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DV Year In Review: Wallington Woman Aids Cousin Battling Cancer

Veronica Rosario-Jackson, left, with Bernadette Vargas, center, and Sonia Aviles, right, after a breast cancer awareness walk in Wayne this fall.
Veronica Rosario-Jackson, left, with Bernadette Vargas, center, and Sonia Aviles, right, after a breast cancer awareness walk in Wayne this fall. Photo Credit: Facebook
Bernadette Vargas
Bernadette Vargas Photo Credit: Cecilia Levine
Fair Lawn officials, friends and family embrace Bearn Vargas on Tuesday evening.
Fair Lawn officials, friends and family embrace Bearn Vargas on Tuesday evening. Photo Credit: Sonia Aviles

Daily Voice this week is running down some of the top stories of 2015, leading up to the most popular Thursday. Here is one of the stories that left a big impression on us.

WALLINGTON, N.J. — More than $5,600 had been raised as of Wednesday morning on a GoFundMe page a Wallington woman established in August to help her cousin battle stage II breast cancer.

Veronica Rosario-Jackson created the account after Bernadette Vargas, of Fair Lawn, had lost her job after the diagnosis.

Because of Jackson's account, Vargas has been the recipient of several community efforts including an annual Christmas tradition organized by Fair Lawn officials.

Police officers, neighbors, Christmas carolers and loved ones rode in Fair Lawn fire engines and police cars to surprise Vargas with presents, gift cards and a whole lot of holiday cheer.

“I am fortunate to have had support from my family, friends and members of our community from the moment of my diagnosis,” Vargas said. “But the night my children and I were surprised by 'Operation Santa Boone' magnified the genuine beauty that has surrounded us.”

Vargas has endured six rounds of chemotherapy treatments, and is scheduled to go into surgery next week.

With radiation therapy and approximately one year of infusion treatments on the horizon, Vargas’ battle is far from over.

“Receiving a call from my doctor informing me that I have cancer still seems surreal, but I stand tall knowing I have never fought alone,” she said.

“This year has been filled with many surprises, but the biggest is realizing that cancer brought upon more joy in our hearts than pain.”

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