Tuesday, March 9, 2010

A Walk to Benefit Local Cancer Patients

After walking in last year’s Susan G. Komen breast cancer 3-day walk, Lisa Forman had a brainstorm. She knew so many South Jersey neighbors with cancer who she wanted to help. Combining her zeal for physical fitness with her determination to fund cancer research locally, she put her dream into action. Three short months later, Forman’s grassroots effort became the first Walk 4 Family & Friends with Cancer.

This year, she hopes to double the number of walkers and the amount of money raised during the second annual walk, which will take place on April 17th. Forman’s enthusiasm for the cause began when she lost her grandmother to breast cancer at age 54.

“Living in Voorhees, I see cancer around me all the time,” she pointed out. “We have so much of it in our area. I wanted to do something locally. We came up with four miles and donating to the leading four cancers that seem to be the most common in the South Jersey area.”

Those include lung cancer, the leading cause of cancer death in the US; breast cancer, which affects one in eight women in our country; skin cancer, which will be diagnosed in more than a million people this year; and ovarian cancer, which accounts for more deaths than any other female reproductive cancer.

“I really wanted somebody to focus on why it seems to be prevalent in South Jersey, but I discovered that it’s happening all over,” she explained. “After talking to a lot of cancer foundations they said it’s not any worse in Cherry Hill or Voorhees than it is anywhere else, it’s just that we have a lot more people in a condensed area.”

A portion of the money raised by the walk will provide support for other cancer patients in need. “We hope that this fund will enable us to help pay for non-medical expenses, such as rent, utilities, transportation, babysitting, and things of that nature,” Marjorie Dannenbaum, Jewish Family and Children’s Services Cancer Program Coordinator, said. “There’s an incredible, emerging need.”

This year’s walk will take place on April 17th at 8:00, leaving from Connelly Park in Voorhees. Runners and walkers can take part in the four mile course, which Forman said is “beautiful and challenging. We feel like we’re making a difference and doing something locally.”

For more information about the walk, visit www.walk4family-friendswithcancer.org. If you have cancer and are in need of assistance, visit www.jfcssnj.org.

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