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  What is Care to Walk/Run     IN LOVING MEMORY  
 

This year's event is dedicated to two remarkable women who had lost their battle with cancer but whose lives were an inspiration to many and whose passing are reminders of why we continue to walk: Doreen Mastropolo Schlageter and Judith Stevenson. Both are truly missed.

           
 

WHAT IS CARE TO WALK/RUN?

The Care to Walk/Run North Brunswick is an annual 5K event first held in 1999 to honor cancer survivors, remember those who lost their battles with the disease, and raise awareness about steps we can take to reduce breast and ovarian cancer risk.

Founded in 1998 by a group of women in North Brunswick, New Jersey who had personally dealt with breast and/or ovarian cancer, Care to Walk/Run has raised over $250,000 in support of cancer awareness, with proceeds going to The Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey (CINJ).

This year’s Walk/Run will be held on Sunday, October 15 at the NBTHS Football Field. On-site registration and check-in starts at 8:00 am, with the main event set to begin at 9:00 am.

Find out more or register.

     
 
     

DOREEN MASTROPOLO SCHLAGETER

You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.

Doreen was unique – an inspiration to everyone who knew her. She was incredibly strong. She fought, and beat the odds, her entire life. Born with a hole in her heart she had her first surgery at 2 years old and her second at 9 years old. She lost a child – her son’s twin sister. She fought cancer not once, not twice but three times. Her battle began in 2006 when she was diagnosed with adenoid cystic carcinoma – salivary gland cancer which was found in her lung. Not only is it a rare type of cancer, when it’s found in the lung most times it has already metastasized. After months of doctor visits and testing to make sure it had not spread she had surgery to remove her lung. She was cancer free for eight years. In 2014 the cancer returned and after 8 weeks of radiation and chemo, she was again cancer free, until July 2016 when it reared its ugly head once again. This time in her spine and stage 4. No matter how many times she was knocked down, she picked herself up, brushed off the dirt and continued living. And this time would be no different. She knew she had the fight of her life ahead of her, not only for herself, but for her children. With her son and daughter, her mom, two sisters and niece by her side she did what she did best – she fought, and fought hard. Through it all she never lost her sense of humor or her sense of adventure. Even while receiving treatment, she had other patients in the suite smiling and laughing with her and her kids as they played silly games to pass the time. And having one lung did not stop her either. She did Bridge Runs with co-workers, zip lined over the streets of old Las Vegas while on vacation with her family. She regularly walked laps around the track at the local high school. She participated in every Care To Walk event since the beginning. First in support of her sister, who is an ovarian cancer survivor. Then after her diagnosis they walked side-by-side as survivors.

Doreen was well known as the town cheerleader, attending many sporting events even when her kids weren’t playing. She never missed a single football, baseball, basketball or soccer game, or track meet for her kids. When her son was coaching, she was there to support him. She drove to New Hampshire, alone and while on treatment, to watch her daughter’s first college soccer tournament. When she found out one of her daughter’s teammates liked pumpkin bread, what did she do – she made her pumpkin bread. She had a huge heart and would do anything for anyone. Her door was always open and she welcomed anyone into her home and family. She was known as “Mom” to all her kids’ friends. She would even keep some of their favorite foods on hand just in case they stopped by – and they did, often, and not always to see her son or daughter, but to see her.

Her co-workers called her “Mama”, and they would do anything for her. Some described her as daring, optimistic – always saw the glass half full – and never giving up. When they found out her cancer had returned and she needed time off for treatments, many of them donated their own vacation days to her. After suffering seizures, a side effect of the trial drug she was on, they alternated driving her back and forth to work. One of them even took a day off to take her for treatment when she had no transportation.

Doreen was a loving mother, daughter, sister and aunt. She raised two incredibly strong, independent and loving children. They were her life. She was very proud of them and loved them to the moon and back. She loved spending time with her family. Whether it was a lazy weekend at mom’s, sitting by the water, a cold drink in hand and singing karaoke with her sisters or in her own back yard with her kids. She had a quick wit and could light up a room with her smile and personality. She knew how to have fun and could get any party started – especially when that party included a dance floor! She didn’t need music either – she definitely danced to the beat of her own drum and took along anyone who wanted to follow. She is dearly missed by her family, extended family, and friends. She was an inspiration and hero to all that crossed her path. She was strong... because being strong was the only choice she had.

 

JUDITH STEVENSON

A fabulous listener, Judy was a strong woman who exuded kindness and delighted in making the people around her happy. Her greatest joy was to be surrounded by loved ones and to care for them. She took pride in the lives and growth of her children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews. Their accomplishments brought her the biggest smile.

Judy fought breast cancer for almost 5 years. She maintained a positive attitude through the challenges she faced. She took on adversity with a fierce determination and strength that was inspiring to all. During her fight she continued to enjoy life to the fullest and hated when others treated her like she was "sick". She just wanted to enjoy every day as much as her health would allow until the end. 

Her fortitude and patience made Judy someone that people could turn to for help and guidance. She also influenced the community through the many organizations she participated in that helped others. She was known as North Brunswick's best baseball Grandma when her Grandchildren Henry and Alison played Little League. She attended hundreds of games and cooked dinner for countless team mates while they swam in her pool. 

We were blessed to learn many valuable life lessons from Judy, among them: treat every child like your own, cursive writing is still alive, always have your home well-stocked because you never know who will need a toothbrush, you are never too old to have a sleepover with your girlfriends, and the beach makes everything better.

 

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