Rowan breast cancer walk impacting school, regional community

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A few years ago, neither Kathy Rozanski nor Kristen diNovi would have bet they would be participating in Rowan University’s third annual four-mile walk/run to raise money to fight breast cancer.

A few years ago, neither Kathy Rozanski nor Kristen diNovi would have bet they would be participating in Rowan University’s third annual four-mile walk/run to raise money to fight breast cancer.

They’ll be doing just that starting at 9 a.m. on Saturday, April 21, at the Glassboro campus, fours years after Rozanski herself was diagnosed with breast cancer and eight years after diNovi was.

Rozanski, director of Alumni Relations at Rowan, and diNovi, director of the University’s Center for Academic Advising & Exploration, are among those teaming with Laurie Dwyer, assistant director of fitness for the Rowan Rec Center, to coordinate the walk to raise money for the Central and South Jersey affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure®. The National Wellness Institute and the Rowan International Recreation Sports Association, two Rowan Student Government Association organizations, also are assisting.

“It’s something I started because it’s something important to me,” said Dwyer, whose maternal grandmother, Anna Sevret, died of breast cancer in 1990.

Last year, 105 people walked/ran and raised $3,000. The first year, 125 people participated and raised $3,500.

According to Dwyer, 75 percent of the money raised by the walk/run will go to the regional affiliate, and 25 percent will go to the national office.

“We’re supporting people in New Jersey who need care,” she said.

Glassboro resident Rozanski, 51, a married mother of a son and the daughter of a breast cancer survivor, will walk with friends and the team of her sister-in-law, Terry Mancini, “Hi-Ho-Hi-Ho, It’s Off for a Mammo We Go.”

She’s always been open about her diagnosis. “I’m an advocate to help spread the word of the importance of having your annual checkup and that you have to be very proactive. Never did I think that two months after my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer that I’d be diagnosed. Breast cancer is all around you. If it is caught early, it is very survivable. I’m living proof you can survive.”

For diNovi, 40, married and living in Haddonfield, participation is poignant. “I’d always said that one day I wanted to be a runner. After getting breast cancer, I realized there is no 'one day.' There’s just now,” said the two-time survivor who was first diagnosed at age 32. Since 2008, she has been running a few events a year to raise money for breast cancer research.

The Rowan event will include tee shirts for participants, beverages, snacks, music and a jewelry sale to benefit the cause. To join Rozanski and diNovi in the walk, visit www.rowan.edu/studentaffairs/rec or register the day of the event. The cost is $25 a person, $15 each member of a team registered by April 15 and $30/$20 after April 15.

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