But years after her death Goodwin is still fighting breast cancer, as her memory continues to live on as part of the 5th annual "Walk for Diane." The event has raised thousands of dollars for The Amy Foundation, which has helped nearly 2,000 uninsured women from central New Jersey obtain free mammograms through partnerships and programs that began in 2007.
"It's been told to us by not only hospitals, but physicians and people on the front lines, that what we're doing is very important," said John Goodwin of South Brunswick, Diane's husband and a member of the Board of Trustees for The Amy Foundation. "Just because the political climate is changing, we don't feel a need to stop. The need for funds to fight this disease will always be necessary, since the whole point is to get early detection."
Following the death of his wife Amy in 2007 at the age of 49 after a six-year battle with breast cancer, Kendall Park resident Arie Behar created The Amy Foundation with a mission to help women over the age of 40, who are without health insurance, obtain free screening mammograms.
Since its inception, the foundation has raised over $350,000. In 2011, The Amy Foundation worked with Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Foundation in New Brunswick to establish “The Amy Fund,” which supports follow-up diagnostic procedures, such as ultrasounds, for women whose mammograms suggest the possibility of breast cancer.
The foundation also maintains partnerships and programs with Saint Peter’s University Hospital in New Brunswick and the University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro.
As one of two major fundraising events run by the foundation each year, the "Walk for Diane" holds a special meaning, as Amy and Diane were friends who helped provide support for each other as they were fighting breast cancer.
"Neither Amy or Diane were women who sought the spotlight," Goodwin said. "They were highly intelligent, accomplished women. They were givers and that's part of our desire, not only to honor them, but to do something good for the community and that's one of the reasons The Amy Foundation has been as successful as an all-volunteer organization can be. I think all of this can bring some relief and good for others, so Diane and Amy would be pleased with that because they were all about helping others."Since the first "Walk for Diane," Goodwin said the event has grown exponentially as has the foundation. Goodwin praised the group of people who have donated to the foundation since it's inception, with donations coming in from all 50 states in the U.S. and overseas.
"It speaks volumes about the people registering and donating and I think the world of them," Goodwin said. "An increase in funds we receive means we can help more women and it's very touching and humbling to see this. Breast cancer touches people all over the world and these donations are proof of that."
The Goodwin family and a large contingent of volunteers will come together again on Oct. 20 for the "Walk for Diane" at Buccleuch Park in New Brunswick, as the event also coincides with National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The 5K walk begins at 9 a.m. with check-in at 8 a.m. It will originate and end in the park at the intersection of Easton Avenue and Huntington Street, across from Saint Peter’s University Hospital.
There is no registration fee for the “Walk for Diane” this year, but each participant is asked to raise $70, which is half the cost of a mammogram, using the foundation’s online fundraising tool at The Amy Foundation website: www.amyfoundation.com.
To register as an individual and begin fundraising, click "Become a Fundraiser." You will then be given the option to create a team or join an existing team, but the registration is not complete until you create a personal fund-raising page.
"Even if people can't make the walk that day, they can register as virtual walkers and that means a lot too, because people can use their social network to increase donations," Goodwin said. "It all counts, every single person or group giving a donation, doing the walk, the doctors, hospitals and caregivers. It all matters. That's why I feel this foundation will be around for a long time."