Giving Back

Online Fund Hits $30K for Roxbury Girl with Cancer

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Mia Salazar (horizontal) hanging out with friends Credits: Lisa Brown Lloyd
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Mia Salazar's Pope John classmates selling bracelets Credits: Lisa Brown Lloyd
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Mia Salazar of Succasunna Credits: Lisa Brown Lloyd
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ROXBURY, NJ – An online campaign to raise money for a Succasunna girl with cancer approached the $30,000 mark today and high school students are now selling bracelets to help the effort.

When first reported by TAP into Roxbury on Feb. 26, the “Mia’s Mission” online fundraising campaign had about $13,000 in contributions. In seven days, the generosity of those wishing to help 15-year-old Mia Salazar of Succasunna boosted the amount to more than $29,500.

“It’s only been a week,” said Lisa Brown Lloyd, an Andover Township woman who launched the gofundme site to help Mia. “I think it’s fantastic,” said Lloyd, whose daughter attends Pope John XXII High School in Sparta with Mia.

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Mia, who carries a gene linked to causing cancer, had a tumor removed from her intestine recently and she is now undergoing chemotherapy treatment. Lloyd said the girl and her parents, Liz and Mark Salazar, were in Philadelphia today visiting a doctor.

Lloyd said students at Pope John and Roxbury High School are selling the “Mia’s Mission” bracelets for $3 each. “We just got bracelets in so they started selling them today,” she said. “We purchased 600 of them for $220. The kids all put up $10.”

Among those who bought a couple of the bracelets, and sent money to the gofundme site, was Dan Exter, a former Roxbury High School student who won a battle with cancer and now promotes the yearly “Layups 4 Life” 3-on-3 basketball tournament that raises money to fight cancer.

This year’s Layups-4-Life tournament will take place April 10 at Roxbury High School.

Exter said he’s offered to help the Salazars in any way possible. “Mia’s cancer and mine are very different,” pointed out the 29-year-old Exter. But she’s going through chemo, so I can at least help and tell her what she can expect to feel ... The least I can do is share with her my experience. I can share my story so she has something to fall back on; Like, ‘I was expecting this because Dan told me about it.’”

Exter said he told the Salazars they are welcome to speak at the Layups4Life event if the want to “share their daughter’s story.”

He said many people who play in the tournament do so to honor a friend or loved one. “Everyone is affected by this disease in one way or another,” he said. “It’s a way to show support for a friend or family member. I personally will be playing for Mia in April.”

Asked what he would tell Mia if he had 30 seconds to give her a message, Exter was immediate in his answer: “I’d just say don’t think about tomorrow,” he said. “Think about today. Worry about getting through today. Don’t look too far ahead. Be in the moment. Worry about the day and getting through one day at a time. Not to sound too cliché, but there are going be periods of peaks and valleys.” 

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