Washington Township Woman Organizes 5K Dash For Her Father [AUDIO]
A Washington Township family has turned tragedy into a positive with a yearly charity run.
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Dan Fisher was just 44 years old when he lost a battle with esophageal cancer. He left behind his wife, Ann and three children, Jessica, Amanda, and Danny.
The family was frustrated that their husband and father’s cancer had been caused by something as common as heartburn, so the Fischer family set out to make sure that no other family endured what they did because they did not know that heartburn could cause cancer.
Jessica, the eldest of the three Fischer children, wanted to become more involved with the esophageal cancer cause, but was having trouble finding dedicated events around New Jersey.
“I was like, ‘You know what, I’m just going to make my own event,’” she explained, “So, last year was our first esophageal cancer 5K.”
That 5K run is called Dash for Dan. The second annual event will be held on Sunday, September 30 Meadow Breeze Park, in Washington Township at 11AM.
The dash offers Jessica and her family an opportunity to raise awareness and money to learn more about the cancer, while also honoring their late father.
“He fought like a champ, he really did. So, if he was able to do that, I could at least put together a 5K.”
As the wheels got churning on organizing the inaugural event, Jessica noticed a particular trend around her very own town.
“There were a number of other families that had lost somebody, so that’s another reason that drove me to have this,” Fisher said.
Year one was a huge success, as 215 runners turned out, which raised $9,000 for the Esophageal Cancer Action Network. They are expecting an even bigger turnout and more activities this time around.
This year, Big Daddy Entertainment will play live music, Zumba with Melissa will warm runners up. There will also be Periwinkle Pastries, and Periwinkle Extensions available by a professional stylist, Karen Flint.
Jessica said, “What I really want to get out of this is if another family doesn’t lose their father or their mother, that it makes everything completely worth it.”
The event is echoed by the theme of the importance of early detection for this cancer.
“I can say it a thousand times, and I’ll say it out-loud. I just want people to know that heartburn causes cancer.”
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The Father Jim McKenna Memorial Fund is scheduled to hold a Recovery Rally in honor of National Recovery Month on September 22. The goal of the event is to educate the public about addiction and to support those struggling with the disease. The rally will be held at Overpeck Park from 12pm to 3pm. The mission of the Father Jim McKenna Memorial Fund is to continue the work started by Father Jim McKenna, to assist through charitable contributions and to otherwise support those recovering from addiction to alcohol and drugs. To learn more, visit their website.