Cranford who was volunteering for the first year and Mary Ann Mobley of Parsippany who has volunteered for four years.  Both agreed that it is a “great event” and were proud to contribute their time. Mobley commented that she looks forward to it each year and is glad to see so many familiar faces return.

North Jersey Affiliate Board President Karen Meleta is also the Vice President of Consumer and Corporate Communications for Shop-Rite, Wakefern Foods.  Shop-Rite sponsored the “Survivors Tent” serving hot breakfast all morning and the company has been steadfast in their support of the affiliate for the past 15 years.  Meleta told The Alternative Press, “Shop-Rite is committed to fighting breast cancer until we see the cure happen.”  She pointed out that each Shop-Rite is family-owned and operated making it an integral part of the community.  She also said, “It is a heartfelt issue as we recognize the needs of associates and family members who have struggled with breast cancer.”

The affiliate’s Development Director, Mary Ruotolo, was very enthusiastic.  She said, “More than anything, it is a community event that brings people together to educate them about breast cancer risk and detection.  We are also here to honor survivors and remember those who lost their battle."

Every year, there is a Survivor Procession and Ceremony at 9:30 am.

Dawn Olivares of West Orange is a one year survivor. Her team, “Dawn’s Pink Fighters”  participated in the walk and included 10 supporters.

Janet Bronococco of New Providence is an eleven year survivor.  Her sorority, Zeta Tau Alpha, is a national sponsor of Race for the Cure. Bronococco said she was “very proud and happy” to be at Race for the Cure.

Susan G. Komen North Jersey raises funds that support life-saving breast cancer screening, breast health/breast cancer education, treatment support and survivorship programs to underserved women and men in the Affiliate’s nine county service region that includes Bergen, Essex, Huston, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex. Union and Warren Counties.  Since its founding in 1997, Komen North Jersey has awarded over $16 million in local community grants and has directed more than $7 million to the national research programs aimed at finding new and better treatment options and, ultimately, the causes and cures to eradicate breast cancer.

To learn more about Race for the Cure visit www.komennorthjersey.org/komen-race-for-the-cure/race-information.    To support Susan G. Komen North Jersey, visit their website at www.KomenNorthJersey.org  or call (908) 277-2904.