ROXBURY, NJ – The Roxbury High School teammates of Emerline Tabares are washing cars this Saturday to help the lacrosse player and cheerleader pay for brain surgery.
The car wash will be at Eisenhower Middle School on Eyland Avenue from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. It will cost $5 per car, and all money will go to the 18-year-old Landing resident.
Tabares, a senior, learned she had a pre-cancerous brain tumor several weeks ago after being taken to Morristown Memorial Hospital because she fell at home and hit her head.
“I was in the bathroom and slipped,” she said. “It was accidental, the whole thing. I had to go to the emergency room because I was unconscious.”
Tabares said an MRI was taken as a routine check for concussion. “But they found something in my head and eventually a doctor told me I had a brain tumor,” she said.
Tabares doesn’t think the tumor had anything to do with her fall in the bathroom. With a laugh, she said she “just slipped out of nowhere.” In a way, the incident was a blessing in disguise because she had no symptoms that would have alerted her to the tumor, she said.
On the bright side, the tumor is in a place Tabares described as “the safest spot in the brain” when it comes to successful removal by surgery. “If they do the surgery, most likely I’ll be 99 percent cured,” Tabares said. “They’re not really sure how it got there. There’s theories … I could have been born with it.”
A date for the operation has not been set.
Tabares said she is trying her best to be optimistic. “It’s just really stressful and overwhelming,” she said. “It hasn’t really hit me yet, but it’s getting there.”
She was initially reluctant to have her name publicized, but Tabares now believes being open and honest is the best route. “I thinkI feel more relieved that people know what’s happening rather than think other things,” she said. “I don’t want them thinking lies or rumors or anything like that. I just keep a strong face and smile all the time and laugh and try not to think about it when I’m in school.”
Tabares is also a member of the high school’s Varsity R Club, serves as a peer leader and is in the Spanish Honor Society. She has committed to attending Montclair State University, where she will major in child advocacy and minor in criminal justice while playing on Montclair's lacrosse team.
“I’m not going to let this stop me from doing anything that I’ve been trying to do,” said Tabares, who continues to play lacrosse for the high school. “I’m just going to keep going.”
Craig Schisler, president of the lacrosse team's parent association, thanked the organizations and companies in Roxbury that are helping Tabares. “We’ve gotten a lot of support from different groups, including youth girls and youth boys lacrosse,” he said. “Castle Printing made signs and the Roxbury Police Department is putting up portable electronic signs. ”
Those wishing to donate money without getting their car washed can send checks to the Roxbury Girls Lacrosse Booster Club at 6 Arnold Road, Landing,NJ 07850. The checks should have a note saying they are to help Emerline.