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‘Step Up for Sarcoma’ 5K returning to Manalapan

The bake sale will be held from 7-10 p.m. Dec. 17; 1-10 p.m. Dec. 18; and noon to 5 p.m. Dec. 19, at AMF Strathmore Lanes, 1061 Route 34, Aberdeen Township.

By Clare Marie Celano

A local event that has raised $60,000 for sarcoma research will return to the Manalapan Recreation Center, Route 522, Manalapan, on Sept. 25 for a fifth consecutive year.

The “Step Up for Sarcoma” 5-kilometer run/walk (9:30 a.m.) and a race for children age 10 and under (9 a.m.) will take place that morning.

The annual event is organized by Jessica Bruzzi, 27, who was diagnosed with dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans (DFSP) in 2012. DFSP is a sarcoma found in the deep layers of the skin. It occurs in about one out of every one million people.

Bruzzi underwent surgery in March 2012 at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, where the cancer in her thigh was removed. She said recent tests showed no recurrence of the disease.

On Sept. 25, registration for the 5K walk/run (3.1 miles) will begin at 8 a.m. at the recreation center. The entry fee is $20. Preregistration for “Step Up for Sarcoma” is available at www.stepupforsarcoma.org. To register online, click on Registration/Donations. The children’s race entry fee is $10.

Bruzzi, the daughter of Dennis and Lisa Bruzzi, of Manalapan, said last year’s event raised $15,000 for sarcoma research. More than 200 people participated. Proceeds benefit sarcoma research at Memorial Sloan-Kettering.

Bruzzi works as a clinical therapist and assists people who have mental health issues. She has worked in the field for more than a year and said she finds her work rewarding.

The inaugural “Step Up for Sarcoma” event raised $16,000 for sarcoma research, according to Bruzzi, who enjoys running and drawing in her spare time. She said that to date, the event has raised $60,000.

A website she created, stepupforsarcoma.org, has been able to help people who have sarcoma connect with and support one another.

Donations to Step Up for Sarcoma may be sent to P.O. Box 537, Manalapan, NJ 07726 or made online at stepupforsarcoma.org

Bruzzi, who plans “Step Up for Sarcoma” with her family, said she is excited about Sept. 25 and is looking forward to raising more funds to benefit sarcoma research.

“I want to make a difference,” she said.

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