May 10, 2007

CONTACT: Sebastian D’Elia 908-527-4419


Two mile Walkathon in Cranford on September 15th to support cancer patients worldwide and advancement of stem cell research in New Jersey

The public is invited to register and sign up online at for the Union County Love Hope Strength Fund Rock on! Walkathon on September 15th.

The two-mile walk in Cranford is scheduled to begin the morning of its annual MusicFest concert beginning at 8 a.m. and starting at Shane Walsh Field on Springfield Avenue in Cranford. The walk concludes at Nomahegan Park, also in Cranford.

Walkers raising a minimum of $1,000 will be invited to a special VIP reception the night before the walk, on September 14th. In order to receive an invitation to this event with surprise guests, the pledge form must be returned by August 24th. Walkers raising $250 will receive a “Rock-on Walkathon” T-Shirt and gift bag. Walkers raising $100 will receive a t-shirt.

The walk will benefit the Love Hope Strength Foundation and the New Jersey Citizens Coalition for Cures. The Love Hope Strength Foundation was founded by Mike Peters of the Welsh rock group, The Alarm, and entertainment insurance executive James Chippendale. Both men are survivors of Leukemia and created the organization as a means of giving back by building a support network for cancer patients worldwide. Anyone wishing to volunteer is also welcome.

“I would like to thank the County of Union, the Freeholders, County Manager George W. Devanney and Assemblypersons Stender and Cohen for leading the effort,” said Peters, a two-time cancer survivor. “mike petersWe will be asking the world to help us help others to find the cure, and to show the world the new face of cancer. Our goal is to illustrate that through the endeavor and perseverance of the worldwide medical community, cancer need not be the death sentence it once was.”

The Love Hope Strength foundation has scheduled a series of six worldwide events featuring top athletes and musicians and have chosen Union County’s MusicFest as one. They will conclude their world tour by trekking to base camp Everest in October and with a concert at an event they’ve entitled “Everest Rocks!”

Peters performed at MusicFest last year and along with Chippendale, forged an alliance with County Manager Devanney in bringing the walkathon event to Union County.

Locally, the New Jersey Citizens Coalition for Cures is the leading statewide, grassroots coalition for the advancement of stem cell research in the State of New Jersey, fighting to find cures and treatments for life threatening diseases and debilitating chronic conditions in New Jersey. Patricia Riccio, president of New Jersey Citizens Coalition for Cures, said her organization sees a “vibrant economy with thousands of jobs created by New Jersey’s leading-edge research industry.”

“We see a future, where tens of thousands of New Jerseyans, as well as people around the world, will someday be cured and treated for life-threatening and debilitating diseases,” Riccio said. “We are thankful to the Freeholder Board in their support for stem cell research.”

The walkathon is being chaired by Freeholder Chairwoman Bette Jane Kowalski, Assemblyman Neil Cohen, sponsor of the NJ Stem Cell research laws, and Assemblywoman Linda Stender.

“We’re hoping to rally as much support as possible in the fight against cancer by supporting two organizations that are at forefront of this effort both globally and locally,” said Freeholder Kowalski.

Both Stender and Cohen are also sponsoring a ballot measure asking voters to set aside $300 to $500 million for stem cell research. Cohen sponsored legislation authorizing a $270 million investment in stem cell research facilities that was signed into law by Governor Jon Corzine in December.

“The promise of Stem Cell research is the promise of hope, the promise of a cure for the incurable and the untreatable,” Assemblyman Cohen said. “Those suffering from disease and injury deserve every opportunity to be made whole again.”

Stender, also a strong supporter of stem cell research, agreed.

“A majority of Americans recognize that stem cell research is a vital step in the development of lifesaving medical treatments that could unlock the cures for diseases like diabetes, arthritis, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s,” Stender said. “Denying access to this life-saving research goes against common sense. This is an initiative that is supported by the majority of Americans, and I am proud that New Jersey has taken the lead in promoting stem cell research.”

Chippendale thanked the Freeholders, Stender and Cohen for their support for “taking a stand on the stem cell issue.”

“In spite of these statistics, federal governments have chosen to spend their time, money and resources elsewhere,” said Chippendale. “In fact, for the first time in my nations’ history the current administration has cut federal funding for the National Institute of Health and its cancer research programs, and it has severely limited government funding for very important medical discoveries such as stem cell research. New Jersey should be commended for having such leaders who have the political courage to stand up and do what’s right in funding these initiatives.”

Following the walkathon, the County will commence its annual MusicFest at Nomahegan Park, featuring family style fun, food, vendors and world-class rock and roll entertainment. Some of the acts scheduled to perform include Chuck Berry, the Smithereens, The Alarm, The English Beat, and The Old Ceremony. The event lasts from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Additional acts, including a headliner, will be announced soon please check back at for more information and updates.