BRIDGEWATER, NJ - The Donna M. Karlis Memorial Fund, out of Bridgewater, is hosting its first event, the Team ROAR 5K and 1-Mile Walk, Oct. 6 at Duke Island Park.

The goal of the event is to raise awareness, education and money for stage IV/metastatic breast cancer research, as well as resources for area residents living with the disease.

Those wanting to run, walk or volunteer can register at https://bit.ly/2kQJQ0p. There will also be on-site registration, and check-in, beginning at 8 a.m., with the race starting at 9:30 a.m. and the walk beginning at 9:45 a.m.

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A brief awards ceremony will be held at the end.

Metastatic breast cancer, according to a release, is advanced breast cancer, stage IV, and is defined by the spread of the disease beyond the breast and nearby lymph nodes to non-adjacent organs, like the lungs, liver and brain. It is incurable, but proper treatment can increase quality of life and longevity.

Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset’s Steeplechase Cancer Center is the medical partner and platinum sponsor for the race.

Proceeds will be split between the Steeplechase Cancer Center and the METAvivor Research and Support, which provides support for men and women with the disease and helps fund research to transition MBC from a terminal illness to a controlled chronic condition.

Donations will be made available to help patients with MBC at the center, regardless of income, and will help with living expenses, transportation and recovery items.

“We are proud to partner with Team ROAR to raise awareness of metastatic breast cancer and to help find a cure,” said Kathleen Toomey, MD, medical director of the Steeplechase Cancer Center at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset, in a release. “Their support will also help us improve the quality of life for our patients who are coping with the disease.”

The race is in memory of Donna Karlis, of Bridgewater, who died after a battle with the disease in September 2017 at the age of 42.

Karlis was a mom of two and married to her husband for 10 years. She was a former teacher for Cranford Public Schools, and then volunteered for St. Bernard of Clairvaux Church catechism classes, and the Crim Primary School PTO.

“We know how overwhelmed a metastatic breast cancer patient feels when they receive this diagnosis,” said Michael Karlis, chairman of the Donna M. Karlis Memorial Fund and Donna’s husband, in the release.  “We are here for them. This was our promise to Donna, and we will continue to fulfill that promise by fighting for them with the goal of ending this disease.”

Team ROAR was created after she was first diagnosed in 2013, and they ran and walked to support her and raise money.

The race is a USATF sanctioned event, and awards will be given to the top three male and female finishers.

For more information, contact TeamROAR5K@gmail.com.