In 2007, cousins Erika Rech and Mike Ruane were hit with the news of three relatives, including Erika's mother, being diagnosed with breast cancer. At that young age, they decided to action.

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They launched the group, Breast Intentions, which has evolved from selling candy at church to a full-blown gala fundraiser.

After seeing first-hand how bills pile up for breast cancer patients, they set a mission of helping women and their families with expenses.

"We wanted to help woman directly with those everyday bills," explained Rech. "We've paid for a wide variety of things from prosthetics and co-pays to heating bills, electric bills."

In just over 5 years of service, Breast Intentions has raised more than seven hundred thousand dollars that has gone directly to the families.

"Nobody should have to worry about bills when they're struggling to get better," said Rech.

The charity has an upcoming event on February 13th, called Caring With Karaoke, at Park 33 in Freehold. Their 5th annual "Celebration of Hope, Determination, and Courage" Gala will be held on April 27th at the Meridian Ballroom at the Eatontown Sheraton.

"These women that we help are so selfless, and it's really humbling to be able to be in their presence," she said.

The group has already expanded into four other states, and hopes to keep growing.

Learn more by visiting their website and Facebook page.


Clean Ocean Action

As part of Clean Ocean Action's Wave of Action "For the Shore," New Jersey volunteers can donate and plant their old Christmas trees to help rebuild dunes on Island Beach State Park.  The event is scheduled for January 19th between 10am and 2pm.  Clean Ocean Action's Wave of Action "For the Shore" is a long term volunteer initiative in response to Sandy to assist communities left devastated by the storm. For more information, go to

Assemblymen Herb Conaway, MD and Troy Singleton

Assembly Democrats Herb Conaway, MD and Troy Singleton are spearheading a holiday supply drive to collect items for New Jerseyans serving with the 508th Military Police Company currently deployed to Afghanistan. The legislative offices are collecting food and personal care items to send to 145 soldiers in the company on January 31.  Some of the items needed include mouthwash, razors, hand sanitizer, candy, protein bars, crackers and other items.  For additional information, call 856-234-2790.

Michael Rankin

Toms River resident Nikole Rossano is spearheading a fundraiser for Michael Rankin, an 8-year-old from Englishtown that was diagnosed with Leukemia shortly after Christmas.  The fundraiser was started to help the family pay for Michael's medical bills.  To learn more, visit