Cancer-Fighting Local Bergen Police Departments Unite For Stricken Mom, Young Son

North Jersey single mother Joanne Bastante-Howard has worked tirelessly for years to provide essential resources for children who, like her son, have Down syndrome.

Bastante-Howard, a former advertising and marketing whirlwind, is personally responsible for raising more than $100,000 to help obtain critical medical, educational and therapeutic services for those in need through the non-profit organization she founded, America’s Special Kidz (ASK).

Parents of children with a wide variety of conditions — including autism spectrum disorders, cerebral palsy and mitochondrial disorders — have turned to Bastante-Howard for help.

She has always been there for them.

It is heartbreaking to many that Bastante-Howard is now the one who needs it as breast cancer cruelly tries to take her life.

In a seemingly unprecedented move, seven police forces in Northwestern Bergen have responded by uniting for a “No-Shave November” to remember.

Not only that – they are extending the campaign until the end of 2021 and are offering “Borough of Beards” t-shirts to anyone who donates at least $40 to the charity.

Participating police forces:

Ho-Ho-Kus;Upper Saddle River;Franklin Lakes;Oakland;Saddle River;Woodcliff Lake;Wyckoff.

As cancer continues its ruthless punishment, Woodland Park’s Bastante-Howard continues to radiate gratitude for the goodwill of others.

Even in the hospital, she makes time to name them all in social media posts — and begs forgiveness if she can’t say “thank you” fast enough.

She also asks everyone involved to pray for her son, John, 13, who attends ECLC School in Ho-Ho-Kus, as well as her parents.

“God knows that taking care of them is all that matters to me,” Bastante-Howard wrote today.

The goal of “No-Shave November” is to “raise awareness by embracing our hair, which many cancer patients lose, and let it grow wild and free”, according to “Donate the money you normally spend on shaving and grooming to educate about cancer prevention, save lives, and help people take the fight.”

It started after eight siblings in Chicago lost their father, Matthew Hill, to colon cancer. The idea was to raise awareness for cancer patients struggling with hair loss.

Police departments started getting involved in 2009 and it’s gotten bigger and bigger – and even bigger than that – ever since.

The Hill siblings also founded a nonprofit organization, the Matthew Hill Foundation, six years ago to help fund cancer research, prevention, and education.

Officers don’t have to get hairy if they don’t want to. They can donate personally.

So can you.

GO TO: Borough of Beards 2021

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