FIGHT -- For Kids Battling Now, For Kids Who Survived, For Kids Who Will Battle, and Kids Taken Too Soon
BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Sunday marked the fifth annual Bikers for Brooke fundraising event, hosted by the Brooke Healey Foundation, in Berkeley Heights, for the purpose of bringing awareness to Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG). DIPG are rare and aggressive brain tumors, which usually affect children ages five to 9, with a very low survival rate, according to the St. Jude website.
Bikers for Brooke has grown each year with around 200 bikers participating in Sunday's ride. The group rode a 46 miles loop that started and finished at Mount Carmel where they held a barbecue with live music and games.
The Brooke Healey Foundation was founded after Brooke Healey, daughter of Steve and Stefani Healey. Brooke was diagnosed with DIPG and passed away on September 9, 2013. The Brooke Healey Foundation’s goal is to continue raise awareness and money for research.
Steve Healey said, during a speech at this year’s Bikers for Brooke fundraising event, that the money raised “is specific to DIPG, but our researchers and doctors are confident if we could find a cure for DIPG, we’re going to cure all cancers together.”
Stefani Healey spoke at the event as well, recounting the painful moments that led to Brooke’s DIPG diagnoses. This year’s Bikers for Brooke featured special guests, who traveled from Kentucky to speak about their own tragic loss, caused by DIPG, Brandi and Thomas. Brandi took the stage to talk about her daughter Ray Lee and her family’s painful journey. She opened up with a line from a poem written by Ray Lee’s aunt titled Ray Lee’s love “Ray lee is sunshine on rainy ugly day, her smile is infectious and so real in only her own way.”
Brandi spoke about how just seven month prior she had lost her daughter, Ray Lee, to DIPG and how October 6, 2016 was the first time she had heard of DIPG.
After Brandi concluded her speech, the family fun portion of the event began with food, live music, and games for families of all ages.
On August 21, the Brooke Healey Foundation will host their fourth annual Golf outing, at the Royce Brook Golf Club, in Hillsborough, NJ.
Learn more about the Brooke Healey Foundation by visiting their website www.brookehealey.com.