By Freeholder Tom Arnone
The 1st Annual Pound the Pavement for Purple 5K Run/ 2 Mile Walk for Pancreatic Cancer was held Saturday, November 1st and was a tremendous success despite the unpredictable weather conditions presented by Mother Nature. In fact, I believe the cold temperature along with the wind and rain only contributed in helping to make this race not only a memorable one but an extremely positive and inspirational experience.
First and foremost on behalf of Neptune Township Committeeman Eric Houghtaling and me, we would like to thank everyone who worked so diligently on putting this race together and ensuring its success. To begin with, a tremendous thank you to the outstanding joint committee mostly comprised of Neptune Township and Monmouth County employees, namely Michele Narciso, Tiffany Bailoni, Sandra Petersen, Carina Santos, Mike Zarro, Fred Rummel and Darlene Di Leo. Thank you also to Gail Temple and my wife Chickie Arnone who also worked hard on the committee. All of these people were instrumental in helping Committeeman Eric Houghtaling and me bring this effort to fruition.
A special thank you to the very talented and creative high school junior, Kaylie Vega, who was the creative genius behind the artwork design for the race t-shirts. Thank you also to the Neptune Township Police Department, the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Department, Buildings and Grounds, OEM, and of course the multitude of sponsors who so willingly donated. The generous donations of the sponsors help to not only raise awareness of Pancreatic Cancer but will help allow the research to continue that is necessary and vital in finding a cure for this devastating disease.
In addition to all the men/women power behind the scenes, we were met with an amazing outpouring of food donations from local businesses that went to the runners/walkers after the race was complete. Food donations of bagels to bananas were donated to help keep up the energy level of all the runners and walkers who braved the weather and finished strong.
There were several motivating speakers who were present at the race including a representative from the Lusgarten Foundation as well as a local business owner who is a Pancreatic Cancer survivor. Each one of them spoke to the crowd about the advances being made through research. Greg Stephanides, owner of OMG Yogurt in Wall even shared his personal story as a survivor in an effort to not only raise awareness but to give hope.
Our efforts were joined by a young girl who had taken on as her own project to become part of the Pound for Pavement for Purple effort. She independently rose over $2,000 on behalf of her grandfather who is currently battling Pancreatic Cancer. What an inspiration this young girl was to all! To say the least, to be part of a community wide effort such as this is something I am very proud of. I could not be more proud of every individual involved who clearly stepped up, worked fast and furiously together as a team driven to ensure a success. These incredible individuals gave so generously not only their time but gave of themselves to help make a difference in the lives of those less fortunate. An all around commendable effort and one I very much look forward to being a part of again for the 2nd Annual Pound the Pavement for Purple 5K Run/2 Mile Walk in the fight against Pancreatic Cancer.