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How Montvale, Wyckoff Teens Took Lead For Pediatric Cancer Research

Academy of the Holy Angels students Olivia Mandella and Abigail Sheehan spearheaded a 5K to raise funds for pediatric cancer research.
Academy of the Holy Angels students Olivia Mandella and Abigail Sheehan spearheaded a 5K to raise funds for pediatric cancer research. Photo Credit: Lauren Kidd Ferguson

MAHWAH, N.J. – A summer leadership seminar inspired a pair of high school juniors to give back in a big way and organize a 5K run in Mahwah to raise funds for pediatric cancer research.

It all started when Olivia Mandella of Montvale and Abigail Sheehan of Wyckoff, both students at the Academy of the Holy Angels in Demarest, took part in the Hugh O'Brien Youth Leadership Seminar.

The program works with high school students from throughout the country to help them develop their talents to become leaders in their communities.

“We were inspired to do something significant with our passion for running and our desire to help pediatric cancer patients,” Mandella said.

So they decided to spearhead a run to raise money for Saint Jude's Pediatric Cancer Research.

More than 80 runners and walkers participated in the 5K at Darlington County Park in Mahwah. The teens also worked with businesses and individuals in the community to generate donations and sponsorships.

The run raised more than $7,000 for pediatric cancer research. Mandella and Sheehan said they are hoping to make it an annual event.

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