WEST ORANGE, NJ - The Susan G. Komen North Jersey Race for the Cure was held at the Essex County South Mountain Recreation Complex in West Orange on Sunday. The event brought thousands of women, men, and children from northern New Jersey and beyond to raise funds that support education, screening and treatment services to uninsured and underinsured women and men in the Affiliate’s nine county service region.

Public Relations Representative for Susan G. Komen for the Cure North Jersey, Kathi Edelson Wolder, was delighted with the turnout.

“We are really excited about the momentum. We couldn’t be happier about the trend of public participation in this event,” she said. More than 5,000 people attended the Race for the Cure which featured a 5K Chip-Timed Race, a 5K Walk, and a one-mile Fun Walk. There were also a range of entertaining activities including music by the show band, “The Infernos.”

Tables and booths with health information for the public were available during the event which included the North Jersey Community Grant Recipients. In addition, corporate sponsors were on hand to discuss their products and services with the public. A special Survivor Tent was provided exclusively for survivors and their guests. New this year was The Blue Wave tent dedicated to an awareness campaign led by Alexis Gubbay of Maplewood and Cheri Ambrose of East Hanover.  Alexis and Cheri have a campaign to give voice to the many men affected by breast cancer.

Groups of people wearing their team’s tee-shirts assembled early in the morning to run, walk, and support the cause. Angeline Li of New Providence was a member of the 15 person race group, Team Rockafellow.  Rockafellow was the maiden name of her fiancé Tim Farrell’s mother and aunt who the family lost to breast cancer.

“I lost several family members and a lot of people that are close to me from breast cancer," Li said. "I think it is important to get out awareness and raise money for research.” 

Another team was assembled by St. Vincent’s in Newark and was participating for the fifth year. “Team Eileen” was walking in memory of Sister Eileen Bradshaw. Team member Phyllis Annichiarico said, “It moves me to watch all of these strong women continue to fight for a cure.”

Before the race, runners were led in an energetic “Jazzercise” warm-up led by Stephanie Akers and Cris Pucciarello from East Hanover. Akers said, “The turnout is fabulous and unbelievable for a terrific cause.”  Stacey Ewing was one of the runners who warmed up with Jazzercise. Ewing said, “I love it, it’s enthusiastic.”

The Master of Ceremonies for North Jersey’s Race for the Cure was Anthony Johnson, Eyewitness News Reporter. His wife, Pat Battle, is the co-anchor for NBC4’s “Weekend Today in New York.” She served as the event’s Survivor Ambassador.  Her early stage breast cancer was diagnosed in the fall of 2010. Since that time, Battle has been passionately committed to raising awareness about early detection. As a co-survivor, Johnson acknowledged the huge impact that breast cancer has on everyone in a family. 

A highlight of the event was The Survivor Procession and Survivor Ceremony which featured hundreds of breast cancer survivors who took to the stage wearing pink caps and raising their arms in triumph over the disease. One survivor, Laurie Spiegel of Florham Park said, “This is a fabulous event. It is my second time here and it is a wonderful feeling to be with a whole group of people in celebration of life. It is empowering.”

For more information on the Susan G. Komen for the Cure of North Jersey, call 908-277-2904, e-mail cure@komennorthjersey.org, or visit the website www.komennorthjersey.org.