Young Princesses Raise Awareness for a Cure

Co-queens, from left, Anabelle Scalora, Carly Kriak and Pink Princess, Hunter Geltzeiler.

The Pink Princesses, with tulips for last year’s Garden of Hope at Race for the Cure.

It’s not uncommon for teenaged girls to have an affinity for pink, but for 14-year-old West Orange residents Carly Kriak and Anabelle Scalora, who began volunteering with the Susan G. Komen Foundation’s North Jersey affiliate in 2009, the hue is a symbol of hope, education and action.

In fall 2010, the junior volunteers, along with affiliate founder Deb Belfatto and volunteer development manager, Coleen Miller, launched Pink Princesses, a breast cancer awareness initiative aimed at spreading the word to young people about early detection and education and encouraging them to get involved.

In January 2011, Scalora’s mother, Sharon, was diagnosed with breast cancer. In the coming months, she would undergo a bilateral mastectomy, four months of chemotherapy and six weeks of radiation.

“The Pink Princesses became more meaningful after my diagnosis,” says Sharon, who describes daughter Anabelle as a nurturer who always gravitates toward people in need.

The Pink Princesses attend Susan G. Komen North Jersey fundraising events, sometimes with as many as 50 girls (many whose lives have been touched by the disease through family members or friends), all clad in their signature pink tutus and tiaras. What else would princesses wear? “They are pure goodness,” says Belfatto.

The “co-queens,” now high school freshmen (Scalora at West Orange High School, and Kriak at Mount St. Mary’s Academy), and their team will lend a hand at the annual 5K Race for the Cure (908-277-2904, ext. 14;, scheduled for May 6.

Last year, the Pink Princesses helped create oversized tulips for the race’s Garden of Hope, where patrons “plant” messages for loved ones battling cancer. The tulips raised approximately $5,000.

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