EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - The East Brunswick-Spotswood Golden Bear Chargers held their first ever GBC Plays Against Breast Cancer on Sunday. The event was intended to raise awareness and funds for The Mama Mare Breast Cancer Foundation, as well as bring the community together for a day of Pop Warner Football action.
Started in 2010 by Krista Kasper following the loss of her mother, Mary Ellen Pernice (AKA Mama Mare) to Stage 4 breast cancer, the Mama Mare Breast Cancer Foundation has worked to provide support services to breast cancer patients and their families as well as raise funds for biomedical research to help find a cure. Since its inception just three short years ago, the Mama Mare Breast Cancer Foundation has raised over $150,000 towards this mission through events like the annual De-Feet Breast Cancer 5K walk in Belmar and now, its new teammate GBC Football & Cheer.
With so many young girls on the teams and so many mothers, sisters, daughters, and nieces involved in GBC it was a no-brainer for these two great organizations to team up for one great cause. Although this was a new event that she had never been involved in, and not knowing a lot about Pop Warner youth football and cheer, Krista was nonetheless enthused from day one and eager to help any way she could to spread the word about both her foundation and the work they are doing to help aid in the fight against Breast Cancer.
With the full support of the GBC Board, two GBC Family members Stephanie Giannotta and Trish Lennan, made a massive push into the towns of Spotswood, Milltown, East Brunswick, and Helmetta (the towns GBC is comprised of) to make GBC Plays Against Breast Cancer the biggest game day event ever held by the organization. When all was said and done, the women arrived at the games with $455 in cash donations, all made out to The Mama Mare Breast Cancer Foundation, and over 30 prizes to be raffled off in a tricky tray. GBC Board members Terri Manfredo and Jackie Martinez stood at the front gates of the Spotswood High School Field, where GBC plays their home games, collecting donations and handing out info about Mama Mare while inside The Mama Mare Breast Cancer Foundation had its own table set up loaded with information about the organization as well as the Sparkle Spa, who were giving glitter tattoos to all who wanted them. GBC, on top of rounding up all the donations and sponsorships for the event, also donated the money raised from the Shout Outs sold during all the games with the amount being generously doubled by Deals on Wheels Auto Sales of East Brunswick who had already made a $200 donation to the event.
Spotswood Mayor Nicholas Poliseno reached out to his counterparts in East Brunswick, Helmetta and Milltown to come out and help support the day. Poliseno, Mayor Nancy Martin of Helmetta, Mayor David Stahl of East Brunswick and Mayor Eric Steeber of Milltown did the coin toss for the GBC Mighty Mite game against the Raritan Bay Cougars. After the ceremony at midfield, the mayors stayed to take pictures with event organizers and the women from Mama Mare. As if the support wasn’t enough Mayor Stahl of East Brunswick made a $1,000 donation to the Mama Mare Breast Cancer Foundation through his own charity Dining for a Cause after spending some time with Krista and hearing all the good her organization does for survivors and their families.
The Junior Pee Wee game between GBC and the Raritan Bay Cougars started with GBC player Connor L. escorting his aunt Jill, a Stage 4 cancer survivor and Krista Kasper of Mama Mare out to mid field to serve as honorary captains. During the break between the first and second quarters, Krista Kasper, Stephanie Giannotta, and Trish Lennan were each presented with a dozen roses from the GBC Board in appreciation of all the hard work they put into the day’s proceedings. At halftime of the game, New Jersey State Senator Linda Greenstein came in to offer her support and help spread the word about Mama Mare and GBC.
The GBC Board entered the day with a goal of $1,000 raised and donated to the Mama Mare Breast Cancer Foundation. The GBC presented Mama Mare with $2,093 at the end of the day’s games. When asked of how she felt about the day’s events Krista Kasper said, “The awareness that was raised amongst adults and children alike was remarkable. It was an extremely well organized event full of heart, true commitment, and dedication to the cause. We are so grateful to have partnered with GBC and look forward to working together with them in the future.”