Team Jersey Walks for Cancer Research
On April 30, 24-year-old Morgan Jareck will lead a crowd of 75 friends and Allendale, N.J., neighbors through the streets of Times Square and Central Park for the 5K Revlon Run/Walk for Women to remember her mom, Peggy Jareck, who died of colon cancer last year at the age of 53.
On April 30, 24-year-old Morgan Jareck will lead a crowd of 75 friends and Allendale, N.J., neighbors through the streets of Times Square and Central Park. Wearing the team’s signature red T-shirt, Jareck will hoist a “Team Jersey” sign above her head, reading, “I’m Participating in Support of: My Mom.”
Jareck has gotten nearly everyone she knows in Allendale to march in the 5K Revlon Run/Walk for Women to remember her mom, Peggy Jareck, who died of colon cancer last year at the age of 53. Their group, Team Jersey, will be making their second appearance at the annual cancer fund raiser, more than doubling their number since last year.
Currently, they are among the top 80 largest teams of the 850 registered, said Matt Margulies, the associate producer of the event. With a week to go until the event, they are only a few hundred dollars away from their $10,000 goal, with donations currently totaling $9,490.
“Before my mother was diagnosed with cancer, I didn’t have any real strong involvement with cancer research,” Morgan explained. “When my mother passed away last year, I really wanted to get involved. I know I’m young, but I feel that every little bit can help.”
Just five months after her mother passed away, Jareck organized a group of 32 friends and family for the Revlon Run/Walk. Walking alongside her father and brother, the team honored Peggy Jareck’s memory on the back of their T-shirts and raised a total of $6,445.
“For me, it’s really about honoring the people who have been touched by cancer and those who have fought the battle,” said Anne Matarazzo, an Allendale resident and member of Team Jersey. “Some have won, and unfortunately, some haven’t.”
Matarazzo, who is walking for the second time this year, is walking to honor Peggy Jareck and her mother who died of cancer three years ago. This year, it’s a family event as her husband and four children are all registered to walk. The Matarazzos are one of many Allendale families turning quality time into support for a good cause and the Jareck family.
“Cancer has crossed way too many paths,” Matarazzo said.
With so many people affected by cancer each year, awareness about cancer prevention and early detection has increased. But cancer incidence rates still go up every year, said Stephanie Diamond, spokesperson for the American Cancer Society. In 2005, 1,372,910 people are expected to develop cancer, and 570,000 are expected to die. That is a rate of more than 1,500 deaths per day.
“Every year it seems like someone very important to me is diagnosed with cancer,” said Suzanne Matarazzo, one of Anne Matarazzo’s three daughters. She is returning to the Revlon Run/Walk for the fifth year in a row.
With participants returning each year and the recruitment of new team members, the Revlon event has grown about 5 percent each year, Marguiles said.
“People are realizing that cancer can affect them, and they want to do something about it now so they never have to hear the word ‘cancer,’ and their kids never have hear the word,” Diamond said.
The Revlon Run/Walk supports the formation of teams to increase participation and donations. But having your friends and family there also helps to make it fun. Teams often return year after year with new homemade T-shirts and new fund-raising techniques, Marguiles said.
“You’re so happy to see people you haven’t seen in a long time, you just end up gabbing the whole way,” Anne Matarazzo said. “There’s so many people walking, you bump into people along the way and you’re like, ‘hey, I know you!’”
For Jareck, it’s a day to raise money, honor the memory of her mother and come together with those who have been there for her and her family.
“It means more than words can say that people are joining to support my family,” Jareck said. “We’ve had such a strong support system, and we know that everyone is doing it for the right reasons and because they care about us.”
The money raised for the Revlon Run/Walk will be donated to 15 beneficiaries, including the National Women’s Cancer Research Alliance, Gilda’s Club of New York and Saint Vincent’s Catholic Medical Centers of New York. The organizations include institutes for cancer research, cancer treatment and cancer support groups.
“As an added bonus, I’ve decided to run this year,” said Joe Jareck, Morgan’s older brother. “So seeing me hyperventilate and convulse at the finish line might be extra incentive.”
To learn more about the event, visit the Revlon Web site at www.revlonrunwalk.com/ny. To sponsor Team Jersey, choose “Sponsor a Participant” and donate under the name Morgan Jareck.