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Teens Raise Money for Girl With Cancer

Car wash proceeds donated to 5-year-old West Caldwell girl with a rare form of cancer.

The line of cars snaked through the parking lot of Notre Dame Church in North Caldwell.

Some customers didn't even get their cars washed, they just handed $20 bills to volunteers and drove away, waving or honking.

On Wednesday afternoon, students from the Caldwells got together to hold a three-hour car wash for Juliana, a 5-year-old West Caldwell girl who is battling a rare form of cancer. They sprayed cars with water, scrubbed the windows with soapy sponges, and dried them by hand with towels.

A pink hand-lettered sign read: "You are so loved Juliana."

The volunteers, girls from Caldwell, West Caldwell and North Caldwell, also sold baked goods they made themselves. 

"We just want to help her as much as possible," said 14-year-old Alexandra Arleo of Caldwell, one of the volunteers.

The car wash was organized by Juliana's neighbors, Elizabeth Elliott and Lindsey Patterson of West Caldwell, who used text messages, Facebook and Twitter posts, and tacked up posters around town to harness their friends to participate.

"Once they heard the story it realy touched their hearts and they wanted to help," Elliott said. The girls also sold rainbow-colored bracelets in honor of Juliana. They said they would donate the money to her family to help offset medical costs and any other financial needs.

Juliana's father asked that his daughter's last name remain unpublished to protect her privacy, but expressed his gratitude at the kindness that's been shown to his family.

"There's been so much generosity, support and love," he said, adding that he is seeking clinical trials for his daughter's cancer, which is rare and difficult to treat. He said money raised for his family is being placed in a trust and whatever is not used by the family would be donated to cancer research.

Arleo said  recently held a healing mass for Juliana, "The whole church was filled, we were praying and praying."

Volunteer Victoria Franklin was one of the girls who worked washing cars and said she and the other girls were happy to be there, "They understand. They want to help out. She's a little girl."

Parents Lori Olsen, Maggie Patterson, and Maureen Mullin helped organize the car wash and recent high-school graduate Meredith King rallied her classmates to attend.

Tennis coach Ron Masson got his car washed and said he was told about the fundraiser from one of his students. He was joined by parents, community members and neighbors who heard about the event.

Maggie Patterson looked around the parking lot with pride and gave the girls credit for pulling the event together, "This is the West Essex community."

Juliana's dad said he was touched by community's support, "We can use all of the prayers we can get."

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