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Pascack Valley Daily Voice serves Emerson, Hillsdale, Montvale, Park Ridge, River Vale, Washington Township, Westwood & Woodcliff Lake

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Pink laces bind squad, community in fight against cancer

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot
Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

LACES FOR A CURE: There’s time left to help the Washington Township Falcon cheerleaders raise awareness and funds for research to fight cancer. The mission is near and dear to the hearts of the cheerleaders and their loved ones, who have been wearing pink shoelaces to every Falcon football game this month: One of the young ladies is a courageous cancer survivor.

“So many of our Falcon football and cheerleading family members have been touched in some way by this disease,” said Tracy Glock, one of the campaign organizers. ” ‘Laces for a Cure’ is part of our community outreach.”

You can get your own pink laces for only $5 a pair. All proceeds are being donated to two wonderful causes: The Butterfly Program at Valley Hospital and The Guma Foundation (more below).

And although the cheerleaders so far have raised more than $600, they’re not stopping there. They’re going to keep selling through the football season — and possibly beyond.

Helping boost the cause is one of the squad’s own, Brianna Commerford, who is this year’s National Youth Ambassador for Hyundai’s Hope on Wheels program. 

Brianna, 14, was already a top soccer player and horseback rider when she found a lump on her neck nearly five years ago. Nine months of doctor visits, tests, scans and surgeries led to a diagnosis of tage IV Hodgkin’s lymphoma at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York City. Then came a year of chemotherapy, transfusions, infections and hospital and clinic stays.

She kept fighting, helping to raise more than $20,000 for the American Cancer Society through her “Bri Strong” Relay for Life team, and spending time with young hospitalized cancer patients.

“I called my treatment time my ’journey to wellness’,” Brianna said last year.

Now in remission, Brianna is not only playing soccer and riding again — she’s cheering for both the Falcons and the “Pink Laces” campaign. Her ultimate goal: the end of childhood cancer.

To get your laces, or to help in the fight, email Tracy Glock:

The Guma Foundation is run by Michael Guma, whose son, Christian, is a senior Falcon football player.  Founded in 1991, the purpose is to provide assistance to those in need — whether it be through scholarships or to create a positive environment for a sick child. The Gumas and others who participate consider it a privilege to help others.

The Butterfly Program provides pediatric hospice for terminal young cancer patients. Valley Home Care’s program provides comprehensive home-care services for children, adolescents, and their families, both during the illness and after death. Because Medicaid and private insurance do not fully cover the operating costs of this program, donations are needed.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The photo at the top of this story was taken by Manny Stellacci, a father of two of the senior Falcon cheerleaders.

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