Giving Back

Weather Didn't Dampen Relay for Life's Success in Berkeley Heights

7fd5b5a797fe97f83b7d_IMG_4041.JPG
ef7fb417f0c77b096708_IMG_4044.JPG
679db0225dabfeab911e_IMG_4045.JPG
6ca268b76d9a3e1cf7d2_IMG_4051.JPG
dc9a1dc6288ff344ad58_IMG_4053.JPG
83d0588316d1abe251f5_IMG_4057.JPG
9ba558a1dc0e88fcb1fb_IMG_4067.JPG
8bbefb0058086475ca01_IMG_4072.JPG
f0267ef04f45c59e4eec_IMG_4078.JPG
c7c2a5480d6c2789ac43_IMG_4083.JPG
d57820c0892e5a3f7ac0_IMG_4084.JPG
1fbeb1b9a935b95e701f_IMG_4087.JPG
7aff8edebd0b1ac08135_IMG_4093.JPG
1bcee8a286c219217d5e_IMG_4095.JPG
d0fe160cd07a47cc6a78_IMG_4101.JPG
fefcb9005c8cf22d9287_IMG_4103.JPG
c9c37d7dbc028ea66882_IMG_4124.JPG
4d6d0b70b2c8d8d0bcae_IMG_4140.JPG
221627aaa06931ea17c4_IMG_4165.JPG
2c70f2d64849fb09cc97_IMG_4166.JPG
8b3233aa834d615686c6_IMG_4168.JPG
e48f0fef7083ef5de38c_IMG_4170.JPG
2666f7b8927fa1a6a4e7_IMG_4175.JPG
e31133d3d81771be4f29_IMG_4177.JPG
5f656e89d96cbcb65826_IMG_4178.JPG
9883d73d52866cb2292e_IMG_4180.JPG
9948b911a211d42b6668_IMG_3992.JPG
8th grade team from Oak Knoll raised a total of $4,383 selling $200 of candy at the event. In addition held bake sales and dress down days at OKS raising $982. Credits: Oak Knoll Team
fe771c42a431b4e4b823_IMG_4186.JPG
3deb308f68471d56bbfb_IMG_4194.JPG
7d3d979975ac9d798592_IMG_4196.JPG
3644e3ebfd661f23f134_IMG_4199.JPG
767aff7697cf90071188_IMG_4200.JPG
8db91c134df689ec6684_IMG_4201.JPG
1cda87bf6205c213a106_IMG_4203.JPG
2e5094ce584dfc9ae49f_IMG_4210.JPG
c76b01e7535f5cba00e6_IMG_4213.JPG
693a3badf87a5b919195_IMG_4228.JPG
f3da75df92efc42a0c58_IMG_4234.JPG
8242eef1a54ebe10305a_IMG_4247.JPG
2afcc66bead2366e0110_IMG_4258.JPG
7f9ab72d2b3c8d4a1ffb_IMG_4260.JPG
5e8355624ac0be77289f_IMG_4262.JPG
7a2616071250013442a3_IMG_4264.JPG
5ca3c429de05b3b0c497_IMG_4280.JPG
ddfa2ad40a4fe2afb4a1_IMG_4283.JPG
7fd5b5a797fe97f83b7d_IMG_4041.JPG

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Relay for Life of Berkeley Heights went off without a hitch thanks to the hard work of the volunteer committees who worked tirelessly to pull off the last minute change of venue on Saturday, May 13 -- raising in excess of $150,000 for the American Cancer Society.

With a forecast of a Nor'easter strength storm coming through the area, the committee worked fervorously to make this the best event possible within difficult circumstances. Moving the event from the Watchung Reservation in Mountainside to indoors at Gov. Livingston High School. 

Although there could have been disappointment from the year long planning of an outdoor event of this magnitude, there was never a sign of distress to the public. The event went on with adaptations and the message of Relay, Hope, and Cure shined on brightly inside.

Sign Up for E-News

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, said event co-chair Patti Broccoli. 

