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Bergen police ‘ladies in blue’ unite to raise breast cancer awareness, funds


CLIFFVIEW PILOT HAS IT FIRST: “Ladies in blue fighting in pink” is the theme for a group of female police officers from Bergen County who have joined forces to participate in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk Oct. 16 in Overpeck Park.

MAKING STRIDES UPDATE: What began as a great idea has blossomed for Washington Township Officer Heather Castronova, as an overwhelming number of female police officers continue enlisting for a team that will participate in a breast cancer fundraising walk this month. Policewomen want in — as do a special group of retired female officers.


“I believe that one day breast cancer will never steal another year from anyone’s life – and we will live in a world with less breast cancer and more birthdays,” Washington Township Patrol Officer Heather Castronova, the team’s leader, said. “That’s why I’m walking.

“Not only is this my opportunity to join my community to fight back against breast cancer, but it is also a way to inspire hope by raising funds and awareness to help those facing the disease,” she said.

Last year, Making Strides raised $60 million – literally one $10, $25, and $50 donation at a time – thanks to more than 800,000 people who participated. Castonova said she hopes friends of hers, and of law enforcement, will contribute what they can to help produce an even better total.

She’s also determined to keep the New Jersey and New York area at the top of the fund-raising list (the area produced $18.3 million last year).


Castronova said her special team hopes to “educate and empower” people – both men and women – to live healthy lives and reduce their cancer risks through regular screening that could find trouble “when it is easiest to treat.”

The squad so far includes Officers Shane Broglia of the Ridgewood PD, Rachel Morgan and Christine Udis of the Paramus department, and Edgewater Officer Christina Rae.

Castronova said she and her police colleagues want to give people as much information, day-to-day help, and emotional support as they can, so that anyone who is stricken doesn’t feel alone or helpless.

“My mother was diagnosed in 2008, fought it and won, but was rediagnosed in March,” Morgan told CLIFFVIEW PILOT . “She just finished her last chemo and is doing great!.”

Udis’s mom also survived breast cancer, and the two Paramus officers immediately agreed, Morgan said, “in honor of our moms and to show all of the women out there who are battling this disease that we support them.

“They can beat breast cancer.”

Castronova said the funds raised will go toward “finding cures and promising new treatments through funding and conducting research,” as well as into lobbying efforts geared toward “working with lawmakers to help all women get access to screenings and care.” It will help uninsured women get better access to mammograms, provide free rides for cancer patients to and from treatments – and, of course, fund more intensive research.

The event isn’t a race. It’s isn’t merely a walk, either. It’s a celebration of those who have survived breast cancer – 2.5 million and going strong, at last count — combined with the determination to make a difference.

Feel free to participate yourself. There are no fees or minimums.

If you are a police officer and want to participate, go straight to “ Ladies in Blue / Making Strides .” T-shirts are being made with the names of all participating departments on back — so don’t wait until the day of the event. Sign up now.

Making Strides Walk to Fight Cancer
WHEN: Oct. 16
WHERE: Overpeck Park, Ridgefield Park
NOTE: Registration at 9 a.m.; walk at 10
TO PARTICIPATE: Ladies in Blue / Making Strides


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