CRANFORD, NJ – Ari Bamak, a 7th grade student at Hillside Avenue School, will hold a special fundraiser for his bar mitzvah project that will benefit a cause that’s close to his heart.

Barmak, 12, will hold a basketball mini-marathon to benefit osteosarcoma, a form of cancer that his cousin, Samantha, passed away from at age nine.

“I think it keeps her memory alive and it will honor her in a way,” Barmak said.

Sign Up for Cranford Newsletter
Our newsletter delivers the local news that you can trust.

The mini-marathon is planned so teams of older children and teenagers will continuously play basketball for five hours in different teams.

“I picked the mini-marathon because it seemed like it would be a great way to help raise money to support cancer research and I would be able to have a great time doing it,” he said.

To help raise funds, Barmak partnered with the V Foundation, a cancer research foundation started by ESPN and basketball coach Jim Valvano.

“Our goal is to reach $1,000,” Barmak said. “But people are really generous. I think we’ll beat that.”

Now, Barmak, who’s worked on this project since April, is seeking both adult and kid volunteers for the marathon.

“We need adults to help run the event, but we definitely need kids to play,” Barmak said.

The marathon is open to kids between ages nine and 14, but a slight difference is ok, Barmak said.

The basketball marathon will take place on Saturday, Nov. 4, from 12:30 p.m. to 5 p.m at the First Presbyterian Church of Cranford. Those interested in volunteering or donating can email Barmak at

Barmak will celebrate his bar mitzvah this February at Temple Sholom in Scotch Plains.