Bellas Bunch raises thousands for Valerie Fund

Bella's Bunch from the 2014 Walk

Bella’s Bunch – Turning Pain into Purpose

The annual Valerie Run/Walk was held Saturday, June 14 in an effort to raise money and support for children with cancer.

The organization helps families concentrate on the health of their child, instead of a lot of the logistics involved.

The walk was color coded. Yellow shirts were hundreds of volunteers, who worked all year to get the event up and running. The blue, orange, and red shirts were the teams raising money. And most importantly, the green shirts were worn by cancer survivors.

Bella Rocco, a 12-year-old Parsippany resident, student and two-time cancer survivor. She is in seventh grade at Central Middle School. Bella has battled a rare pediatric cancer called GIST, a disease that causes gastrointestinal stromal tumors to grow in the stomach.

Bella has had a clean bill of health, although she must have an MRI every three months to ensure that another recurrence has not appeared.

Rather than dwell on what might be, Bella and her family focus on helping fight pediatric cancer. They do this by supporting the organization that helped them through trying times: The Valerie Fund.

The Roccos and 116 of their friends took part in the annual 5K Run/Walk fundraiser at Verona Park. Pat Rocco said they have raised almost $10,000 for this years race.

To see Bella’s story, Walk, Run, Donate with Bella’s Brunch, click here.

Bella Rocco in a poster on the trail.
Bella Rocco with Central Middle School Science Teacher Erica Coviello
Bella Rocco; Erica Coviello, Central Middle School Science Teacher; Lauren Lombardy, Central Middle School Reading and Writing; Marianne Mpakarakes, Brooklawn Middle School Reading/Writing Teacher, Khalid Alzubi, Central Middle School student
3 year old Griffin Weiss
Pat Rocco watching the runners at the finish line
John Gallucci, President of JAG with Kayla Devlin (JAG employee) John and his team with JAG raised $5,155 this year for the Valerie Fund. JAG has been a participating major sponsor for the 8th year in a row.
CBS, Channel 2 was broadcasting live from Verona Park
Alice Gainer, from CBS Channel 2 News hosts opening ceremony
Ralph Rocco, center, ran in the 5K run in support of his daughter, Bella. Other supporters of Bella watch the ceremony.
Bella had 116 friends participate on her team.
Bella with one of her friends from Central Middle School
Bella with Sons of Italy President Joseph Jannarone Jr. Sons of Italy. Sons of Italy donates to The Valerie Fund on behalf of Bella.