Saddle Brook resident Sean Cullen was dealt a bad hand recently, but he and his Paramus public works colleagues aren't folding.
Cullen's fellow DPW buddies have banded together for the 26-year old husband and father of two young boys during his battle with Hodgkin's lymphoma, a cancer of the lymph tissue that often affects young adults and is considered highly treatable.
Fellow DPW employees Karl Vander Sluis, Gary Dasilva and Kevin Osiadicz have spearheaded fundraising efforts to support Cullen and his family while he's receiving treatment.
"We're all brothers," said Dasilva, about his fellow employees. "We live there more than we do at home. We have to take care of each other."
Many of the DPW workers have donated their unused sick time to Cullen, who was without any, but Vander Sluis said they knew there was even more they could do.
So they settled on a $25 pasta dinner fundraiser at the Paramus Elks, with proceeds going to pay for Cullen's treatment at and travel to Sloan Kettering in New York.
Van Sluis and Osiadicz both said Cullen would have done the same for them, noting his involvement volunteering for the DPW's annual food drive that raises money for the Paramus food pantry.
In addition to his DPW work, Cullen also works security at Garden State Plaza and landscapes for additional income to help support his wife, Ruthe, and their two young boys, Sean, 2, and Jack, 1.
Vander Sluis said Cullen's mall security co-workers are supporting his cause by selling wristlets.
The Paramus business community has also generously pitched in to support Cullen, Dasilva said.
Cullen, who remains out of work, said he is extremely thankful for the generosity, support and love of his friends, co-workers and the community and that he hopes to return to work as soon as possible.
The pasta dinner event is set for Saturday, Oct. 20 from 6 to 10 p.m. at the Paramus Elks, 200 Route 17 North (behind Raymour & Flannigan). Tickets cost $25. There will be a Tricky Tray with prizes donated by local businesses being auctioned off and a 50/50 raffle. Call Karl Vander Sluis at 201-522-0493 or the DPW office at 201-265-2100, ext. 658 for tickets.
Donations will also be accepted. Checks should be made out to Sean Michael Cullen. Call Vander Sluis at 201-522-0492 for more information on where to send donations.