WEST ORANGE, NJ – The Mayor’s 5K Run/Walk to Break the Silence of Ovarian Cancer was held on Sunday in West Orange, with nearly 1,000 local residents and participants from the tri-state area in attendance. The run/walk to raised funds for ovarian cancer research.

(To donate, click HERE.)

Ovarian Cancer develops when cells in the ovaries begin to multiply out of control and form tumors. It is the fifth-leading cancer-related cause of death for women ages 35-74.

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"The annual 5K Race has become an important tradition in our community," said West Orange Mayor Robert Parisi. "In addition to raising awareness and money in support of the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition, it brings nearly 1,000 people to our downtown to enjoy friendships, support good causes and honor friends struggling with this terrible disease. After 25 years, the event is going strong and we are proud this year to have had the most successful race since the beginning."

The Mayor's 5K Walk/Run, sponsored by the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition (NOCC) and The Downtown West Orange Alliance, helped to raise more than $100,000 for combatting the disease. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Northern New Jersey Chapter of the Ovarian Cancer Coalition and the Maureen Fund in honor of Maureen Roehnelt, a former assistant to Gov. Richard J. Codey, who passed away from ovarian cancer in 2006.

Entertainment was provided by “The Mood Swings,” a women’s seven-piece classic rock band. And, aside from the races, there was a tricky tray and awards ceremony. In addition, Nelle Rose sang the National Anthem. And, sponsored by the West Orange Library, the free kids run/walk was open to all youths, event those in strollers.

"Had a great time at our Annual Mayor's 5K Run for the Cure," said President of the West Orange Township Council Jerry Guarino. "We raised over $100,000 to support the fight to cure Ovarian Cancer."

He added, "Thank you to all who came out to run/walk, gave of their time, donated fruit, water, juice and especially bagels. This one of the efforts that makes West Orange great."


For the men's division, Joseph Ulbrich, 19, of Flanders, was the overall winner of the 5k. Segundino Cardines, 44, of Jersey City came in second place and Binyamin Brickman, 16, of West Orange took third place.

For the ladies, Dana Weisenfeld, 26, of West Orange was the winner of the division, coming in 11th place over all. Dayle Vaness, 25, of Wayne came in second place and 15th overall, and Cyteria Jenkins, 22, of Jersey City took third place and came in 17th overall.

Click HERE for a full list of the results.

History of the Event

The 2007 Mayor's Run/Walk for the Whisper, held in West Orange at Township Hall, attracted 500 runners and walkers, 30 vendors, and scores of volunteers to raise awareness and funds in the battle against Ovarian Cancer. The Run/Walk for the Whisper was organized by the Downtown West Orange Alliance and the Northern NJ Chapter of the NOCC.

The event was held in memory of Maureen Roehnelt, wife, mother, sister and Governor Richard Codey's trusted aide of thirty years, and in honor of West Orange resident Shari-Beth Susskind, an Ovarian Cancer survivor. It was Shari-Beth's team to host a run for OC in West Orange and it was a testament to the character and commitment of all involved that the event was bigger than anyone could have dreamed of.

More than $65,000 was raised which was distributed to the NOCC, The Maureen Fund and the Mayor's Sunshine Fund. What was even more significant was the raising of the spirits of the family members and friends of those lost to Ovarian Cancer, the raising of the courage of those who battle on against the disease and the raising of awareness of the subtle symptoms to watch for and the steps to take for early detection.

The Maureen Fund

The Maureen Fund is a community outreach program that provides free outreach and education programs aimed at prevention, awareness, research, and early detection of ovarian cancer. Through education its goal is to help women recognize high-risk factors in their personal and family history, identify early signs, and empower them to take action. This heightened awareness can help save lives.

Maureen Fund programs include a monthly Lunch and Learn program for patients, caregivers, staff, and the community at the John Theurer Cancer Center. The Lunch and Learn events focus on the latest health topics affecting women. The events are complimentary and lunch will be served.


NOCC’s mission is to save lives by fighting tirelessly to prevent and cure ovarian cancer, and to improve the quality of life for survivors.

