PERTH AMBOY – Approximately 700 runners, walkers and those passionate about fighting breast cancer hit the pavement in Perth Amboy during the city’s second annual Central New Jersey Pink Ribbon 5K Run and 1-mile Health Walk.
The event was held in conjunction with the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure Central and South Jersey affiliate organizations along the city’s Harborwalk on Saturday, Sept. 25.
The organizers estimate that the proceeds far exceeded last year’s total of $40,000, but the full tally will not be known until the end of November due to the fact that donations are still being accepted.
Those who couldn’t make the run or would still like to contribute can do by visiting www.NJPinkRibbonRun.org.
“We were thrilled by the turnout and the excitement it stirred in the community,” said Helga van Eckert, the city’s head of economic/community development and redevelopment and race co-chair. “People came from as far as Tennessee to support the cause and the city. For the second consecutive year, the event has exceeded our expectations. We can’t wait to see the next year’s turnout.”
Most of the money raised will be returned to the local area for breast health education and breast cancer screening and treatment, which is especially important in an urban environment as these residents are less likely than other groups to take the time and expense to have life-saving breast screenings.
Van Eckert and race co-chair Elaine Jasko, Perth Amboy’s city clerk, were inspired to organize the run last year as a result of their personal experiences with breast cancer– van Eckert lost her mother to the disease just two years ago while Jasko is a breast cancer survivor.
Participants were decked out in pink t-shirts and running outfits, with many wearing personalized apparel dedicated to the memory of a friend or family member. The historic ferry slip, which served as home base for the registration, was adorned with pink ribbons, balloons and banners.
“This event is a great way to introduce Perth Amboy to those who aren’t familiar with it,” said Mayor Wilda Diaz, one of the many city officials who participated. “Many visitors are surprised by the scenic views along the Arthur Kill, Raritan Bay and River. Perth Amboy is a beautiful community and it certainly is one to share.”
The daylong event featured a live DJ and activities for all ages and skill levels. The winners were awarded prizes at an award ceremony at the conclusion of the race.
Perth Amboy High School student Julius Madden, 14, led the men’s group with a time of 19 minutes, 38 seconds. Woodbridge resident Angel Aquino, 58, came in second with a time of 21 minutes, 2 seconds; while Drew Pennyfeather of Perth Amboy came in a second later to clinch third place.
For the women’s group, Sayreville resident Fayella Cherubin, 33, finished first with a time of 23 minutes, 34 seconds. Paulene Fitzpatrick of Avenel, 39, came in second with a time of 25 minutes, 4 seconds, with Perth Amboy resident Silvia Huerta, 16, trailing by one second to finish third.
The city will continue to maintain the bright pink billboard and pink ribbon posters that have promoted the event for a few more weeks, van Eckert said. The exterior walls of city hall will remain lit with pink lights during the month of October to promote breast cancer awareness.
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