James Finley, who is in his sixth and final year of co-chairing the event, welcomed the crowd of about 800 participants that filled the gymnasium stands. "Thank you for your support of our fight against cancer," said Finley. He recognized the tireless effort of the event leadership team and his co-chairs Patti Broccoli and Margaret Illis. 

Broccoli also recognized the entire leadership team, especially the graduating seniors. She awarded the Eternal Flame awards to Maddie Forrester and Andrew Peritore, who went above and beyond, "They are going to do great things in the world -- and we hope they take all that we taught them to colleges throughout the country and run Relay for Life there to continue the battle, to continue the fight, to pass it on and continue to do great things."

Berkeley Heights Mayor Bob Woodruff and Mountainside Mayor Paul Mirabelli welcomed the crowd to kick off the event. Woodruff congratulated the many young kids participating for making the commitment to Relay. Next, Mirabelli rallied the crowd with his spirited Jersey welcome. He spoke of losing his mother this past year to cancer. He quoted sports announcer Jim Valvano's famous words to "Never give up, keep fighting cancer and we will find a cure." 

The Relay for Life of Berkeley Heights joins 5,200 communities around the country and world to finish the fight. "We want to create a world without cancer," said Illis.

Local performers brought an emotion to the room as they performed songs that hit the heart and soul of each relayer. Click on video below of Olivia Hadad, of Berkeley Heights, on piano and vocals.   

It has been said over and over again that cancer has no heart; it doesn’t care if it attacks a young child, a parent or a senior who is looking forward to a long and happy retirement. Local cancer survivor Keith Cagan spoke of his "cancer story" and the importance of knowing your family history, talk to relatives, and have the hard conversations.

His story started in 1978 when his father was diagnosed with Thyroid cancer which years later led his family to go through genetic marker testing. Ten family members were tested positive for the marker, said Cagan. "The main point is learn your family history, talk to relatives, have the hard conversations." 

Cagan's story doesn't end there, he was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma after having a persistent cough. 

"We have all lost close friends, family, acquaintances to this horrible disease," said Cagan -- "If you are currently fighting this disease keep fighting. If you are a caregiver, keep supporting. If you are family or a friend of someone going through it, give however you can." 

The survivors were called to the arch of purple and white balloons to take their survivor lap to kick off the start relay, followed by caregivers and then the 800 participants filed in and walked side by side inside the halls and gyms of Gov. Livingston High School. 

75 teams and 544 participants were registered from Berkeley Heights, Mountainside, New Providence, and Summit raising money by holding fundraising events such as car washes, dine-out events, bake sales, dress-down days, Bingo nights and much more. The fundraising efforts continued throughout the evening with concessions, games, bake sales, candy sales, 50/50 raffle and a basket raffle. 

As the lights dimmed and the Luminaria Ceremony began, two Gov. Livingston bagpipers marched the lap playing Amazing Grace which set the tone for the featured speaker Phyllis Seibert, the mother of beloved Gov. Livingston teacher Isadora Seibert, who gave a tearful speech of the pain of losing "Dora."  Isadora passed away from a very rare form of liver cancer, fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma, found mostly in, otherwise, healthy young adults.

"Because it is so rare, there is very limited funding for research," said Phyllis Seibert. "I do not know why my daughter had to be one of the 200 that year. I only know that this epidemic of all types of cancer is our modern day plague and must be stopped."

Phyllis described Dora as a shining light of what is good in the world, she was loved by all. "She was a role model throughout her life. Even her passing, she did with grace, courage, and love, in March of 2014, when she was just 25 years old," she said. 

"The luminaria ceremony is an example of life itself. The light of each candle, lit for someone we loved, is placed within something else. This is not a coincidence. We, too, can illuminate from inside something else, our very own bodies. You are all shining by being here tonight," said Phyllis.

Luminaria bags lit up the hallways as the crowd gathered behind the balloon arch before taking a silent lap to remember all those who have lost their battle with cancer.

The evening's last message was of "Hope." Laurie Liming, a hometown hero of hope, spoke of her long journey since being diagnosed with stage three metastatic breast cancer.

