by Ruthanne Brown / American Cancer Society Media & Publicity Senior Volunteer
UNION COUNTY – Adversity has a way of bringing people together, especially when a “common enemy” affects nearly everyone in one way or another. In this case, the enemy is cancer which strikes approximately 47,900 residents of New Jersey annually, including 53 new diagnoses per week in Union County alone.
However, the American Cancer Society offers hope in the face of adversity. Dedicated volunteers have made a direct impact on beating back this major health threat. The good news is the number of cancer diagnoses nationwide have fallen steadily since 1992, while survival rates have risen. There are now over one-million cancer survivors living throughout the United States.
As encouraging as it sounds, there are some who believe this is just not good enough. An example of “regular people” drawn together by this adversity is a dedicated group of friends from Union County who go by the name “Kiss Away Cancer”. These “team members” agree on one thing: even one life lost from this disease is one life too many. The members of Kiss Away Cancer have committed themselves to fight back by volunteering as a “Relay For Life” team to raise donations for the American Cancer Society.
Over the past eight years, Kiss Away Cancer has collectively raised more than $100,000 in contributions to benefit “Relay For Life of Clark”, the American Cancer Society’s signature event. Kiss Away Cancer is one of the top Relay For Life fundraising teams in the state of New Jersey. All donations collected by the team go to ACS programs such as cancer prevention and disease control, patient services within Union County, advocacy efforts to insure that everyone has equal access to health care, and most importantly: medical research to find a cure.
Not only does the team fight the disease through fundraising efforts, they educate the public regarding programs and services available through the American Cancer Society, thereby making a significant difference in the fight against cancer within their own community.
In the weeks prior to Relay For Life, Kiss Away Cancer will be hosting their annual “mini-fundraisers” to benefit ACS, including their annual Tricky Tray and Auction.
On Friday, April 29 from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm, ACS staff and volunteers will “Paint The Mall Purple” at Jersey Gardens Mall located at 651 Kapkowski Road, Elizabeth. Gift bags will be distributed the first 100 people who register at the concierge desk. Jersey Gardens will donate $1.00 to ACS for each person wearing purple that day. Those not present on April 29 can still help the cause by visiting the Jersey Gardens website. The mall will donate an additional $1.00 for each photo of anyone wearing purple that is posted on the Jersey Gardens Facebook page. To post photos or for information, visit the web at www.jerseygardens.com/go/mallevents.cfm , and scroll to “Paint The Mall Purple Day” .
Friday, May 6 the annual “Team Kiss Away Cancer – Tricky Tray and Auction” will take place at Rahway American Legion Post #5, 581 Maple Avenue. Doors open at 5:00 pm, admission is free and there will be a cash bar. Drawing for prizes and auction begins at 9:00 pm, but winners do not need to be present at the time of the drawing.
This festive gathering will feature a raffle of more than one-hundred different items including an iPad, a 46 inch television, and digital camera to name a few. A large variety of gift baskets are featured in the raffle, containing everything from gourmet food, collectables, relaxation and beauty supplies, designer items, even baskets appealing to motorcycle enthusiasts.
The fourth annual Relay For Life of Clark will take place on Friday, June 10 at Arthur L Johnson High School, 365 Westfield Avenue beginning 6:00 pm, and continuing throughout the night until 6:00 am the following morning.
Relay For Life is a celebration of hope and survivorship. An estimated 100 teams will take turns walking or running on a track overnight not only to collect funds, but to increase awareness by showing the community that by working together, we can make a huge difference in the fight against cancer. The event opens with the Survivor Celebration Lap, as survivors of all types of cancer are honored by the community, family and friends. At nightfall, hundreds of luminaria candles are lit, each one symbolizing a loved one who won their personal battle against cancer, or in memory of an individual who lost their fight against the disease.
New participants and volunteers are invited to be part of this amazing and unique experience. For details on Relay For Life of Clark, contact Christina Andrascik at the American Cancer Society at 973-232-2573, email: Christina.Andrascik@cancer.org .
Like all American Cancer Society volunteers, Kiss Away Cancer hopes to unite the community in support of this very worthy cause. Relay For Life of Clark supports the American Cancer Society’s mission to save lives by helping people stay well, by helping people get well, by finding cures and by fighting back. All money raised at Kiss Away Cancer team events directly support American Cancer Society.
To learn more about Kiss Away Cancer events, contact Team Captains: Stephen Frost at 732-986-4048, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or Robin Brown at email@example.com . To make a donation to the American Cancer Society in support of Team Kiss Away Cancer, visit the web at www.relayforlife.org/clarknj , then click the “Kiss Away Cancer” link under “Top Teams”.
Local volunteers from “Kiss Away Cancer” will host team fundraisers to benefit The American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life of Clark. Pictured left to right: Claire Brown, Tina Boucher, Lindsey Goldstein, Team Captain – Robin Brown, and Billy Bodine. (Team members Stephen Frost, Leah Greenglass and Ruthanne Brown – do not appear in photo). Photograph by Ruthanne Brown / American Cancer Society Media & Publicity Senior Volunteer
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