Fundraising Campaign for Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

July 31, 2014

 By: Clare Marie Celano

For Greater Media Newspapers Managing Editor Mark Rosman, the time was right to undertake an effort that would honor the memory of his late wife, Stephanie, and help those fighting the same illness, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, that took Stephanie in April 1999.

When Stephanie died 15 years ago, she left behind her husband, Mark, and the couple’s 4-year-old son, Nathan. Rosman is a single dad to the now-19-year-old, who just completed his freshman year at Penn State University.

GMN Mark Rosman 1

Mark Rosman is pictured with Grace Abraham, 7, of Rochelle Park, NJ, who was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in April 2013.

Rosman, who has been with Greater Media Newspapers since 1982, is managing editor of three of the company’s newspapers: News Transcript, Tri-Town News and Examiner. He also appears on Greater Media New Jersey’s WCTC-AM each Thursday with morning host Bert Baron to discuss some of the articles that appear in the current week’s edition of Greater Media Newspapers. Rosman is also part of Greater Media’s Broadcast News video, which features reporters and editors discussing articles that appear in that week’s newspapers.

Rosman said although he had never participated in a public fundraising event, he felt enough time had passed since Stephanie’s death for him to take on a project to help others who are fighting the disease.

When asked, he said yes to a nomination to participate in the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS)’s Man/Woman of the Year campaign, which involves raising funds for the society.

“During the fall of 2013, I was at a point where I wanted to try some new things, and when this opportunity was presented to me, I thought it represented something outside my comfort zone,” Rosman said. “In addition, 2014 is the 15th anniversary of Stephanie’s passing, and I thought this fundraising campaign would be a significant way to honor her memory.”

He said he was “surprised and honored” when asked to be a candidate in the Man/Woman of the Year fundraiser.

James Wishbow, a member of the LLS Board of Directors, said, “We were thrilled when Mark said yes to our nomination for Man/Woman of the Year and that he said yes in memory of Stephanie. Accepting the nomination is a big decision and a big commitment. We are very proud of Mark and the work he has done. It is wonderful that he is doing it.”

Rosman said he has raised $7,700 of his $10,000 goal for LLS. He said the funds raised by the campaign will go to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and ultimately toward research into blood cancers and to patient services. The winners of the Man/Woman of the Year event were named at the May 17 gala.

Rosman said he made use of today’s technology for the campaign.

“My primary way of raising funds to support my campaign was to send emails to personal and professional contacts I have made over the past 30 years. In addition, Stephanie’s sister, Wendy Lieberman, and her husband, Arthur, also sent out emails to their personal contacts, asking for support for this most worthy cause,” Rosman said.

“Robin Russo from our office organized a fundraiser at Cheeburger, Cheeburger in Manalapan. Many people from Greater Media Newspapers enjoyed lunch at the restaurant that day, and a portion of the proceeds was donated to my campaign.”

When asked how this undertaking affected him personally, considering his own story, Rosman said, “I tried to remain focused on the task at hand, raising money to fight blood cancers, and hoped that Stephanie would be proud of the effort I was making by doing something that is a bit out of the ordinary for me.”

GMN Mark Rosman 2

Mark, Nathan and Stephanie Rosman

The LLS set up a fundraising site where people could donate to his campaign. On the site, Rosman is pictured with Stephanie and 4-year-old Nathan in a family photo. On his site he writes, “It is an honor to have been nominated to participate and to help raise funds that will further research into blood cancers. I know from my own personal experience how devastating it can be when a loved one receives a diagnosis of cancer. The news leaves you speechless.”

On his site, he refers to the loss of his wife to Hodgkin’s lymphoma and said, “An otherwise healthy person, Stephanie was cut down by something we never expected to face. I know that many families are dealing with this same reality today and I want them to have a better outcome.”

He said funding for research is critical.

The Man/Woman of the Year program is the link between us that can produce a better outcome for so many people,” Rosman said. “I realized the effort I am making is not necessarily for those who have lost their life to cancer. The effort is for individuals who are fighting cancer today and need to know other people are doing what they can to raise money for research that may lead to a cure. I am confident that Stephanie, who was a friend to everyone she met, would understand if I told her my focus has shifted just a bit from making this effort on her behalf to helping those who are fighting cancer today.”

In a newspaper column about the campaign, Rosman wrote about his fundraising effort and said the Man/Woman of the Year program has two young people who are inspiring those who are participating in the campaign.

One of those children, Grace Abraham, 7, of Rochelle Park, NJ, was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in April 2013.

“That is the same cancer that Stephanie had, so to say that I feel a connection with this young lady would be the understatement of the year,” he wrote. He said Grace has returned to school and is getting back into the swing of things.

The young man who is lending his name to the Man/Woman of the Year effort is Justin Pritikin, 14, of the New Egypt section of Plumsted Township, NJ.

“Justin was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in March 2012,” Rosman wrote, adding that now, two years post-diagnosis, Justin is in remission and is back to school, playing basketball and, as an eighth-grader, sat on the high school varsity boys basketball team’s bench, assisting the team’s head coach.

“I can only say it is inspiring to see young children who are faced with a significant battle in their lives put everything they have into that battle so they may eventually regain the sense of normalcy they had before being diagnosed with cancer.”

Rosman said he feels like the future of youngsters like Grace and Justin is “in our hands” right now.

“I hope people will continue to support the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society so that children and adults can get the most current treatments available in the fight against blood cancers. I have never taken part in anything like this before. In the end, the timing was right and the cause was honorable,” he said. “I hope the money I have been able to raise will in some small way help advance the fight against blood cancers. I do not want any more parents to lose a child and I do not want any more children to lose a parent.”