UNION, NJ - Runners and walkers of all levels are invited to join the Union Township Chamber of Commerce again this year at its Eighth Annual Mayor’s Day 5K Run on Sunday, September 23. A committee will be actively working over the summer to plan and expand this year’s event. Shake A Paw Center for Rescue and Adoption of Union has signed on as Major Event Sponsor. 

Held rain or shine, the race will start and end at Union High School on Cooke Drive, following a course certified by USA Track & Field.  Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. with the actual race commencing at 9:00 a.m. 

Hayley Guerra of The Max Challenge and David Arminio of the Union Township Historical Society have been named co-chairs of this year’s 5K. Other committee members include: Eugene Mitchell, Unity Bank; John and Joseph Stampone, Major Printing Company;  Jinet Ventura, United Community & Business Solutions; Laura Rokosz, Egglrock Nutrition; Michael Atanasio, Overlook Medical Center; Jeff Morton, Shake A Paw; Paul Mickiewicz and Thomas Galuppo, Gateway Family YMCA; Laura Bretzger, City Fire Equipment Company; Claudia Schiavone, Northfield Bank; Cynthia McGhee, Cynthia McGhee Insurance Agency; Scott Snowden, Kean University; Brian Reilly, Knights of Columbus and Arthur Pinckney, NJ Arts World.

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“This year marks the eighth anniversary of this popular community event, and we are working to make it our biggest and best ever,” said Chamber Executive James Masterson. “We are grateful to the Township of Union Board of Education for generously hosting this event, and we are excited to hold a fun time once again”

Prizes will be awarded for various categories, and t-shirts and gift bags will be distributed to the first 300 registrants.

Masterson added that a portion of the proceeds will go to help defray the medical expenses of a local family, specifically, a six-year-old Union resident named Sabur Clark who was diagnosed in November 2014 with Stage Four Rhabdomyosarcoma ( a form of childhood cancer). The Valerie Fund at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center handles his treatment.

After receiving chemotherapy and radiation treatments for about 1.5 years, he showed “no evidence of disease” in February, 2016, and was taken off of treatment. Unfortunately, within a few months tumors began to grow and the original diagnosis was reinstated. The youngster had just started kindergarten in Union and was so excited about attending that his doctors worked to find a treatment plan that would not interfere too much with his schooling and other activities. St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital provided a treatment plan to The Valerie Fund that enabled him to continue attending school.

In April of this year, the youngster endured unexpected tumor removal surgery and was taken out of school for six weeks. He surprised and amazed his doctors who had told him that he would not be able to return to school until September of 2018, but he did return and is supported and loved by his school family. He is currently on maintenance chemotherapy.

 “We are grateful that Union Mayor Suzette Cavadas shared this story with us and the Chamber is pleased to make this our cause for the 5K,” Masterson said. “We encourage our community to come out and help provide assistance to this wonderful and deserving family.”

To register, go online to www.runsignup.com, and enter Mayor’s Day 5K. Further information is available by contacting the Chamber directly at 908-688-2777, visiting www.unionchamber.com or emailing the Chamber at executivedirector@unionchamber.com.

The day will also feature a Kid’s Run, organized by The Gateway Family YMCA, for grades K through 5 at the high school’s Cooke Memorial Football Field. This event will begin immediately following the 5K start at 9:00 a.m., with registration from 7:30 a.m.  The cost to participate is $12.00, which includes a t-shirt. This year, they have also opened up registration for the Kid’s Run, online, by clicking on 5K Run/Kid’s Run in the Events tab at www.unionchamber.com.

Businesses wishing to become a sponsor may contact Masterson at executivedirector@unionchamber.com for a listing of the various levels of support. All sponsorships include a table at the event for businesses to showcase their companies.