WEST ORANGE, NJ - More than 400 people of all ages and abilities gathered on September 21 at Verona Park for Kessler Foundation’s 13th Annual Stroll ‘N Roll, sponsored in part by Gibbons. To date, $106,000 was raised to change the lives of people with disabilities and will support Kessler Foundation’s rehabilitation research and funding of disability employment initiatives.
“It’s great to see so many people out supporting our mission to improve the function, health and independence of individuals with disabilities,” said Rodger DeRose, president and chief executive officer of Kessler Foundation. “Every dollar raised directly supports research that helps people regain the ability to walk, learn, remember, dress themselves, and even drive again. Donations also fund our grants to job training and employment programs across the nation, helping individuals with disabilities contribute their skills and feel the satisfaction of earning a paycheck. We changed many lives here today.”
In addition to the stroll or roll around the lake at Verona Park, the day featured carnival games, face painting, balloon art and food from local vendors. A DJ group from Pathways for Exceptional Children, a career mentorship program for young people with disabilities, based in Montville, N.J., and supported by Kessler Foundation, provided the music at Stroll ‘N Roll. Recording artists Los Ciegos Del Barrio, children’s entertainment group Circle Time Live and nonprofit dance team Bearfoot Dancers performed live. Stroll ‘N Roll’s Information Alley featured exhibit booths from sponsors and disability service representatives.
Special guests included Congressman Rodney P. Frelinghuysen (NJ-11), Assemblyman Thomas P. Giblin (D-34), Emmy-Award winning broadcaster Steve Adubato, the North Jersey Navigators—an adaptive sports team for junior athletes with disabilities supported by Kessler Foundation—and many Stroll ‘N Roll ambassadors whose lives have been impacted by the Foundation.
Ambassador Dan Mollino and his wife, Amber, rode their bicycles from their home in Ringwood, to the starting line at Verona Park—a 25-mile journey. The ride symbolized how far Mollino has come in his recovery since he fell from a telephone pole while at work and sustained a traumatic brain injury in 2010. While he still has pain, difficulty concentrating and double vision, he worked hard to regain his balance so he could return to his passion of riding his bicycle. Mollino serves on Kessler Foundation’s TBI Advisory Board, helping to identify the issues that matter most to individuals with brain injury, and participates in the Foundation’s research studies.
Ambassadors Kevin Greene, Charles Fleisher and Scott Chesney also joined Stroll ‘N Roll. Having a TBI and spinal cord injury, Greene found a new career path, thanks to a laboratory technician training program at JFK supported by Kessler Foundation. Now, he is employed by LabCorp. Fleisher, an author, educates students on the importance of buckling their seatbelt, wearing a helmet, using caution when diving and the risks of driving under the influence or with someone under the influence, as part of the N.J. chapter of ThinkFirst—an injury prevention program formerly supported by Kessler Foundation. Chesney, paralyzed more than two decades ago at age 15, launched an initiative to train and place people with disabilities in careers in the financial sector; the program receives funding from Kessler Foundation. Greene, Fleisher and Chesney also have participated in research at the Foundation to improve cognition and mobility.
Donations can be made online at www.give.kesslerfoundation.org/donate or call Kessler Foundation at 973-324-8362.