When her sister was diagnosed with a brain tumor last month, Weehawken resident Yvette Guaba decided she was not going to take the terrible news lying down. Instead she decided to pound the pavement, literally.
This month Guaba and at least three other Weehawken residents will be participating in the National Brain Tumor Society’s 5K walk on Governors Island in New York in honor of Guaba’s sister, currently facing several more surgeries for treatment.
The four “Weehawken Walkers” will join with people from around the country in the inaugural New York walk – which is one of the nine that take place throughout the year for the National Brain Tumor Society to raise awareness and essential funds for research and patient services.
“It was a great experience, I’m definitely going to continue doing it for as long as I can.” – Roselyn Fernandez
Over the past couple of months Weehawken residents have laced up their sneakers and hit the road to raise awareness and money, garnering thousands of dollars for various non-profit organizations.
In April, Weehawken even played host to one event – the annual “Lincoln Tunnel Challenge,” a 5K run/walk that draws out thousands of participants and benefits Special Olympics New Jersey.
Hoping for a cure
In addition, last month, a group of walkers known as “Team Hope and Cure” completed the 2011 Revlon Walk/Run for women’s cancers. One of the moms involved in a local “play date” group had battled cancer and survived.
“She was so brave,” said Roselyn Fernandez, who helped organize the group. “She went through the process so gracefully.”
In honor of their friend’s brave fight against cancer, the group decided to honor her by participating in the walk.
Although they found out about the Revlon Walk only a month before the event, Team Hope and Cure was still able to attract over 20 participants and raise nearly $4,500 for the cause.
Fernandez said that seeing so many people who have dealt with cancer come together with the so many supporters was incredible.
“It was a great experience,” she said. “I’m definitely going to continue doing it for as long as I can.”
While Fernandez raised money for the Revlon Walk, her 6-year-old son was busy raising money for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.
A student at the Daniel Webster School, Fernandez’s son took part in the school’s “math-a-thon” which was a fundraiser for the children’s research hospital.
“We were both raising money at the same time,” said Fernandez. “It was a nice experience [to] teach him to give back, especially to kids.”
And it seems that fundraising as a family is a popular notion in town.
For the past few years Lisa Phillips has participated in “Walk With Us To Cure Lupus” and has been recruiting her family members to get involved, too.
This May she walked with her two daughters and other family members as they took part in the event at Meadowlands Stadium.
Phillips’ daughter, Lucy, said she loves participating in the event to support her mother. “I do it because it means so much to her,” she said. “It makes me feel good cause it makes her feel good.”
Details for upcoming walk
The National Brain Tumor Society 5K Walk in New York will take place on June 18 on Governors Island. Registration begins at 7 a.m. and programs and activities run from 8:30 a.m. to noon. The event will include a scenic walk, family activities, food, prizes and more.
The mission of the National Brain Tumor Society is to find a cure and to improve the quality of life for those affected by brain tumors through funding strategic research, delivering support services, and promoting collaboration.
“The funds raised from the walk will enable us to fund innovative research and support for those already coping with a brain tumor diagnosis,” said N. Paul TonThat, executive director of the National Brain Tumor Society.
According to NBTS, each year more than 210,000 adults and children in the United States are diagnosed with a brain tumor, the leading cause of solid tumor cancer death in children under age 20, and the second leading cause of cancer death in young adults age 20 to 39. In the last three years, NBTS funded more than $10 million in brain tumor research throughout North America. To support the team from Weehawken, visit http://www.braintumorcommunity.org/goto/OrchidDominguezTeam. For more information, email NYWalk@braintumor.org or call (866) 455-3214.
Lana Rose Diaz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.