Health & Wellness

Relay for Life of Berkeley Heights Continues the Fight for a World Without Cancer

708fcc439f59a3f97669_69E10357-EB34-4C06-924F-619EE195C102.jpeg
cf2c8efd65f021f05994_0B98AA03-16B2-4480-806C-F9D39B6E7624.jpeg
5331e21c8944d33a34ca_E992B943-78E0-4506-AB6F-62A2739A2AEE.jpeg
1145452e662fcec97538_D0D1C26D-11DF-4532-B2C3-9C2615F92D52.jpeg
8997571a86a2b03e783a_A0707599-2B1A-4050-86FB-D7A7BA477792.jpeg
2a234a0b501487840147_C712F54F-FF24-451D-AAFA-EA60CC221FB0.jpeg
7b4e5507cab3f662f8ea_1FFFA9C1-3030-4CFD-8444-8A0CB64E578D.jpeg
3509a1c23914d3a13c9b_2DEAAC65-5520-41E7-A900-2C0494D3998B.jpeg
db1fe8ab79f3ee54b3f9_EE534310-8C4A-4C1D-B189-F3C15405A3A4.jpeg
339dc6e076dc71530180_81E4A1FA-6F45-419D-8321-5A12DC98913C.jpeg
2b93e5b617066a01402b_BDE4C52C-FDCC-4A7B-8357-BCE28C75B984.jpeg
5dd73c4dc46e25b1d370_F975B055-B641-47ED-A822-168D8BAEDF98.jpeg
9f9f5030ef5ad68dd207_05DAB36E-DF64-4520-B3E1-8A97CEDAE1E8.jpeg
0fed5d9125027b2c8802_16EC6BD5-3BD5-481B-A319-5B72A17F82B4.jpeg
dee6e31e2c18b63c5836_BDF77D43-FF2E-4237-B834-257901841EAC.jpeg
489e1d56f3c6ad8cb0c1_23ED8404-B902-427A-8B42-41F7358187B7.jpeg
621fcbd6064281ac70d6_2C771E3A-91CD-4DE6-96C3-8AAD1E16E7D2.jpeg
7014e8cb86e5a252fd4d_2CA14BD1-0D9B-4C58-B8EA-7328812563D0.jpeg
6e10b3bfeef194d27d6b_9307A7E6-CE95-4F29-A222-5A1F001408CD.jpeg
3ddb14d094aefcabd3e8_4E57AC57-9CF5-4C9A-9B6E-DFE8693DA90F.jpeg
df8150c1342b6684ac95_4B5D131A-471D-48C5-933E-3245BE0F8E26.jpeg
acdf409877e9d664277f_5ADE93CC-2BF7-4C10-887F-80314935A902.jpeg
c36cad83c29f7bcae078_E5A41BDB-4FD1-49BF-B554-573DF19DE0BD.jpeg
843bfabf5ba1e915dafc_4D8B17B2-E0B5-4AD4-9248-2F8DC432CFE8.jpeg
1c2a3648176abd8b86ce_20264549-6899-4A90-B3B1-3921F1930557.jpeg
0f2eaef7aed4edf7ebd2_A86BF989-815A-4C1F-BCD8-4C3F78A24785.jpeg
36e35759eac1c0fe7088_0DE8DA46-9156-47F1-913B-8D971A0E07FB.jpeg
e9014e8ad90f8412b399_5256DCCD-6F37-4F6F-BF61-A6385F6A41A0.jpeg
d3a49132e440988a8411_9F214ABA-F315-4704-B1BF-CADBD4E6F7AA.jpeg
b55d1b64c63900bd89a5_IMG_9085.JPG
The Relay for Life started with a Survivors Dinner in Gov. Livingston's cafeteria.
6bdd68d5a742f16611e7_IMG_9085.JPG
Cancer survivors attended a reception prior to the opening ceremony. Food and decorations were provided by local establishments.
98f1f59573ae0500192e_IMG_9087.JPG
d922f62d259b4360d7be_IMG_9087.JPG
d6b471585ab5a3e841bb_IMG_9086__1_.JPG
d4c60ff246d2876b824c_IMG_9086__1_.JPG
708fcc439f59a3f97669_69E10357-EB34-4C06-924F-619EE195C102.jpeg

