WEST ORANGE, NJ - Under sunny skies, the 10th annual Downtown West Orange Classic 5K Run/Walk to Break the Silence of Ovarian Cancer raised spirits and funds for the "silent killer" that affects 20,000 women yearly.
Approximately 800 participants filled the streets of downtown West Orange on Sunday to honor loved ones who succumbed to the disease and to celebrate survivors, who represented women from all over the northern New Jersey area. $90,000 has already been raised and Megan Brill of the Downtown West Orange Alliance, who helped to organize the event, expected to see that number top $100,000.
West Orange resident Shari-Beth Susskind once again served as the chairperson for the Walk/Run. An ovarian cancer survivor, Susskind has worked to raise money for research and awareness with the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition. Early detection, as in Susskind's case, is the key to survival, with 94 percent of women suriving longer than five years.
Assemblyman John McKeon, who was mayor of West Orange when the Ovarian 5K Walk/Run first took off, served as emcee. Along with State Senator Richard Codey and Mayor Robert Parisi, they sent the participants off and running.
Unfortunately, 80 percent of women will not be diagnosed until the cancer is at an advanced stage and the survival rate can be as low as 29%.
Several groups walked in support of loved ones who passed away. Susskind's family and friends were part of "Team Suss and Us"; other teams walked in honor of Anna Ferrara and Daniela Limandri.
The mood was decidedly upbeat as teams large and small honored the memory of their 'angels' and supported those affected by ovarian cancer. For more information, go to: http://www.walkforovariancancer.com/.