| 15 Feb 2012 | 09:35

    When a friend of a friend was battling breast cancer years ago, Mare Galeos felt helpless. She was new to Sussex County and didn’t know a lot of people, but wanted to do something. Breast cancer was very prevalent among her peers. Her compassion and drive lead her to start Sussex County Women’s Forum. Twelve years later, and now called Friend2Friend Sussex County Women’s Forum is a non-profit organization that provides early detection services and support to women and their families who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. Based on its main belief that “early detection is paramount,” Friend2Friend pays for mammograms and breast ultrasounds for women in need. “I knew I didn’t want to get involved in research or a big organization, but rather what affects women directly,” said Galeos. “It’s on a one-to-one basis of women helping other women.” Thus the name change a few years ago to Friend2Friend. Going to a local gym, and having a network there, gave Galeos the idea to conduct road races to raise money. She thought of having a 5K race in Andover that was held October of 2000. “Two hundred twenty people came out for the first road race,” she said. “As many as 100 people can just show up and sign on that day.” A friend suggested she try trail runs. Kittatiny Valley State Park eagerly cooperated: “In 2003, we stopped the road races and began the trail races. Although trail races are steeper and have rocky terrain, they are easier for me to manage, and Kittatiny Valley State Park goes above and beyond to make these events happen.” Through word of mouth, along with local radiology canters and doctors offices informing their patients of her services, Galeos now holds four trail races a year that provide funding for free mammograms. Participants pay anywhere from $20 to $50 a race depending upon the length of the race and when they sign up. She receives no grants nor wants to. “I don’t want to have to meet anyone else’s criteria — it’s easier to call my own shots and hold the events that I want to,” she said. She is the race director and relies on a core group of volunteers on race day and is also grateful to Thor Labs, Sparta Cancer Center and Andover Orthopedics for their sponsorship. “I do applications for registering. I find sponsors to cover infrastructure like the tents and trophies and medals,” said Galeos. Although Galeos directs the non-profit out of her home in Lafayette, and the races are run locally as well as the mammograms conducted at the Image Care Center for Women in Newton, Sparta and Vernon, she wants people to know that her organization is available to women all throughout New Jersey. “If women are uninsured or under-insured, as long as they are willing to drive to Sussex County, I will cover them. Just the other day, a nurse working at Jefferson Health Clinic gave my card to someone, so I get requests from all over.” A retired emergency nurse, Galeos does think her professional background has given her some people skills. “Nursing has helped in terms of dealing with people and being a listener,” she said. “We all need to be there for each other. And the bottom line is it’s about early detection -so you need to listen to your girlfriends and get in for that mammogram.” For more information go to or call 973-919-1373. THINK PINK CUPCAKES Cupcake Ingredients: 1 cup (2 sticks) sweet butter, softened 1 cup superfine sugar 2 cups self-rising flour 1 tsp. baking powder 4 eggs 1 tsp. vanilla extract Frosting Ingredients: 3 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted 1 cup (2 sticks) sweet butter, softened Pinch of salt Pink food coloring Silver candy balls Cupcakes: Preheat Oven to 350 Place 18 paper baking cups in muffin pans. In large bowl, combine all cupcake ingredients and beat with electric mixer until smooth and pale about 2 to 3 minutes. Spoon batter into the cups. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove pans from oven and cool for 5 minutes. Then remove cupcakes and cool on a rack. Frosting: Cream the confectioners’ sugar, butter and salt with an electric mixer until smooth. Add a few drops of food coloring and mix well. Spread the frosting liberally onto the cooled cupcakes and sprinkle with silver balls.