According to the NOCC, 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. The NOCC said that unfortunately, most cases are diagnosed in their later stages when the prognosis is poor. However, if diagnosed and treated early, when the cancer is confined to the ovary, the five-year survival rate is over 90 percent. That is why it is “imperative that the early signs and symptoms of the disease are recognized, not only by women, but also by their families and the medical community.”

There is currently no early detection test for ovarian cancer according to the NOCC. Pap tests do not detect ovarian cancer. Until there is a test, the key to early diagnosis is awareness. And the key to awareness is “knowing the subtle symptoms of ovarian cancer and urging women to take early action and live.”

Through national programs and local chapter initiatives, the NOCC's goal is to make more people aware of the early symptoms of ovarian cancer. In addition, the NOCC provides information to assist the newly-diagnosed patient, to provide hope to survivors, and to support caregivers.

Our programs are possible only with the help of our volunteers; committed men and women dedicated to the mission of the NOCC in communities across the country. We encourage you to join them. Together, we can make a difference in the lives of women affected by ovarian cancer.

The Downtown West Orange Alliance

The Downtown West Orange Alliance, Inc. is the non-profit organization that manages the town's Special Improvement District (SID). The DWOA was formed in August 1998 through the ordinance that also established the SID. Recognizing the unique contributions made by the residential, historic and commercial properties that collectively form the "downtown," the Township of West Orange created the SID to encourage economic revitalization of the neighborhoods known as Tory Corner, Eagle Rock, St. Mark's and the Valley. Since West Orange is a magnet for new residents, the revitalization of the downtown area will enhance the community as it continues to experience increased property values in both the consumer and business segments, according to The Downtown West Orange Alliance.

The Vision Statement of the DWOA states the board's ultimate goal for the downtown of West Orange and is as follows: “To create a town center that marries the historic past of West Orange with a future that includes a variety of retail stores, family-oriented as well as upscale restaurants and entertainment facilities, and medium- and high-rent residences. Downtown will become a magnet for residents of West Orange and the surrounding area who will view it as the place to spend their money and time. As such, downtown West Orange will become a community that will experience increases in property values in both the consumer and business segments.

About Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian Cancer ranks fifth in cancer deaths among women. Although prevention and early detection can help save lives, according to the American Cancer Society, only 20 percent of ovarian cancers are found at an early stage.

Ovarian Cancer has erroneously been thought to be a silent killer because the early symptoms are easily confused with other diseases, according to the ACS.

Ovarian cancer is a disease where malignant or cancerous cells are found in the ovaries. An ovary is one of two small, almond-shaped organs located on each side of the uterus that store eggs or germ cells and produce female hormones estrogen and progesterone.

Cancer develops when cells in a part of the body (in this case the ovary) begin to grow out of control. Although there are many kinds of cancer, they all start because of out-of-control growth of abnormal cells.

Normally, cells in the body divide, and form new cells to replace worn out or dying cells and to repair injuries. Because cancer cells continue to grow and divide, they are different from normal cells. Instead of dying, they outlive normal cells and continue to create new abnormal cells forming a tumor. Tumors can put pressure on other organs lying near the ovaries.

Cancer cells can sometimes travel to other parts of the body where they begin to grow and replace normal tissue. This process, called metastasis, occurs as the cancer cells move into the bloodstream or lymph vessels of our body. Cancer cells that spread from other organ sites (such as breast or colon) to the ovary are not considered ovarian cancer

There are many types of tumors that can start in the ovaries. Some are benign, or noncancerous, and the patient can be cured by surgically removing one ovary or the part of the ovary containing the tumor. Some are malignant or cancerous. The treatment options and the outcome for the patient depend on the type of ovarian cancer and how far it has spread before it is diagnosed.

In women age 35-74, ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer-related deaths. An estimated one woman in 75 will develop ovarian cancer during her lifetime. The American Cancer Society estimates that there will be over 22,000 new cases of ovarian cancer diagnosed this year and that more than 15,000 women will die from ovarian cancer this year.

When one is diagnosed and treated in the earliest stages, the five-year survival rate is over 90 percent. Due to Ovarian Cancer's non-specific symptoms and lack of early detection tests, only 19 percent of all cases are found at this early stage. If caught in stage III or higher, the survival rate can be as low as 30.6 percent. Due to the nature of the disease, each woman diagnosed with ovarian cancer has a different profile and it is impossible to provide a general prognosis.