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Over 30 Bergen schools go gold to raise funds, awareness for pediatric cancer

Josephine's Garden Fund was started by mom who lost daughter to rare disease


More than 30 schools across Bergen County will be taking part in the fourth annual Josephine's Garden Day of Gold for National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

The community grassroots initiative was started by Heidi Hartung-Rispoli who lost her daughter Josephine to a rare brain tumor when she was 7 years old.

The event, which takes place Sept. 19, will benefit the Josephine's Garden Fund at the Joseph M. Sanzari Children's Hospital.

During the day of gold, schools educate students on pediatric cancer while exchanging specially designed pins for a $3 dollar donation to the fund.

Hartung-Rispoli says three schools participated last year and only one school took part in donations the first year she started. She hopes the momentum continues to grow.

In previous years, funds were raised to create a garden for young patients battling the disease at Hackensack University Medical Center, where Josephine's sister says is a place for kids to get some fresh air..

Money raised during this year's event will fund research for pediatric cancer.

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