2010-01-21 / Front Page

Locals do a ‘Wii’ bit of fundraising to help fight cancer

Video game tournament raises $1,200 for pediatric treatments
BY JENNIFER BOOTON

SOUTH BRUNSWICK — A Nintendo Wii charity tournament held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Monroe and South Brunswick on Jan. 14 helped raise funds for the fight against childhood cancer.

The first interactive video game tournament, sponsored in part by the New Jersey Credit Unions League in Hightstown, gathered 43 participants of all ages who bowled their way to raising approximately $1,200 for Cure Kids Cancer and the Children’s Miracle Network.

The Children’s Miracle Network generates funds and awareness programs to support member hospitals and foundations. Cure Kids Cancer is a nonprofit organization that seeks to find treatments and cures for children’s cancers by raising funds, awareness and supporting over 80 hospitals nationwide. Both organizations work locally with the Bristol-Myers Squibb Children’s Hospital (BMSCH) at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick.

BMSCH is the state’s largest freestanding, state-designated acute-care children’s hospital that targets all ages, from newborns to adolescents. The state-of-the-art facility has nearly 10,000 inpatient admissions and 22,000 pediatric emergency visits each year and is one of the top-rated children’s hospitals in the country for patient satisfaction.

Among the attendees at last Thursday’s event was Stephen Jones, president and chief executive officer of the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital and a 12-year resident of Kendall Park.

Using the hand-held Wii remote controllers, teams of two bowled against each another at the hotel’s Yogi’s All-American Sports Bar & Grill in the race for three grand prizes: a golf foursome at Forsgate Country Club in Jamesburg, a Sony Webbie HD camcorder, or a portable Emerson icemaker.

A pair from both the Central Jersey Federal Credit Union and McGraw Hill Employees Federal Credit Union took the firstand second-place spots.

“It went terrific. … The games were so competitive,” said Paul Gentile, New Jersey Credit Unions League president and chief executive officer. “The goal was to have some fun with Wii and also raise some money for the [organizations].”

Sponsors included the New Jersey Credit Unions League, Crowne Plaza Hotel- Monroe/South Brunswick, the Children’s Miracle Network, Cure Kids Cancer, the Forsgate Country Club, Fedway Associates, and Costco Distribution in Monroe Township.

The New Jersey Credit Union League, which spearheaded the event, is the statewide trade association for New Jersey credit unions. Credit unions are nonprofit financial cooperatives owned by their members, according to Gentile. New Jersey is home to approximately 200 credit unions that serve 1.2 million members with banking services.

Gentile said the idea for the event emerged from the credit unions’ annual convention in Atlantic City, where Wii is played.

Golf outings and other outdoor activities are always fundraising options during the spring and summer, he said, but an indoor event, such as the Wii tournament, was perfect for wintertime.

The event was fun, and it went toward a great cause, Gentile said, so the organization will most likely plan for its second annualWii charity tournament again next year.

Contact Jennifer Booton at

jbooton@gmnews.com.

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