BRICK, NJ — The Brick Township Police Benevolent Association has been raising funds to help families in need for more than 25 years. But when the coronavirus pandemic shut down New Jersey in mid-March, it appeared the PBA would not be able to achieve that in 2020.
The PBA was scheduled to hold its Helping Hands Basketball Game on March 27 to help the family of Bentley Stanwise, a 3-year-old Brick boy who has multiple physical and medical challenges.
The Helping Hands games typically draw a large crowd to support the PBA and each family chosen for help, but the shutdown forced the postponement. With indoor gatherings continuing to be limited in the pandemic, the PBA made the formal decision to cancel the game for 2020.
That cancellation, however, didn't prevent the PBA from helping the Stanwise family. The PBA received $15,000 in donations to assist the family, said Brick Patrolman John Turrin, who was leading the effort.
Bentley has been diagnosed with cardiofaciocutaneous syndrome, commonly referred to as CFC syndrome. CFC syndrome is a very rare genetic mutation that causes a variety of issues, including heart problems, skin conditions and muscular problems. He suffers from epilepsy, brain lesions, optic nerve hypoplasia, has difficulty with his airways, is dependent on a gastric tube for feeding, and is nonverbal, as well as other issues, his family says.
CFC syndrome is estimated to affect 1 in every 810,000 people and just over 400 people in the world are currently diagnosed with CFC.
"I am personally overwhelmed and proud of all who have helped in attempting to set up this event, all who have donated to this event, and all that have offered to assist," Turrin said.
The success came from an outpouring of help from PBA Local 230 members, residents of Brick Township, and people who heard about the event on social media or by word of mouth.
Costco, Jersey Mike's, Ocean County Vocational Technical School, Morgan Printing, and Contact Mailing all helped, and Turrin also thanked Brick Township High School football coach Len Zdanowicz and his players.
"The PBA would also like to personally thank the students and staff from the Ocean County Vocational Technical School's A.L.P.S. (Administration of Law and Public Safety) Program for raising $3,700," Turrin said.
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