Schedules are full and money is tight, but Clark residents have still come out in droves to support the Condit family. Jason Condit, the 7-year-old son of Clark Dairy Queen owners Bill and Lois, was diagnosed with cancer in September, and his plight has inspired the community.
The story is a parent’s worst nightmare — Jason visited the school nurse one day complaining of a stomachache. His mother picked him up from school and took him to their family physician, who ordered tests. By the next day, the tests revealed the bad news: a malignant tumor on Jason’s kidney and stage 4 cancer that had spread to his spine and bone marrow.
Since September, Jason has been in and out of Newark Beth Israel Hospital receiving chemotherapy treatments, which successfully shrunk the tumor on his kidney so that surgeons were able to remove it. Last week, Jason received experimental drugs at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia to combat the cancer in the rest of his body.
The Condits (who also have a daughter in college) live in Springfield and have owned the Clark Dairy Queen on Westfield Avenue for more than 20 years. They've been struggling under these harrowing circumstances, Carene Sangiuliano, a realtor at Century 21 JRS Realty in Clark and a close friend of the family, told Patch.
"He had a stomachache and all of a sudden it’s cancer," Sangiuliano said. "We should all count our blessings."
Sangiuliano and several other members of Century 21 and the Clark community have pooled their resources to plan a Tricky Tray auction to help with the family’s medical bills. They are also selling $3 blue bracelets that say "Jason's Friends," at Century 21, the Clark Recreation Center and various other locations.
The Jason’s Friends Tricky Tray will be held May 4 from 6 p.m. until 10 p.m. at the Clark VFW Post 7363. The event — a $20 entrance fee includes finger foods, beverages and homemade desserts, as well as music provided by DJ Adams — sold out its 200 tickets in just 10 days. Sangiuliano said she is working to find space in the hall, which the VFW donated for the cause, for the people on the waiting list.
Others in the community have created fundraisers to benefit Jason’s Friends, including a Zumba for a Cause tomorrow night at the Clark Recreation Center on Westfield Avenue from 7 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 per person or $40 for a family of four. Raffles begin at 6:30 p.m. when the doors open.
Bill and Lois Condit are very appreciative of the community’s support, Sangiuliano said. “These are hard-working people who've always been involved in the community,” she said. “One of the reasons there's been such an outpouring is that these two people have never said no to anybody. They’ve always been good to the community and now they need our help. Now’s the time to pay them back for all their goodness.”
Sangiuliano is still is accepting monetary contributions in any amount — made payable to “Jason’s Friends,” and sent to Century 21 JRS Realty, 138 Westfield Avenue in Clark — as well as item donations, baskets and gift certificates for the Tricky Tray auction, which must be received by April 22. (Cards can also be sent to Century 21.)
In addition to these fundraisers, Chili's in Clark will be donating 10 percent of checks from patrons who bring in the blue Jason's Friends flyer on April 26 to the cause. Bertucci's in Woodbridge will also donate 15 percent of their proceeds on May 10. Similiar fundraisers are planned at Bistro 1051 and the Windsor Diner. In September, there will also be a motorcycle rally and fundraiser at the Clark Pool.
For more information, contact Carene Sangiuliano at 732-396-0606.