"Cancer was a little bit of a surprise,” said Jeff Becker in describing the illness of his daughter, Sydney, at her "Strike Out Pediatric Cancer" fundraiser on Sunday at the Livingston Oval.
In her continuing fight against osteosarcoma, a form of bone cancer, in her left leg, Sydney will undergo surgery Thursday to have a large portion of her shin bone removed and replaced with a “shiny” artificial tibia.
“We may even bedazzle it,” he joked. With his warm, heartfelt opening remarks, Becker set the tone for a fundraiser that proved to be a true celebration of life.
Everywhere people were enjoying the camaraderie of a community brought together by one 12-year old’s with cancer and her dedication to helping others.
Proceeds from the event will benefit Make Some Noise: Cure Kid’s Cancer Foundation (www.makenoise4kids.org) founded by Florham Park resident, Malcolm Sutherland-Foggio, who was diagnosed with cancer two years ago when he was 10.
Malcolm was present at yesterday’s fundraiser and thanked everyone for their support before pointing out that less than 3 percent of federal cancer research funding goes to pediatric cancer and that a child in the United States has a one in 320 chance of being diagnosed with the disease.
Yesterday’s fundraiser included a “Home Run Derby” for kids, an inflatable obstacle course, a two-mile fun run/spring walk around the Oval, face painting and temporary tattoos, a DJ and music provided by Unique Musique, along with food and drinks for sale. Volunteers also took orders for “Team Sydney” T-shirts which sold out early (see ordering details below) while handing out bracelets which could be purchased for a small fee.
While many of the more than 1,000 attendees were clearly friends and teammates of Sydney, plenty were there to support the cause.
“I love the fact that Livingston is rallying together to help fund pediatric cancer research,” said resident Mark Kaplan. “This community is terrific.”
We did, indeed, rally. And in joining in her fight to Strike Out Pediatric Cancer, we all came together yesterday in the name of life.
Note: “Team Sydney” shirts are $15 each and come in sizes Youth Small through Adult 2X. You may order them by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please allow a few weeks for delivery. To read Sydney’s , log onto www.caringbridge.org/visit/sydneybecker.