Second Annual Caroline Fund 5K Raises More Than $100,000 to Benefit Brain and Spine Tumor Research at the John Theurer Cancer Center at HackensackUMC

October 6, 2015 11:38 AM
Caroline Fund 5K raised over $100,000 to benefit the Caroline Vandemark Fund for Brain and Spine Tumor Research at The John Theurer Cancer Center

Hackensack University Medical Center (HackensackUMC) announced today that the Caroline Fund 5K raised more than $100,000 to benefit the Caroline Vandemark Fund for Brain and Spine Tumor Research at the HackensackUMC Foundation.  Nearly 1,000 people participated in the second annual event on September 12 in Caldwell, New Jersey, raising more than double the amount from the previous year.

The Caroline Fund is a nonprofit that was established in memory of Caroline Vandemark, 22, who lost her life in 2013 to an aggressive form of brain tumor called a glioblastoma. Vandemark’s family, friends and doctors were all inspired by her positive attitude and hopeful spirit throughout her year-long battle with cancer. Vandemark, a resident of Caldwell, was diagnosed with glioblastoma prior to her senior year at East Stroudsburg University in Pennsylvania.  After undergoing multiple rounds of treatments and surgeries, Vandemark fulfilled her dream of graduating with her classmates a month before her death.

“It is amazing to see the amount of lives Caroline has touched in her short time with us,” said Mary Vandemark, Caroline Vandemark’s mother.  “My late husband Charlie and I were so proud of her, and we are so proud of the positive impact she has had in the years since. The amount of love and support our family has received is simply overwhelming, and I know that the money we raised this year will go on to help the amazing doctors at HackensackUMC find a cure for brain and spinal cancer.”

Caroline’s courage and generosity moved her doctors, Samuel Goldlust, M.D., and George Kaptain, M.D., to establish a fund in her name, Caroline Vandemark Fund for Brain and Spine Tumor Research, which is dedicated to finding a cure for glioblastoma and other cancers of the brain and spine. 

“Patients like Caroline always stay with you,” said Dr. Goldlust.  “Caroline’s positivity and courage left an impact on everyone with whom she came into contact.  It is an honor to continue working to find a cure for brain cancer in her memory, and we are so grateful to the Caroline Fund for their continued support.”

The John Theurer Cancer Center’s Brain and Spine Institute offers cutting edge clinical care and research for primary and metastatic brain tumors as well as the varied neurologic complications of cancer. The Institute is led by neuro-oncologist Dr. Goldlust, and neurosurgeon Dr. Kaptain, who are dedicated to advancing the care of their patients by improving both the survival rate and quality of life.

“It is incredible to see Caroline’s memory live on through her family and friends as well as through the work of the Caroline Fund,” said Dr. Kaptain.  “Her passion for life continues to encourage all of us to make the most of every opportunity and push forward toward our goal of finding a cure for glioblastoma and other forms of brain and spinal tumors.”

The Caroline Fund 5K is a grassroots event that enjoys an outpouring of support, not only from family and friends who knew Vandemark, but also from area residents and HackensackUMC patients who have been touched by her example and story.  In its second year, attendance grew from 600 attendees to nearly 1,000. 

This year’s event was also in memory of Caroline’s father, Charlie Vandemark, who passed away suddenly earlier this year at the age of 61. Charlie Vandemark was president of the Caroline Fund and is survived by his beloved wife Mary and daughter Eileen.

About Hackensack University Medical Center

HackensackUMC, a nonprofit teaching and research hospital located in Bergen County, NJ, is the largest provider of inpatient and outpatient services in the state. Founded in 1888 as the county’s first hospital, it is the flagship hospital of Hackensack University Health Network, one of the largest health networks in the state comprised of 1,717 beds, more than 10,000 employees and 3,300 credentialed physicians. HackensackUMC was listed as the number one hospital in New Jersey in U.S. News & World Report’s 2015-16 Best Hospital rankings - maintaining its place atop the NJ rankings since the rating system was introduced. HackensackUMC is one of Healthgrades America's 50 Best Hospitals™ for nine years in a row, and received the Healthgrades Distinguished Hospital Award for Clinical Excellence™ 13 years in a row. The medical center has also been named a Leapfrog Top Hospital, is one of the top 25 green hospitals in the country according to Practice Greenhealth, and received 23 Gold Seals of Approval™ by the Joint Commission – more than any other hospital in the country. It was the first hospital in New Jersey and second in the nation to become a Magnet® recognized hospital for nursing excellence; receiving its fifth consecutive designation in 2014. HackensackUMC has created an entire campus of award-winning care, including: the John Theurer Cancer Center; the Heart & Vascular Hospital; and the Sarkis and Siran Gabrellian Women’s and Children’s Pavilion, which houses the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital and Donna A. Sanzari Women’s Hospital, which was designed with The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center and listed on the Green Guide’s list of Top 10 Green Hospitals in the U.S. HackensackUMC is the Hometown Hospital of the New York Giants and the New York Red Bulls and is the Official Medical Services Provider to The Barclays PGA Golf Tournament. It remains committed to its community through fundraising and community events. To learn more, visit:  


About John Theurer Cancer Center at Hackensack University Medical Center

John Theurer Cancer Center at Hackensack University Medical Center is among the nation’s top 50 U.S. News and World Report Best Hospitals for cancer – the highest ranked in New Jersey with this designation. It is New Jersey's largest and most comprehensive cancer center dedicated to the diagnosis, treatment, management, research, screenings, preventive care, as well as survivorship of patients with all types of cancer.


Each year, more people in the New Jersey/New York metropolitan area turn to John Theurer Cancer Center for cancer care than to any other facility in New Jersey. The 14 specialized divisions feature a team of medical, research, nursing, and support staff with specialized expertise that translates into more advanced, focused care for all patients. John Theurer Cancer Center provides comprehensive multidisciplinary care, state of the art technology, and access to clinical trials, compassionate care and medical expertise— all under one roof. Physicians at John Theurer Cancer Center are members of Regional Cancer Care Associates one of the nation’s largest professional hematology/oncology groups. For more information, please visit

About the Caroline Fund

The Caroline Fund is a non-profit organization in support of brain and spine tumor research at Hackensack University Medical Center, and is exempt from taxation under section 501(c)(3) of the IRS code.

The Caroline Fund was established in 2013 in memory of Caroline Vandemark, 22, who lost her life to an aggressive form of brain cancer, glioblastoma multiforme. The Caroline Fund team stands by the belief that positivity cures and strives to use Caroline's positive energy to find a cure for cancer. 

The Caroline Fund seeks to raise funds and awareness to support the cutting edge brain and spine tumor research performed by Caroline's neuro-oncologist, brain surgeon and nurses at the John Theurer Cancer Center at Hackensack University Medical Center. The positive and lasting impact that Caroline left with them led them to name the Caroline Vandemark Fund for Brain and Spine Tumor Research in her memory. Donations made to the Caroline Fund directly benefit this research.









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