Over the past few months, the story of seven-year-old Jason Condit’s battle with cancer has traveled throughout Union County. One young man from Cranford has answered the call to help.
In September, Condit, the son of Clark Dairy Queen owners Bill and Lois, was diagnosed with a malignant tumor in his kidney and stage four cancer that spread to his spine and bone marrow. He has spent the past seven months receiving chemotherapy treatments at Newark Beth Israel Hospital, which successfully shrunk the tumor, and experimental drugs at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, to combat the cancer in the rest of his body.
Matthew Muller, 15, a ninth grader at Cranford High School, was working on service hours for school when his mother, Barbara (Boo), told him about Condit. Condit's story brought back memories of a friend who was diagnosed with leukemia when Muller was in fourth grade. Muller had visited that friend and had seen firsthand the effects of the disease. He knew that he had to do something.
Muller enlisted the help of his father, Dave, a sixth grade teacher in Belleville, to combine his desire to help with his family’s love for cooking. The pair decided that Muller would hold a fundraiser and go to work in the kitchen, turning out 400 chocolate lollipops in both dark and milk chocolate flavors.
His enthusiasm also encouraged his sisters, McKayla, 14, and McKenzie, 10, to get involved, and they started an assembly line to package the pops.
“It was fun,” Matthew said. “It was a family thing.”
He brought his wares to school and sold the pops during his lunch period for $1 each. Members of the high school’s peer group also volunteered to help, selling the lollipops during the other lunch periods.
“Everyone said, ‘This is such a good thing that you’re doing, you should be proud,’” Muller told Patch. Matthew sold off all of the lollipops and raised $350 for Jason’s Friends during the next weeks.
“We’re very proud that he’s chosen to spend his time this way,” Muller's father said, adding that he used it as a learning experience and discussed with his son what the necessary considerations would be for this type of business venture, while they melted 20-30 pounds of chocolate.
Muller said that he hopes his family can attend one of the restaurant fundraisers taking place in the area. Bertucci's in Woodbridge also will donate 15 percent of its proceeds today, May 10. Similar fundraisers are planned at Bistro 1051 and the Windsor Diner. In September, the Clark Pool will host a motorcycle rally and fundraiser.
Jason’s Friends continues to accept 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, which must be received by April 22, for a Tricky Tray auction to be held on May 4 at the Clark VFW Post 7363.
For more information, contact Carene Sangiuliano, Century 21 JRS Realty, at 732-396-0606.