She spoke of her struggles when her body wanted to give up, "it needed a break," she said. "That break came about 10 weeks ago," said Liming. "I awoke and some of the pain had subsided. After switching medicine, my crippling arthritis had eased and my hands, knees and feet began moving on their own."

It is not easy to lose parts of our bodies to cancer, she said. --  She came to peace with losing her breasts, but became depressed when having a hysterectomy -- and letting cancer decide she was done having children. Becoming depressed, she wanted to find something to do to keep her fighting alive. She joined the Livestrong Program at the Berkeley Heights YMCA, which is a life changer and for Laurie, it "was also lifesaving."  "We support one another while exercising at our own level."

Laurie reached her goal by completing the recent Mother's Day 5K to raise money to support the Livestrong Cancer Recovery Program. "No matter how long it takes me, I will finish it," she said. 

"Cancer is not something we would have chosen, but since we are the chosen ones, we must wear that badge with honor. We should be proud of our accomplishments and how cancer has changed our priorities. 

"My kids call me a warrior and they are right. Our bodies have gone to war, and we know what it means to fight. I ask you to join us as we continue our battle with cancer. We have a responsibility to share our stories and to inspire those around us. We need to look at our loved ones and remind them of what is important. Taking this life we have and living it to the fullest. Nothing is more important than a life filled with health and happiness  -- not your job, not your children's grades, not anything else. Pride and joy in each hour of each day. Push yourself to live a healthy life you deserve. Help us beat cancer, help us to find a cure and motivate those around you to contribute to that fight."

Performers for the evening included: Bridget Lynn sang the national anthem, Olivia Hadad and Juliette Reilly performed during Opening Ceremony; Hickory Tree Chorus and Lara Gavagan performed during the Luminaria Ceremony; and DJs Tom and Sandy and musicians Bud Ayer, Mark Weber, Sam Ayre, Luke Weber, Ryan Hernandez, Steve Hess performed throughout the evening. 

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

Photo Credits: Bobbie Peer - TAPinto Berkeley Heights

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Berkeley Heights

Honoring Sacrifice and Service on Memorial Day

May 25, 2018

On Monday, May 28, 2018, our Nation celebrates our most solemn event, Memorial Day.  In Berkeley Heights tradition, we will honor those who sacrificed themselves so that we may continue to live in the greatest country on earth.  I invite all residents to join us for the parade festivities and, most importantly, gather at our Veteran’s Park for a brief ceremony.

America has ...

Logic and Sensible Spending Take Priority

Logic.  It's what people use when endeavoring to complete things in the most sensible order.  Everyone knows that "logic" means sequencing events in a formulaic, predictable manner.  We learned this at a young age, as we observed Star Trek on TV and came to understand why Captain James T. Kirk relied on Spock as his first officer because his strategic plans were ...

I will draw on my experience to deliver a great future for Berkeley Heights

I am impressed with the day-to-day leadership of our Mayor and Town Council and I hope to help them continue to do great work. As I have been doing my research since deciding to run for a seat on our Town Council, I have learned a few things about all the work that has been happening in recent years.  For example, while plans for the Stratton House development were recently announced, our ...

How the Holi Color Festival Came to Summit; Event Planner Shares Her Story

May 21, 2018

Back in India, Holi was a holiday observed by almost all states. The holiday would be declared at all educational institutes and offices. It's a two day spring festival also known as the festival of colors. The festival signifies the victory of good over bad, the arrival of spring with the fragrance of flowers in the air and aura of warmth and happiness.

Holi festival is the time ...

Rain Didn't Dampen Our Vision for Art in the Park

The rain did not dampen our vision for Art in the Park!! Columbia Middle School was transformed into an art paradise, filled with an array of artists whose talents are nothing short of magical! The Peppertown Park Art in the Park Committee would like to thank all of the artists who came to our very first Art in the Park event. We are in awe of your creativity and immeasurable talents! You all ...

A Better Summer with the Y: Join by May 31 and Have Your Joiner Fee Waiver!

