Timed perfectly with the first week of Breast Cancer Awareness month, Bloomfield welcomed Coast To Coast For A Cure walkers Rob Bonora and Anthony Greco yesterday, as they completed the last few miles of their cross country trek. The pair — who arrived pushing their running strollers packed with gear — was greeted with fanfare from the high school marching band, local officials, business leaders and fans. Bonora and Greco had been picking up supporters since early yesterday morning, who walked along with them starting in Morristown. Mayor McCarthy and County Executive DiVincenzo joined the group for the final leg.
Both 2010 MSU graduates and Nutley residents, the young men took to the roadways of the United States in June to raise money and awareness for the Gail’s Angels Foundation — a non-profit organization created to help families with a mother stricken by breast cancer who also cares for a special needs child.
With sponsorships of $10 per 1 mile, or $300 for a full day of walking, Bonora and Greco raised $65,000. All travel expenses were paid for by the walkers and 100% of the money raised was donated to the foundation.
Jim Babai, founder and president of Gail’s Angels, originally met the walkers last march in the Nutley branch of Wachovia bank. “The boys were opening their account and mentioned to the branch manager that they were looking for a charity to raise money for. Wachovia has been very supportive of my foundation and put us together,” Babai explained. “I went right down to the bank, I told them my story and we sealed the deal with hugs and great feelings.”
From there, the project snowballed. The pair received national press attention as they worked their way across the country, building public awareness for the local foundation and bringing in donations from all over.
“These kids have set the benchmark for the youth of America,” said Babai, with emotion in his voice. “They’re leaders in showing how to give back and be caring members of their community.” Babai noted that the fact that their arrival coincided with national Breast Cancer Awareness month helped raise even more money.
Bonora and Greco will join Babai and supporters of the foundation at the third annual Gail’s Angels — Wings of Hope golf classic, next Wednesday at the Farmstead Golf & Country Club in Lafayette, NJ.
Want to welcome the walkers back to Baristaville with a donation?
Send checks to:
Gail’s Angels Foundation
P.O. Box 110242
Nutley, NJ 07110
For more information on donating or to register for the golf classic, call or email James Babai at 973.320.5555, firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos by S.J.Streeter