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Although the forecast moved this year's Relay for Life inside for the second consecutive year, the message was heard loud and clear throughout the night through the halls and gymnasiums at Gov. Livingston High School. Relay for Life of Berkeley Heights joins communities around the country and world to finish the fight to create a world without cancer. 

Relay for Life is a life changing journey to celebrate survivors who have battled cancer, remember the people we have lost and renew the commitment to fight back against the disease and help to end it once and for all.

The Relay for Life event takes months in planning and through the leadership team led by co-chairs Patti Broccoli and Margaret Illis, committee leaders and volunteers -- the night was a huge success raising over $130,000. Everyone has a story -- survivors, caregivers and stories of loss were shared.  

Sign Up for E-News

Out of the 53 teams registered, top teams include: Harwood Gang $15,390; Pearly Girls $14,145; NP Peer Leaders Green Team $8,165; NP Peer Leaders Blue Team $7,881; Just Cure It $6,008; NP Peer Leaders Orange Team $5,690; The Warriors $5,427 and Team Spencer $4,892, NA Minutemen $4,636 and Just Cure It $4,336. The fundraising efforts continued throughout the evening with concessions, games, bake sales, 50/50 raffle and a basket raffle.

"When we raise money for Relay for Life, we help the American Cancer Society touch the lives of so many," said Sue Kelly, an event volunteer leader. "We are here to celebrate all of those who have battled cancer."

During the opening ceremony, Boy Scouts from Troops 368 and 68 presented the colors and led the Pledge of Allegiance and Brianna Cagan sang the national anthem. 

Congressman Leonard Lance, Mayor Bob Woodruff, Mayor Al Morgan, Mayor Paul Mirabelli and Mayor Nora Radest were in attendance and encouraged the young participants to keep up the good work. Congressman Lance was recognized for being one of two law makers who received the Congressional Champion Award by One Voice Against Cancer.

"I am pleased to participate tonight, I want to commend all of those that have made this night possible," said Lance, who recognized how this was a somber occasion for some in the gymnasium. "We lost our mother to cancer when we were 12," he said. "We are making progress every day. Survival rates is on the rise." He said that funding is one of the major goals in congress. "I want you to know that we support you in Washington -- this is non-partisan. Together we will win the fight against cancer based upon the courage of those I see in front of me. The American people are united together in this fight -- and I am confident that we will fight through to victory."

Event Co-chair Patti Broccoli told the room the story behind why she formed a relay team 14 years ago and how everyone on her team has  been touched by cancer. The Harwood Gang team formed when their friend Cathy Murray was diagnosed with breast cancer. "Cancer was all too familiar to us, but Cathy's diagnosis was different -- this was our friend," said Broccoli. "Forming a team for Relay for Life somehow seemed appropriate. Not only were we helping our friend -- show her our support and dedication -- we were helping everyone struck by the disease." 

Fast forward 14 years, Broccoli said that she and her teammate Nancy have fought their own battle with cancer. "We work together to continue the fight. New family members have been diagnosed, some have thrived and some have passed. More and more friends hear the dreaded words 'you have cancer' everyday. And through it all, Cathy continues to battle. She continues to exhibit strength and determination. She lives her best life everyday," said Broccoli. The Harwood Gang is known for their annual town-wide Bingo fundraiser and has collectively raised over $70,000 since their formation. "I am really proud to be the captain of this team." 

She thanked every team captain, participant and her committee leaders and attendees. "Thank you for being part of Relay for Life and thank you for helping us to make a difference."

