RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The excitement from a late night of Midnight Madness and the first weekend of practice carried over for members of the Felician College women's basketball team last Sunday morning. Everyone was on time to enthusiastically meet the team van at 7 a.m.
But the Golden Falcons weren't headed to another workout or scrimmage. They were on their way from their Rutherford campus to nearby West Orange to volunteer, for the second consecutive year, at the Mayor's Run/Walk To Break The Silence of Ovarian Cancer.
The team worked various odd jobs at the 5-kilometer walk. Some were posted at water stations throughout the course, and others helped with tags and times at the finish line. At the race's end, the players also helped with the break down. In the process, they gained an appreciation for their small part in the process.
"I think we helped give people hope," said team co-captain Jessica Ford. "I've known people with cancer, and it's important just to be there for them and help them and let them know they're not alone."
More than 800 people participated in the walk, which raised funds for the Northern New Jersey Chapter of the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition. Felician originally got involved in the event in 2010 at the suggestion of assistant coach Joanne Smith, whose grandmother has been affected by ovarian cancer.
"Our head coach, Steve Fagan, is always trying to instill the concept of giving back to the community," Smith said. "Our returning players were actually looking forward to going back to the walk and helping out again. And one of our newcomers told me how impressed she was because she likes doing community service."
The team has more service events planned in the near future. On Halloween weekend, they will volunteer as chaperones at the Rutherford Ragamuffin Parade for the fourth consecutive year. And at their first home game on Nov. 16, the Golden Falcons will sponsor a food drive for a local food bank at "Shoot for Hunger" night.