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Teens text-message to raise money

Posted on: 01/10/2008

Teens text-message to raise money
Youths expected to raise $100K in 10 minutes at Feb. 28 fundraiser
Parents should not get mad next month when their teens say they will "ttyl" or "talk to you later" in order to take part in a text-messaging frenzy.

When scores of teens and tweens in the area text on Feb. 28, itwill bemore than the usual chat with friends. It is a fundraising benefit to support programs at the David S. Zocchi Brain Tumor Center at Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch.

The teens participating in the fundraiser are planned to raise $100,000 in 10 minutes, according to Judith Zocchi, who is the driving force behind the event.

"It is a fresh take on a walkathon concept, only it is packaged in today's culture," said Zocchi lastweek, explaining the texting fundraiser. "It involves kids in the world in which they live.

"I had just learned the art of textingmyself andwanted to develop a newfundraiser for the center involving a new group of people," she added.

"Text for 10" is a fundraising campaign aimed at raising money for The David S. Zocchi Brain Tumor Center, as well as to raise awareness of themany comprehensive services it provides to treat benign andmalignant brain tumors.

David S. Zocchi died in 2005 after an almost six-year battle with brain cancer. Judith Zocchi was a key player in developing the first brain tumor center in the state at Monmouth Medical Center, which was named in her husband's memory.

Zocchi said she was troubled to learn of themany young people who have lost a parent to a brain tumor or who are living with a parent who has a brain tumor.

"It is hard enough forme, as an adult, to deal with the loss of my husband," Zocchi said. "I can't imagine how a child who has lost a parent must feel.

"Teens and tweens have an amazing energy. They really want to help. They love to do things with their friends.

"All you have to do is give themdirection and they will make it happen. It is also what takes our story full circle.

"Part of themoney will be used to set up a program to help the kids who are experiencing the trauma of having a parent with a brain tumor or who have lost a parent with a brain tumor," Zocchi said.

Participating in the fundraising event will be 100 teams of 10 tweens and teens to each team. Each kid will guarantee a minimum

of 10 pledges to text, and each pledge will be making a minimum donation of $10 each, according to Zocchi.

On Feb. 28, participating teens and tweens will gather at seven locations, including six Surf Taco restaurants and the Monmouth Medical Center cafeteria. At 6 p.m. the members of the team will simultaneously text their pledges for donations.

Then on March 5, or Bank Day, the captains of each team will deliver all money collected through the fundraiser to a select Central Jersey Bank location.

The team that raises the most money will be rewarded with a grand prize that includes a tour of MTV Studios, tickets to TRL (Total Request Live) and a party for the winning team and 30 of their friends at Surf Taco in Belmar.

The proceeds raised during the texting fundraiser will benefit the David S. Zocchi Brain Tumor Center and a portion of the proceeds will be used to start a fund to help support the children of patients with brain tumors or children who have lost a loved one to a brain tumor.

"We will raise $100,000 in 10 minutes," Zocchi said. "Of course Iwill be thrilled to do more, but that is my minimum projection.

"Part of the money will go to form programs to support the children who have parents with brain tumors or lost a parent with a brain tumor.

"The rest will go to support the operations of the center ofmany different levels," she said.

Area students from the following schools are participating in the event: Memorial Middle School in Eatontown, Red Bank Middle School, Red Bank Catholic, The Ranney School in Tinton Falls, Mater DeiHigh School inNewMonmouth, several schools in Middletown, The Shrewsbury Borough Elementary School, Monsignor Donovan High School in Toms River, ManasquanHigh School,MarlboroHigh School, Communications High School in Wall, Allied Health & Science in Neptune and St. Rose in Belmar.

The event is being co-chaired by Olivia Questore, who is 14 years old and lost her father last year to a brain tumor.

Questore alone built 20 teams of 10 members each, according to Zocchi, who added that she wanted the kids to take control of the event and make it their own.

The fundraiser has beenmade public by word of mouth, as well as by kids making their own MySpace and Facebook pages.

"The parents are as excited as the teens," Zocchi said. "The teens love Surf Taco and the thought of winning the MTV prizes.

"I amthrilled by the support and enthusiasm that this event has generated," she said, adding, "Raisingmoney is very important to support the center, but raising awareness is more important."

Zocchi said that the event has given her the opportunity to tell a story that needs to be heard.

"When you appeal to people in a way that is fun and exciting, they feel part of the mission," Zocchi said. "[They] want to help people who are experiencing the very difficult journey of dealing with diagnosis brain tumor.

"I have had the pleasure of having Surf Taco, Central Jersey Bank, Creative Seven Graphic Design and hundreds of kids and adults become engaged and give.

"Not one person or company I have asked to help has said no. What does that say?" she asked.

Zocchi said that she is also looking for corporate sponsors to match what the kids raise, explaining that a group could match 10 cents for every $1 raised. She is also

accepting flat donations to support the effort.

For more information, call the "Text for 10" hot line at (732) 528-4517 or e-mail Cheryl Questore at cafarrington22@ The following two Web sites can also be visited, and Registration forms can be faxed to (732) 528-4518.

For participating SurfTaco locations, visit Coupons are also available on the Text for 10 Web site and can be used in any Surf Taco restaurant up to Feb. 29.When a coupon is used, 20 percent of the check will be donated to the brain tumor center.

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