A group of girls from Mendham, tied together by a deadly disease decide to fight back with a little Dancing and Dessert. Four 12 year olds, Meaghan, Analisa, Ally and Katie all have family members with cancer. “We all hate cancer because it has affected all of us personally in some way”. Breast cancer took Meaghan’s mother. Analisa’s mother fought breast cancer and is a 3 year survivor. Ally has a history of different cancers in her family and” we lost my aunt to Neurofibromatosis Type 2 (NF2) last year” she said. That’s a disorder that causes tumors to grow anywhere in or on the body. “ Tumors are terrible no matter what,” said Katie.
The four friends put their heads together and got to work. They wanted to help raise money for cancer research and thought a 6th grade dance would be a great way to do it. In Mendham, 6th graders are rarely included in school or recreation sponsored dances. The Brookside Community Club, generously donated the perfect location and the girls selected the Susan G Komen North Jersey Chapter as the beneficiary of the proceeds of their event. “We did not want it to be expensive or to have our parents pay for everything. “We wanted everyone to come and have fun and spread the message about breast cancer awareness. For a little more than the $5 ticket price, people could make a donation or bid on one of our donated auction items,” Analisa added.
Word spread fast. Kids were talking about it all over town and the girls collected several donated items for a silent auction, including a beautiful ruby heart pendant that adorns my neck, a Mother’s Day gift that gave back. Pink attire was suggested and quickly the “pink and white party” was born. Weeks leading up to the big event included numerous trips to the mall, planned meetings at the nail salon and pre-dance picture parties.sw
While this was not a school sponsored event, Mendham Township Middle School Principal, Patrick Ciccone allowed the girls to hand out flyers in their homeroom classes and the 6thgrade teachers donated a highly coveted auction item. Several local businesses and families donated auction items and refreshments. Sal Biondo of 7pm DJs signed on to spin the music for the party. The girls really put together a wonderful event, driven by their passion to spread the news and help find a cure for cancer.
After a tough week of NJ state testing in the schools, over 100 students and parents turned out from Mendham Township. They were joined by a group from the St. Joseph School in Mendham Boro who heard about the event and wanted to participate. With admissions and generous donations, the girls were able to donate over $3300.00 to the Susan G Komen North Jersey Chapter. A major success and super effort put forth by the four young ladies with huge hearts.
It is an honor to write about these wonderful girls and their families. They understand the gift of giving back, to live life to the fullest, to stare down adversity and keep moving forward. To live these principles at such a young age, I know they are destined for greatness.
To learn more visit www.komen.com