MONTVILLE, NJ – Hundreds of residents flocked to the fundraiser held at Seven Scoops and sips ice cream parlor in Pine Brook for Woodmont Elementary School teacher Danielle Stoveken, who has breast cancer. The October fundraiser, at which all sales proceeds for the day went to Stoveken, saw lines winding around the building and a full parking lot, and resulted in more than $28,000 being raised to help pay medical care costs for the second grade teacher.
Anne and Ryan Olohan, owners of the shop, devoted the day to the teacher, as well as conducting an online fundraiser. Ryan said in a post on social media that his 39-year-old younger sister had died from breast cancer.
“Life is about putting others first, especially those most in need,” he wrote. “Mrs. Stoveken has put our kids first for over 15 years and now needs our community. Cancer has brought sadness to all of us. In this Breast Cancer Awareness month, let's bring hope and joy to Mrs. Stoveken and everyone fighting cancer.”
The successful fundraiser and packed shop were heart-warming to many who came.
“This was one of the most amazing fundraising experiences I've ever had – which is saying a lot as I have spent over 40 years in the non-profit world,” said Joseph Huber. “I have never met Mrs. Stoveken, nor did my children have her as a teacher. Still, I was moved by the spirit of the occasion – the wonderful cause – and by what the Olohan family is accomplishing in this community. So I drove to Seven Scoops and was floored by what I saw: the store was packed and the line outside snaked around the store’s corner past the second entrance. Anne told me that it had been that way since 10:00 a.m.!
“I have lived in Montville for 37 years and never have I been so proud of my town, my community and my neighbors as I was tonight. Thank you, Olohans, for instilling renewed pride in our community, and for enabling all of us to make a difference. And to Mrs. S, you don’t know me but we elbow-bumped as you made your way down the waiting line. Wishing you a full and speedy recovery, and Godspeed!” he said.
Some who tried to attend simply had to try twice, like Annette Waitts, who said, “We wanted to go to Seven Scoops for the fundraiser. Well, the line was out the door and wrapping around the building. I told my son that we would try later. As I was trying to get out of the lot and realized there was not a parking spot to be had and cars still piling in, I became emotional. The love our special town of Montville is showing makes me so grateful to live here.”
Woodmont fifth grader Nina Matari felt good about being a part of the fundraiser, because “She has always been so nice to me and I want to help her and be nice back.”
Stoveken was humbled by the outpouring of love.
“I feel truly blessed to be allowed to be a part of such an amazing day,” she said. “I have been given so much hope to continue to fight. It’s been so inspiring and uplifting; the positive energy coming from so many people who want to help me. People I don’t know are coming to me and telling me their personal stories, which is so powerful and really incredible.”
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