Nearly 400 walkers took to the pavement at the Joan Knechel Memorial Walk on October 21st with one mission: raise money for the Joan Knechel Cancer Center at Hackettstown Regional Medical Center.
Mission accomplished! The walkers, young and old, some walking alone, some in large groups, many representing loved ones lost to or currently fighting cancer, raised more than $58,000 at the 5th anniversary of the Joan Knechel Memorial Walk.
It was an incredible experience, said Marie Accetturo, chair of the Walk Committee. It was a picture-perfect day and a picture-perfect finish - the weather was absolutely beautiful and the walkers did a great job gathering pledges to make the final dollar amount raised be one that we can all be proud of! Sanofi aventis was the premier sponsor of this popular annual event.
A new element added to this years walk was the Dove Tree. Supporters purchased approximately 200 silver doves "In honor of" or "In memory of" those who have battled cancer. The doves were displayed on a tree at the walk site and they glittered and blew in the breeze as a fitting reminder to all of the importance of the day.
As always, the Walk began with a moving musical escort, led this year by bagpiper Jeanie Gingles. In addition to the exercise, Walk participants enjoyed pre-Walk music by DJ Lunden Fog, face painting by Katie Francis and friends, free food, prizes, fun with Jinxx the Clown, and post-Walk live music by local favorites, Mef & Angela.
Walk organizers were thrilled with additional volunteer participation that occurred this year, thanks in large part to members of the HRMC laboratory and Girl Scouts from Troop 409 of Independence Township and Troop 1805 of Rockaway Township. The HRMC Lab staff put their sewing skills to work as they made quilts for a quilt raffle and sold handmade Cancer Bears at HRMC in the months leading up to the Walk. The Girl Scouts assisted with the Dove Tree and also made buttons and magnets to advertise the Walk.
Were so fortunate to have the participation of many generous groups and individuals, said Accetturo. Our thanks go out to all of the food and door prize donors, as well as those performers who donated their time and talents. We also extend our sincere appreciation to the members of the Mountain Lake Fire Company and Ladies Auxiliary who made all of the event day logistics come together at their wonderful facility.
The Joan Knechel Memorial Walk, named after former HRMC nurse Joan Knechel, who was an avid outdoor enthusiast and frequently walked around Mountain Lake with friends. Unfortunately, Joan succumbed to cancer in 2002 after a courageous ten-year battle with the disease. Now, after five years of the Joan Knechel Memorial Walk, over $270,000 has been raised for the Joan Knechel Cancer Center. Ironically, the top fundraising team at this years Walk raised over $10,000, and they represented Mary Elizabeth Lukacs, sister of Joan Knechel, who also passed away from cancer.
For more information about the Joan Knechel Memorial Walk and how you can make a post-event contribution, call (908) 850-6836.