Children's Tumor Foundation 5K on Oct. 14 at Holmdel Park
On Sunday people will gather at Holmdel Park to raise awareness and funds for treatment of neurofibromatosis (NF) with a 5K walk and benefit.
All proceeds from the NF Walk will support the Children's Tumor Foundation's medical research, patient support, and public education programs.
The Wardell family will be participating in the Central Jersey NF Walk because their daughter, Gabriela, was diagnosed with neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) shortly after her birth seven years ago.
At her six month wellness visit, Gabby's doctor noticed a number of café au lait spots on her body, an indicator of NF. He recommended that Gabby undergo several MRIs at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia to check her bone density and monitor for optic glioma tumors in her brain.
"Our hearts sank and immediate panic set in, especially since we were first-time parents," said Andrew Wardell, Gabby's father, "The next six months, as Gabby endured test after test, were the most uneasy and scary moments of our entire lives."
Thankfully, Gabby seems to have a mild case of NF1 and is a happy, energetic child. However, the Wardells know that NF is an unpredictable disorder and that her situation could change on any given day. They are also aware that other children living with NF are not as fortunate as their daughter.
"In our numerous trips to Philadelphia we have met many brave little boys and girls and their parents. That is why we created Team Gabby’s Gang, to fundraise for neurofibromatosis research and spread awareness through participation in the Central Jersey NF Walk," said Andrew.
The event will include a walk, a 5K run, a “stroller derby” for families with small children, snacks, refreshments, kids races, and fun activities throughout the morning. School groups and corporate teams are encouraged to participate.
NF is a progressive disorder that causes tumors to grow on nerves throughout the body. It affects millions of people worldwide and is more prevalent than cystic fibrosis, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, and Huntington's disease combined. The disorder can lead to deafness, blindness, bone abnormalities, learning disabilities, and cancer, but NF research is shedding new light on those and other complications as the Foundation searches for effective treatments for neurofibromatosis.
“Parents of kids living with NF, like the Wardells, have proven time and again that they will go to the ends of the earth and do anything to find treatments for their child. If their passion alone could fund NF research, this debilitating disorder would have ceased to exist years ago,” said Traceann Adams, Director of the NF Walk Program at the Children’s Tumor Foundation. “Events like the NF Walk serve as great opportunities to increase awareness about neurofibromatosis and raise funds to find treatments for those affected.”
“This is a great opportunity for local area residents to raise public awareness of NF, and help secure critical funding for the cutting edge research that benefits the fields of cancer, genetics, heart disease, and learning disabilities," said event organizer John McCarthy of Holmdel, who serves on the national board of directors of the Foundation.
"It is a great chance for Holmdel and the surrounding community to show what we can do to help a great cause and the hundreds of families in Monmouth County living with NF.
It will also give people from all around the State of New Jersey a chance to enjoy the day at Holmdel Park and hopefully stay afterwards to enjoy historic Longstreet Farm and all the area has to offer.”
For more information about the October 14th, 2012 NF Walk at Holmdel Park, please visit www.nfwalk.org/NJ which also provides the opportunity to register for the walk, the 5k, the children’s races, or to volunteer.
About Children’s Tumor Foundation
The Children's Tumor Foundation is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that is dedicated to improving the health and well-being of the millions of people worldwide living with neurofibromatosis (NF), a term for three distinct disorders: NF1, NF2 and schwannomatosis.
NF causes tumors to grow on nerves throughout the body and can lead to blindness, bone abnormalities, cancer, deafness, disfigurement, learning disabilities, and excruciating and disabling pain.
NF is under-recognized and underdiagnosed yet affects more people than cystic fibrosis, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, and Huntington’s disease combined.
The Children’s Tumor Foundation funds critical research to find treatments for NF. In addition to benefitting those who live with neurofibromatosis, this research is shedding new light on several forms of cancer, brain tumors, bone abnormalities, and learning disabilities, ultimately benefiting the broader community. For more information, please visit www.ctf.org.