Lulu's Run

| 28 Sep 2011 | 03:02

Sparta - On Saturday, Sept. 24, 75 motorcyclists and their friends converged on Sparta for a bike run to help raise money for a Sparta girl’s expen¬sive cancer treatment, much of which isn’t covered by insurance. LuAnn, known as Lulu to her family and friends, is petite, bright-eyed and athletic. The fifth of six children, and her moth¬er’s namesake, the 12-year-old Sparta girl is fighting a brave battle against Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, with the help of the staff at To¬morrow’s Children Institute at The Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital at the Hackensack University Medical Center. “The day turned out much better than we thought it would. We had about 75 bikes on the run and approximately 350 people in attendance throughout. Altogether, we collected just under $10,000,” said Phil Peraino. who co-owns North Jersey Cycle with George Sensale, Lulu’s father, came up with the idea ,of having a bike run to raise money to help the financially strapped family pay for Lulu’s treatment. ! “We all wanted to stand by George [Sensale] and we thought this bike run was the best way,” said Peraino. “When Lulu was diagnosed in July, I was devastated,” said Sensale. “I could hardly function for three weeks. But we’ve received overwhelming support from family and friends and our pastor at Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church has been wonderful. Prayer and faith is getting us through this time.” “All these bikers look rough and tough, but they’re all are praying for our Lulu.” LuAnn Sensale, said that the girl has kept her spirits up remarkably well, and even played in a soccer game earlier in the week. LuAnn teaches first grade in Parsippany. “Lulu will have her last chemotherapy treatment this coming week, and then will begin a course of radiation. The doctors and staff at Tomorrow’s Children have been wonderful to us.” The bike run, which began at North Jersey Cycle on Route 15 in Sparta, ended in Hillside Park in Andover, where participants enjoyed a feast of barbecued pork, chicken and sausage, and competed in raffles and auctions of donated items, such as motorcycle boots and a jacket. Buzz Fiend, a local rock ‘n’ roll band, played for the benefit concert. Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is a cancerous growth of cells in the lymph system. Only about 10 to 15 percent of cases are diagnosed in children 16 years old and younger. According to George Sensale, Dr. Steven Halpern has said that the treatment of Hodgkin’s has improved remarkably in recent years, and there is every reason to hope that Lulu will recover. Sensale says North Jersey Cycles is instituting a tradition with this bike run, which will be held in future years to raise money for needy children being treated for cancer at The Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital. Anyone wishing to make a donation to help Lulu should contact Phill Peraino at North Jersey Cycle on Route 15 in Sparta or call 973-383-3199.