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Bergen Sisters Raise Money For Cancer Research At Kids' Dance-A-Thon

From the left, sisters and co-hosts Sarah Harinstein of Ridgewood and Maryana Winston of Franklin Lakes. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Sarah Harinstein
From the left, Mackenzie Cox, 8, of Franklin Lakes and Josie Harinstein, 3, Aliza Harinstein, 9, and Kate Harinstein, 6, all of Ridgewood. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Sarah Harinstein

RIDGEWOOD, N.J. -- Sarah Harinstein and her 9-year-old daughter Aliza are both survivors of rare forms of cancer, and for the past three years, Harinstein and her husband, Jason, have participated in Cycle for Survival to raise funds for rare cancer research at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

After the Rigdewood resident’s sister, Maryana Winston, of Franklin Lakes, joined them last year, the sisters decided to host their own event, as well, to get their kids involved.

“With Cycle For Survival, it’s done with stationary bikes, but it’s fun and it’s a party,” said Harinstein, 40, who was diagnosed with leiomyosarcoma in 2014 and had it removed with surgery. “We thought about what our kids would like. They love dancing and music and that’s how we came up with the Dance-A-Thon.”

So on Jan. 29, they held the inaugural kids' Dance-A-Thon for Cancer Research at Shadow Lake Clubhouse in Franklin Lakes, raising more than $8,000 to add to the funds they collected for Cycle for Survival held in Paramus on Feb. 12.

“Because everything was donated to us (our venue, food, and DJ), we were able to give 100% of the raised funds to Memorial Sloan Kettering for rare cancer research,” said Harinstein, who also has two other daughters, Kate, 6 and Josie, 3.

The kids helped raise money for the event, and they invited area friends (plus a parent chaperone) to the dance.

Aliza, a third-grader at Ridge Elementary School who was diagnosed with infant leukemia at 11 months old, wrote a personal note in the invitation, while Harinstein, Aliza, Winston and Winston’s eldest daughter, Caroline Cox, 12, pounded the pavement to solicit food donations from local merchants.

In the end, it was a lot of work, but well worth it, Harinstein said. About 50 kids joined in the fun. And Harinstein has been asked if she’ll do it again next year.

“I think we will,” she said. “I think next year we would love to make it bigger and better and make more money.”

Local merchants that donated include:

  • Cupcakes by Carousel, Ridgewood
  • The Pizza Parlor, Wyckoff
  • Uncle Louie's Pizzeria, Franklin Lakes
  • Dunkin' Donuts, Franklin Lakes and Wyckoff
  • Fardale Deli and Minimart, Mahwah
  • Market Basket, Franklin Lakes

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