Three local women are organizing Maplewood Village’s first charity event dedicated to breast cancer awareness.
GenWealth Walks for Hope, sponsored by Maplewood’s The GenWealth Group, Inc., is a home-grown event. Co-hosted by Cherie Leanza, GenWealth’s Vice President of Marketing and Risa Olinsky, a Maplewood resident, personal coach and owner of Count on Yourself Coaching, the walk will be held on Saturday, Sept. 29th at 8:30 a.m. (the raindate is September 30).
“It's nice to have the opportunity to give back,” said Leanza, who along with her husband, Michael, launched GenWealth in the Village in 2008.
The idea for the walk came about when Leanza's employee, operations director Kimberly DiBlasi, learned in 2011 that her mother, Sandra D’Ascoli, had Stage 4 breast cancer. “She is fighting the fight,” said DiBlasi of her mother, who is currently undergoing treatment.
All the proceeds of the walk will benefit the Breast Cancer Research Foundation®, a foundation searching for a cure for breast cancer by providing funding for research at leading medical centers worldwide. Over 90 cents of every dollar donated to the foundation goes to breast cancer research and awareness programs.
The trio is assembling a walking “team” of 50 people for a guided three-stroll through the village and surrounding park areas. Walkers are asked to make a minimum $50 dollar donation to the foundation to register for the event, and will receive a pre-walk breakfast, a hot pink team t-shirt and a digital pedometer. The walkers will also have access to a free, one-hour pre-walk coaching call with Olinsky and Leanza to learn some simple ways to get fit both physically and financially.
To register, visit this page.
The walk is appropriate for anyone of any fitness level, said Olinsky. For those who can't make it to the walk, they can still donate by visiting here and clicking on "Give Now."
The Walk for Hope comes just before the kick-off of Maplewood Loves Wellness Week from Oct. 8-14, which Olinsky is spearheading along with Deputy Mayor Kathy Leventhal. Leventhal and Township Committee member India Larrier both are participating in the walk, along with dozens of other women from Maplewood and beyond.
“It’s going to be quite a sight with all these women out there in their hot pink t-shirts,” said Leanza, who added that men and children are also welcome.
DiBlasi said that awareness campaigns are one reason why women today know to get their mammograms and be proactive about their breast health. Leanza, who will walk with her 11-year-old daughter, agreed. “If there is one woman who decides to get a mammogram because of this event, it will have been worth it.”