Cathy Murray said that she does not do this on her own. "Every person on my team has lifted me up," said Mur. She said that since her diagnosis 14 years ago there are new drugs that don't make her sick when she gets her treatments. "There are new cancer drugs out there that help in the fight and that's all through research. And helping through the funding and money that you guys help to raise. Thank you for everyone here." She read a meaningful poem that carries the message, 'I have cancer, but cancer does not have me."

The crowd enjoyed performances by Doreen Peritore, Hickory Tree Chorus and Olivia Hadad got the room engaged in her singing of Journey's "Don't Stop Believing."

Committee leader Doreen Peritore reminded the room of the reason why they relay. "Let us not forget why we are here -- our survivors, and caregivers as well as those who are no longer here with us are the reasons we continue to come together through the Relay for Life movement. Each and everyone of you are here because you feel compelled to make a difference and together we can."

She introduced Jan Jacovini who shared her caregiver story.

Jacovini said, "Cancer was never in our plans. both my sister and my son [Spencer, who was diagnosed in 2011 at age 8] had few symptoms or warnings. They both had long arduous battles," she said. "They both had multiple surgeries requiring long hospital stays, treatments and set backs. Their lives and our lives were changed forever. They are braver than brave and they inspire me and I'm sure many others daily." 

She described the role of a caregiver as someone to drive to doctors appointments, waiting long hours in the hospital, car pooling, cooking meals, babysitting, learning to give injections, feeding tubes, researching medical terms and procedures and she said that doesn't begin to cover it.

"Caregiving involves kindness, patience and love," said Jacovini. "My family is like so many families here today -- it has been touched personally by cancer. Not just once but multiple times."

"Tonight many of you are here as caregivers, or perhaps may someday become one. No one signs up to be a caregiver, we just do what it takes to support our loved ones through their and our journey. I know many of us hope for a cure so we can stop doing these walks. But until that day, we continue to draw strength from one another and vow to never give up. To those battling, to those who have concurred, to those we have lost -- we owe it to them to do this."

The first lap around the "indoor track" was led by the survivors, then caregivers joined in and then the participants. They walked continuous laps throughout the evening. 

At 9 p.m. the lights dimmed and the Luminaria Ceremony began. The sound of the bagpipes was heard from a distance playing Amazing Grace. Featured speaker Julie Spoerl and her daughter Paige spoke of their husband/father and his long 10 year battle with brain cancer.   

Julie Spoerl said she was honored to be with a great group of young adults who created a relay team in honor of her husband Scott. He was diagnosed in 2006 and passed away in 2016. "I can tell you that I lost him slowly, piece by piece. --- Scott was one of the good guys," she said. -- Julie told their story of falling in love in college, dating for six years and getting engaged at the Rockefeller Tree, having their two children to vacationing in Nantucket. "I had no doubt I wanted him to be mine forever. I am here 44 years old and a widow."  -- "I miss him with every ounce of my soul. But Scott wouldn't want me to give up. He would want us to keep fighting. We stand here with you today -- we come together to collectively have this train continue the fight and find a cure for all cancers and to know we are not alone."

The crowd took to the "track" for their silent lap around the track before they rallied during the Fight Back ceremony demonstrating hope in research advancements for a cure for all types of cancer.  

For more information about Relay for Life, visit relayforlife.org/berkeleyheights.

Photo/Video credits Bobbie Peer - TAPinto Berkeley Heights.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

Berkeley Heights

Sleep out at Covenant House

June 18, 2018

I can enjoy the same movies over and over like it were the first time to see them.  My kids roll their eyes at this.  Well, many unimaginable things happen as you become a certain age, and you tend to learn to accept those things graciously as gift.   But I remember the movie “The Blind Side.”  Until I saw that movie, I didn’t know homeless children ...

Seth Meyers Attends Summit Medical Group Foundation's (SMGF) 5th Annual Gala & Auction

June 22, 2018

Seth Meyers, host of NBC’s Late Night with Seth Meyers, was recently a special guest at Summit Medical Group Foundation's (SMGF) 5th Annual Gala & Auction where a record-breaking $1.35 million was raised. 