May 26, 2018

From now through the end of May, new members joining the Berkeley Heights YMCA will have their joiners fee waived, because at the Y we believe that everyone deserves to reach their health and wellness goals. With a savings of up to $95, you can focus on the perks of being a Berkeley Heights YMCA member:

Unlimited attendance to more than 100 group fitness classes a week
• State of ...

The New Providence 2018 Memorial Day Parade Begins at 10 a.m. on Monday, May 28

The Borough of New Providence and American Legion Post #433 invite all to attend this year’s Memorial Day Parade on Monday, May 28, 2018.   The parade will begin at 10:00 a.m., rain or shine, at Springfield and Central avenues. Post 433 and the New Providence Community Activities Department have co-sponsored the town’s Memorial Day Parade for more than 65 years. The parade, ...

A Better Summer with the Y: Join by May 31 and Have Your Joiner Fee Waiver!

From now through the end of May, new members joining the Berkeley Heights YMCA will have their joiners fee waived, because at the Y we believe that everyone deserves to reach their health and wellness goals. With a savings of up to $95, you can focus on the perks of being a Berkeley Heights YMCA member:

Unlimited attendance to more than 100 group fitness classes a week
• State of ...

Fallout Continues from Lawsuit Against Mountainside; Police Chief on Administrative Leave

May 19, 2018

MOUNTAINSIDE, NJ – Police Chief Allan Attanasio is the latest member of the police department to suffer repercussions from a complaint filed against the borough on May 11.  Attanasio, who is not named as a defendant in the lawsuit, was “placed on administrative leave,” on Thursday by Borough Administrator and former Police Chief James Debbie, said  Lt. Joseph ...

Cycling Champ Laura Van Gilder Returns to Somerville Memorial Day to Defend Race Title

May 26, 2018

 

SOMERVILLE, NJ – Laura Van Gilder, 54-year-old cycling champion from Cresco, Pa., will return to defend her title at the 75th annual Tour of Somerville on Memorial Day, attempting an unprecedented fifth win in the 25-mile women's race, just one of several races that begin at 10:30 a.m..

The Kugler-Anderson Tour of Somerville, often referred to as the Kentucky Derby of ...

Upcoming Events

Sat, May 26, 9:00 AM

Miller-Cory House Museum, Westfield

Aunt Carrie's Attic Sale

Giving Back Other

Sat, May 26, 11:00 AM

Home For Good Dog Recue, Berkeley Heights,

Dog Adoption

Other

Sat, May 26, 2:00 PM

New Providence

Memoir Writing Workshops @ NPML

Arts & Entertainment

Thu, May 31, 11:30 AM

Canoe Brook Country Club, Summit

Fortnightly Club Scholarship Luncheon

Food & Drink Giving Back

Thu, May 31, 1:30 PM

Coppola Ristorante, New Providence

Lunch and Learn: Dental Implants and the ...

Health & Wellness

Carousel_image_69a5db118db45d8f5de0_cabaret

Thu, May 31, 7:00 PM

Gov. Livingston Cafeteria, Berkeley Heights

Gov. Livingston Hilltop Players Host Annual Relay ...

The Evaluation of the College Search

It’s is a bizarre time of year as a college counselor as I find myself at both the beginning and end of this process.  Sophomores and juniors are excitedly and idealistically starting to consider what will be important to them in a school.  At the same time, while only separated by a year or two, my seniors have all committed within the past month to a school and have spent the ...

How to Design Your Ideal Retirement

Would you like to design your ideal retirement? Where do you begin? First of all, what does retirement mean to you? If you’re in a relationship, does retirement mean the same to you as it does to your partner? Do you know if your “ideal retirement” is affordable or just a pipe dream?

In past generations, retirement planning didn’t involve very much. You stopped work ...

Don’t Make These Three Mistakes About Social Security

Social Security has been around for decades and it’s not about to disappear. Why? Social Security is not an entitlement ("gift") that can be taken away - it’s a forced savings scheme that Americans pay into in their working years in order to secure a pension for life. Ideally, Social Security should not be your sole source of income in retirement but even comfortable ...