While often cited as the rallying cry of the United States Postal Service, neither snow nor rain nor gloom of night is also an apt motto for a group of youngsters who came together on a local paintball field to fight cancer as well as their opponents despite the Halloween nor-easter.
Spearheaded by siblings Andrew Aboujaude, 15, and Amanda Aboujaude, 12, from Tinton Falls’ Ranney School and by 13-year-old Shalin Shah from Ocean Township Intermediate School, the event was held on October 29 at Jackson's TopGun Paintball field.
The completely kid-driven event garnered about $400 to benefit the Crystal Ball Gala, held on November 5 to benefit the Leon Hess Cancer Center at Monmouth Medical Center. The event drew about 20 students who braved the rare October snowstorm to have fun and do a good deed at the same time, according to Shalin's mother and Crystal Ball committee member, Tina Shah.
Andrew notes that they were motivated to undertake the fundraiser following the cancer diagnosis of a classmate. "There was a lot of talk at school about different fundraisers, and we wanted to choose something that we knew kids our age would actually want to do", he said.
Paintball is a combination of the childhood games "hide and seek" and tag, but on a much more sophisticated level. A group of players age 10 and older is divided into teams and each player is given a CO2-charged paint marker or "gun" that expels paintballs to mark opponents. The object of the game is simple — eliminate opponents and capture their flag, but it is an activity that has emerged as one of the fastest growing new sports in the world over the past decade.
The three students promoted the event at their respective schools through flyers and word of mouth, and they attribute its financial success to the generosity of the venue's owner, who did not require a minimum number of players due to the inclement weather and gave them a reduced per-player rate. The kids originally planned to raise the money for the American Cancer Society until learning that their classmate was being treated at The Children's Hospital at Monmouth.
Shalin, Andrew, and Amanda point out that the kids who came out showed a lot of heart to come and play in 30-degree snowy and stormy weather, which made for very difficult playing conditions. The three agreed that it seems like everyone knows at least one person affected by cancer, and they all just really want to do something to make a difference in fighting it.
January 30, 2012
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