SMGF’s Annual Gala & Auction raises critical funds to ensure the Foundation can continue to offer access to high-quality ...

What Is HIIT and Why All The Buzz?

HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training. Many people, especially those with busy schedules, love HITT because they can get maximum benefits in a short period of time! According to Shape Magazine, “Research shows you can achieve more progress in a mere 15 minutes of interval training (done three times a week) than the girl jogging on the treadmill for an hour. And according to ...

Register Today for Summer Youth Courses Offered at Union County College

CRANFORD – This summer the Office of Continuing Education at Union County College is expanding its course offerings for youth ages 11-18. Classes are taught by NJ-certified teachers and subject matter experts that specialize in delivering high-quality youth programs. Classes begin the week of June 25 and run through August 23.

Classes offered include Introduction to Musical Theater, ...

Summit Area YMCA Pride Celebration Brings Strong Support from the Local Community

On a sunny Friday Afternoon in June, the Summit Area YMCA hosted its first Pride Event at Columbia Park in Berkeley Heights.

This first-of-its-kind event was to provide a venue for our local community to show its support of the LGBTQ community. June has been designated as the month to celebrate LGBTQ pride worldwide. According to the Library of Congress, “Celebrations include pride ...

Missing in North Plainfield: Have You Seen Angel?

June 21, 2018

NORTH PLAINFIELD, NJ - Have you seen Angel?

Angel is a seven year old black and white Husky last seen near Westervelt Ave. and Manning Ave. on June 16. Her family says she is very friendly. 

If found, call Andrea at  888-466-3242.

 

Linden Man Arrested After Explosion in Cranford

June 21, 2018

CRANFORD - On Wednesday, June 20, 2018 at 7:06 p.m. the Cranford Police Department received
information that an explosion was heard in the area of Raritan Road and Summit Terrace. Through
a joint investigation with the Union County Prosecutor's Office and Linden Police Department, the
Cranford Police Department Detective Bureau identified a suspect through surveillance video ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_946d04346cba30ae4cb8_st._huberts_3

Sat, June 23, 7:00 AM

Summit YMCA, Summit

Pet Supply Drive at the Summit YMCA to Benefit ...

Giving Back

Carousel_image_946d04346cba30ae4cb8_st._huberts_3

Sun, June 24, 7:00 AM

Summit YMCA, Summit

Pet Supply Drive at the Summit YMCA to Benefit ...

Giving Back

Carousel_image_f22718b50d966a6916f0_tbc_flier

Sun, June 24, 10:00 AM

eMedical Urgent Care, Berkeley Heights

eMedical Urgent Care to Hold Free Teddy Care ...

Arts & Entertainment Health & Wellness

Carousel_image_3e68b1f0c65d22cd79bc_d6a71058d531d31a8cff_achievers

Mon, June 25

Summit YMCA, Summit

June 2018 College Tour

Education

Carousel_image_946d04346cba30ae4cb8_st._huberts_3

Mon, June 25, 7:00 AM

Summit YMCA, Summit

Pet Supply Drive at the Summit YMCA to Benefit ...

Giving Back

Mon, June 25, 9:00 AM

Madison

Kids' Critter Camp

Education

What's Hot and What's Not

Summer is a great time to take a step back, sip a cool beverage, and take a look at what’s going on in the world of college admissions.  Departments use the summer to evaluate how their year went and plan on any changes they want to make for the fall.  Did they over-enroll? Under-enroll?  What application materials were useful to them?  Which were redundant or time ...

Cool Ways to Save Money This Summer

As the summer temperatures rise, home cooling costs rise as well. But there are ways to help save money without sweating the heat:

To increase your cooling system’s efficiency by as much as 20%, get it checked out for summer.  A technician will clean the condenser, make sure you have the optimal amount of refrigerant, and ensure the airflow over the coil is ...