WEST ORANGE, NJ – The nearly 1000 supporters participating in the 27th annual Mayor’s 5K Run/Walk to “break the silence” on ovarian cancer overcame temperatures more typical of mid-August on Sunday morning. The event, coordinated through the partnership of the Downtown West Orange Alliance (DWOA) and the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition (NOCC), raised more than $80,000.
Standing on the steps of West Orange Town Hall, where the award ceremony took place immediately following the race, former West Orange mayor and current Assemblyman John McKeon thanked returning teams, sponsors and new participants for supporting ovarian cancer research and helping to fund efforts to combat this disease.
McKeon, who started the first Mayor’s Run 27 years ago, noted that this year’s run down Main Street attracted people from far and wide, reflecting the growing awareness of this event throughout the region. Participants came from as far as Lititz, PA and Whitehouse Station, NJ.
“It’s great to see more and more people running, walking, sponsoring and supporting the event each year,” said Megan Brill, executive director of the DWOA. “It’s gratifying to provide a venue that gives people an opportunity to celebrate the lives of their loved ones who have survived their battle with ovarian cancer, and memorialize those who have unfortunately lost their lives due to this terrible disease.”
More than 20,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year, and approximately 15,000 women die annually from the disease, according to the NOCC. If diagnosed and treated early, when the cancer is confined to the ovary, the five-year survival rate is more than 90 percent.
“It is imperative to have events such as this so that more women are aware of the importance of looking for and recognizing the early signs and symptoms of the disease,” said Brill. “It’s equally important for their families and the medical community to be aware of this disease’s symptoms so they can work with women in catching it at its earliest stages.”
West Orange Mayor Robert Parisi distributed prizes to the runners who finished in the top of their group. Categories included: 14 and under, 15-19 years, 20-29 years, 30-39 years, 40-49 years, 50-59 years, 60-69 years, 70-79 years and 80 and over.
Overall First Place went to Stuart Haynes, 41, of Chatham, who emigrated from the United Kingdom.
The first-place overall female was Isabella Pacheco, 20, of Bloomfield.
Gretchen Erdman, 72, of Orange received the gold prize for women runners from 70-79 for the second-consecutive year.
“I want to be a role model for people my age,” she said. “I tell everyone I know who are in my age group that they should try to walk every day, and if they can’t do that, so something to move their bodies. I don’t care if they just move their arms around. Just keep moving.”
Participants push baby carriages as they walk/run down Main Street.
Runners and walkers alike take on the 3.1-mail trail.
Parisi congratulates Overall First Place winner Stuart Haynes and first-place overall female winner Isabella Pacheco.
Councilman Jerry Guarino and Parisi congratulate Paul Kartanowicz and Jackie Morino as McKeon looks on.
Township officials congratulate young prize-winning runners.
Guarino and Brill congratulate Gretchen Erdman.