MIDDLETOWN TEENS PAY IT FORWARD

bffCousins Mike Ruane and Erika Rech are gearing up for a round of heavy fundraising for Breast Friends Forever, the non-profit they created as high school freshmen. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

donegoodlogoOctober, 2006 was the start of a rough stretch for the families of Mike Ruane and Erika Rech of Middletown.

Rech’s mother was diagnosed with stage-three breast cancer. Six months later, two more women in the family were diagnosed with the disease.

“We were surrounded by chemo and radiation,” Rech said.

In response, the two raised $1,000 in a local Relay For Life fundraiser, but wanted to do more. So they did some research and a lot of legwork and, by 2007, were founders of a non-profit, Breast Friends Forever.

Perhaps even harder to fathom than the odds of three family members being diagnosed with breast cancer in such a short timeframe: Rech and Ruane were both only 15 years old when they founded the non-profit.

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COUNCIL WANTS ITS FAIR SHARE OF AID

mennaMayor Pasquale Menna ponders the borough’s future on Monday night as he discussed possible cuts in state aid. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Pairing the word ‘doomsday’ with ‘budget’ doesn’t exactly evoke a warm fuzzy feeling, but Red Bank officials are prepared to put them together if the state’s new governor, Chris Christie, runs a scythe through state aid this budget season, as he’s all but promised.

Because about 16 percent, or roughly $320 million, of Red Bank’s assessed value consists of non-profits — meaning the borough doesn’t collect taxes from those groups but still has to provide necessary services to them — a major loss, like 25 percent as Christie has proposed, would be crippling, said councilman Michael DuPont.

That’s why he asked the council to get on board with a message to Trenton urging state officials to recognize Red Bank’s unique situation and be kind with its cuts.

“I think the state needs to understand this is a hardship,” DuPont said.

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