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Hackensack University Medical Center (HackensackUMC) has announced that the Caroline Fund 5K raised more than $100,000 to benefit the Caroline Vandemark Fund for Brain and Spine Tumor Research at the HackensackUMC Foundation.
Nearly 1,000 people participated in the second annual event on September 12 in Caldwell, New Jersey, raising more than double the amount from the previous year.
Nonprofit Raises Over $100,000 for Brain and Spine Tumor Research
The Caroline Fund is a nonprofit that was established in memory of Caroline Vandemark, 22, who lost her life in 2013 to an aggressive form of brain tumor called a glioblastoma. Vandemark’s family, friends and doctors were all inspired by her positive attitude and hopeful spirit throughout her year-long battle with cancer. Vandemark, a resident of Caldwell, was diagnosed with glioblastoma prior to her senior year at East Stroudsburg University in Pennsylvania. After undergoing multiple rounds of treatments and surgeries, Vandemark fulfilled her dream of graduating with her classmates a month before her death.
“It is amazing to see the amount of lives Caroline has touched in her short time with us,” said Mary Vandemark, Caroline Vandemark’s mother. “My late husband Charlie and I were so proud of her, and we are so proud of the positive impact she has had in the years since. The amount of love and support our family has received is simply overwhelming, and I know that the money we raised this year will go on to help the amazing doctors at HackensackUMC find a cure for brain and spinal cancer.”
Caroline’s courage and generosity moved her doctors, Samuel Goldlust, M.D., and George Kaptain, M.D., to establish a fund in her name, Caroline Vandemark Fund for Brain and Spine Tumor Research, which is dedicated to finding a cure for glioblastoma and other cancers of the brain and spine.
“Patients like Caroline always stay with you,” said Dr. Goldlust. “Caroline’s positivity and courage left an impact on everyone with whom she came into contact. It is an honor to continue working to find a cure for brain cancer in her memory, and we are so grateful to the Caroline Fund for their continued support.”
The John Theurer Cancer Center’s Brain and Spine Institute offers cutting edge clinical care and research for primary and metastatic brain tumors as well as the varied neurologic complications of cancer. The Institute is led by neuro-oncologist Dr. Goldlust, and neurosurgeon Dr. Kaptain, who are dedicated to advancing the care of their patients by improving both the survival rate and quality of life.
“It is incredible to see Caroline’s memory live on through her family and friends as well as through the work of the Caroline Fund,” said Dr. Kaptain. “Her passion for life continues to encourage all of us to make the most of every opportunity and push forward toward our goal of finding a cure for glioblastoma and other forms of brain and spinal tumors.”
The Caroline Fund 5K is a grassroots event that enjoys an outpouring of support, not only from family and friends who knew Vandemark, but also from area residents and HackensackUMC patients who have been touched by her example and story. In its second year, attendance grew from 600 attendees to nearly 1,000.
This year’s event was also in memory of Caroline’s father, Charlie Vandemark, who passed away suddenly earlier this year at the age of 61. Charlie Vandemark was president of the Caroline Fund and is survived by wife Mary and daughter Eileen.