By MADDY VITALE
Sandy Rollman was just 33 years old when she died of ovarian cancer in 2000.
Twenty-two years later, the people whose lives Rollman touched, her sister, Adriana Way, and her oncology nurse, Robin Cohen, continue to keep her memory alive and raise awareness about the disease and generate funds to advance research.
The duo created the Sandy Rollman Ovarian Cancer Foundation in December of 2000 and on Saturday, July 23, they will host the sixth annual Sandy Sprint Sea Isle City Run/Walk at Excursion Park.
“We expect 400 people. It’s a wonderful event that brings together the beach community to raise awareness and funds for ovarian cancer research,” said Cohen, who is still a nurse.
Cancer survivor, Sue Sears, who has a home in Sea Isle, is involved in the foundation and has a team in the run.
Cohen also noted that Amy Glancey, owner along with her husband, Chris Glancey, of the Shorebreak Cafe and Ludlam Bar & Grill in Sea Isle, are sponsoring the event.
Amy lost her aunt, Eileen Lucas, to ovarian cancer in 2000. She also lost her cousin, Nancy Senn Fisher, to ovarian cancer seven years ago.
After the run/walk, the Glanceys are hosting an afterparty at the Ludlam Bar & Grill, where Amy’s aunt’s son, Christopher Lucas, is the head chef.
“We want to support this great cause,” Amy said.
The Sandy Sprint Sea Isle City includes a 5k Run, 2-mile Family Fun Walk, Survivor Ceremony and more. Participants create a fundraising page to help reach their goal and can join a team or create their own. Registration fees are $40 for adults, $30 for children under 12, and $40 for virtual participants.
The foundation also has hosted a run/walk fundraiser in Philadelphia for the past 18 years. The last one, in April, was a major success, said Kate Marlys, owner of Philly PR Girl who does the releases for the foundation.
Hosting the run/walk at the shore helps to bring awareness to even more people about ovarian cancer, Marlys said.
Cohen became close friends with Rollman when she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in December of 1999. Rollman died six months later.
The two became close during the time that Cohen was Rollman’s oncology nurse.
She wanted to help keep her legacy alive, joined up with Rollman’s sister, and two decades later the foundation continues to help those fighting ovarian cancer.
At the time that Rollman was alive, there were just two drugs available to her for treatment, Cohen said in an interview with SeaIsleNews.com last year.
“She never had a chance,” she said.
That is when she and Adriana Way spoke about doing something to help others battling ovarian cancer.
“Adriana and I wanted to create something that could help others the way Sandy couldn’t be helped because the resources weren’t available at the time,” Cohen said in the prior interview.
Marlys said the passion to keep her friend’s memory alive is touching. She also noted that Way is still very much involved in the foundation.
“This foundation is a passion project, and it is her life. To work with her is an honor,” Marlys said. “As a PR firm, we love working with nonprofits that are doing good work. Robin and the foundation are really helping so many women and their families.”
She added, “We have the best hospitals here and sometimes it is about the research. And that is what they are doing to help.”