Runners are invited to put their best feet forward to fight cancer in two weeks - and to help a local North Caldwell family at the same time.
The family of Beverly Marcogliese is hosting a benefit Love Bev Walk at Verona Park to help their mother who is suffering from a rare and late-stage form of esophageal cancer.
When Marcogliese of North Caldwell saw her doctor in June, she was suffering from acid reflux and heartburn along with having trouble breathing.
The 52-year-old mother was put through a battery of tests by her doctor and when the diagnosis came back, she found out she was actually suffering from a rare and late-stage form of esophageal cancer.
Marcogliese immediately began an aggressive treatment protocol.
Her children, Natalie Marcogliese, 19, and Brett Hornby, 28, decided they needed to do something.
They decided their mother didn’t have to fight cancer alone and organized a benefit walk on Aug. 25 at Verona Park beginning at 10 a.m.
“When we first found out that my mom had cancer, it was a very negative time and I wanted to come up with a way to do something positive,” said Natalie Marcogliese. “I thought the walk would be a perfect solution… I could create awareness about this type of cancer while allowing my mom to see how much support is there for her during this tough time. It was something I quickly became very passionate about.”
In addition, the siblings, including Daryn Horby, 25, are trying to raise $10,000 to help ease the cost of medical expenses. Hornby said they have already raised more than $2,000 and believe their goal is reachable.
Though she is tired from her treatments, both of her children say she has remained optimistic and as active as can be.
“So far my mom has surprised me, and many others with how she is dealing with this whole situation,” said Natalie Marcogliese. “She has her good days and bad days, but overall she has been incredibly brave, strong, optimistic and positive. Some days she will even go into her work office for a little bit, which is really amazing.”
According to Natalie, her mother has been an active, healthy person her entire life.
A nonsmoker who rarely drank alcohol, it is unusual but not unprecedented that she would develop stage IV esophageal cancer.
Stomach acid from heartburn can splash into the esophagus and produce cellular changes, which if persistent, can result in cancer.
“People should know that this can happen to anyone,” said Natalie, “and that it is so important to go to the doctor's and receive an endoscopy often to watch out for this type of cancer.”
Beverly is reportedly fighting the disease as hard as her body will allow.
“When they finish radiation treatment,” Hornsby said, “[her doctors] will check the growth again and determine the next steps.”
“The most important thing people should know about my mom is that she is a fighter, and that we are going to get through this,” said Natalie. “She raised three children as a single mom while creating an amazing career for herself, and still found time to have some fun. She is so incredibly thankful for all of the support so many have give to our entire family during this extremely difficult time.”
Anyone interested in participating can sign up here to register or donate.