Bows of Hope raises money, awareness in fight against cancer

FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP – Four women from Freehold Township are working to make the public aware of multiple cancers through a campaign that features the sale of bows for the third consecutive year.

The goal of Bows of Hope is to raise awareness of ovarian cancer, breast cancer, pancreatic cancer and childhood cancer through the display of colored bows throughout the community.

Teal bows represent awareness of ovarian cancer, pink bows represent awareness of breast cancer, purple bows represent awareness of pancreatic cancer and gold bows represent awareness of childhood cancer.

September is dedicated to the awareness of ovarian cancer and childhood cancer. October is dedicated to the awareness of breast cancer. November is dedicated to the awareness of pancreatic cancer.

All four bow colors may be purchased for $5 and two bow colors may be purchased for $3 by emailing bowsofhopefreehold@gmail.com or by visiting the Bows of Hope Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Bows-Of-Hope-574532056040891/

The campaign is being organized and run by residents Michele Thompson, Barbara Gandolfo, Jessica Walsh and Jill Rothstein. This year marks the third year of the coordinated campaign after the residents merged what had been individual awareness campaigns.

A kickoff event for the campaign was held on Sept. 9 to recognize awareness efforts for ovarian cancer and childhood cancer. Recognition for awareness efforts of breast cancer is scheduled for Sept. 30 at the Freehold Township municipal building, 1 Municipal Plaza, at 9 a.m.

Thompson said her mother died of ovarian cancer in 2012. In 2013, she placed teal bows around the township to raise awareness of the disease.

Thompson was subsequently contacted by Gandolfo and Eva LaPreta, who wanted to raise awareness of breast cancer after surviving a battle with the disease.

In 2013, pink bows were displayed throughout the community. LaPreta only lived to see one more awareness campaign before she died in 2014 following a recurrence of the disease.

Rothstein, whose father died of pancreatic cancer in 2008, then inquired about recognizing that disease through the display of purple bows.

Following the teal, pink and purple bow campaigns, Walsh inquired about raising awareness of childhood cancer to honor the memory of Jack Scherer, 16, who died in January 2016 after a battle with cancer.

“Freehold Township has been very supportive since day one when I turned Freehold teal,” Thompson said. “We would like to see more residents displaying bows on their property and helping us spread awareness.

“Many of us, if not all of us, know someone who has been faced with the challenges of cancer. If we can spread awareness to the signs and symptoms of various cancers, perhaps one day we will not have to hang bows to bring awareness, but to honor those lost,” she said.

Due to a decrease in funding, according to campaign representatives, Bows of Hope has established an online fundraiser seeking $1,500 in donations to ensure the campaign can continue on an annual basis. As of Sept. 12, $330 had been donated.

The fundraiser may be found at https://www.gofundme.com/bows-of-hope