WESTFIELD – The Therapeutic Massage and Training Center (TMTC) of Westfield recently hosted a massage charity event, helping to raise nearly $2,300 for the Berkeley Heights American Cancer Society Relay for Life. The event was spearheaded by Becki Hayes, founder of the Pearly Girls Relay for Life squad who lost her mother to lung cancer, and hosted by TMTC owner and cancer survivor Arlene Reardon.
More than a dozen TMTC faculty members, students and alumni donated their time providing 26 one-hour massages with recipients making a contribution of $40 each, raising $1,149. An event supporter doubled the contributions, bring the total donation to the Cancer Society to $2,298.
Hayes founded the Pearly Girls relay team in honor of her mother, who died from lung cancer.
“My parents used to call my sister and I the Pearly Girls when we were little,” she said. “The (ribbon) color for lung cancer is pearl. When we had to choose a team name we decided on the Pearly Girls in her honor. I wanted to help see to it that other mom’s have many more birthdays and their lives are not cut short as hers was to cancer.”
TMTC is very active in supporting community causes through massage therapy, according to Reardon. In addition, her own experience overcoming cancer made support of this event a perfect fit for the school, she added.
“As massage therapists we are healers,” Reardon said. “Massage allows the body, mind and emotions to move toward health. In addition, a desire to help others is the prominent attribute to becoming a great massage therapist. And because I have experienced cancer on the most personal level, supporting Becki and her team made perfect sense to me.”
“I was so amazed and humbled to see a group of strangers come together and create such positive energy, all for the benefit of others receiving nothing in return,” Hayes said.
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