LONG BRANCH: The Tough Sander organization, dedicated to raising awareness and educating individuals to check themselves for cancer, ran its second annual beach competition in Pier Village in Long Branch on Saturday with 250 contestants from kids to adults. The event doubled its 2013 initial success in numbers of people and in dollars raised.
The fundraising goal was $25,000 and organization member John D'Esposito told the excited crowd the number this year came in at $26,104. Last year's total was $15,000.
The long term winners will be those individuals age 15 to 40 who detect possible cancer in themselves by individual diligence, self-checking their own health and seeking symptoms of unusual change in any body condition, from a sore mouth to lumps and more. Early detection a means of treatment before the disease reaches the life taking status.
The day's winners in the multi-event athletic competition on the beach were Abby Boyan from Spring Lake and Brian Clayton from West Long Branch. The winning team of athletes in the group was Christian Brothers Academy in the very challenging tests of skills and stamina on the sand.
For information on the medical challenge for individuals, go to www.15-40.org. One of the athletes was Robyn Browell from Long Branch, a first grade teacher in Holmdel schools who met the challenge of leukemia through early detection and her individual care and unrelenting seeking of the reasons behind some worrying symptoms of changes in her body - lumps, some bleeding and other discomforts she went after when her first exam physician thought the athletically built, lithe, healthy appearing young 19-year old paid a visit.
Her leukemia was finally diagnosed, and her 2 ½ year Chemotherapy treatments have resulted in her being 3 years cancer free. "Be your own advocate for your health," she says. As does Sandy Foster of the 15-40 Organization. "Early recognition is important," she said. "Don't delay in seeking diagnosis,"