JERSEY CITY, N.J. | On Sunday, November 5, under sunny skies and near perfect conditions for racing, Roberto Romero ‘95 (B.S.) ‘14 (M.A.) will run 26.2 miles through the five boroughs of New York City during the 52nd annual TCS New York City Marathon.
For the 51-year-old wearing bib No. 44142, the time doesn’t matter in his first New York City marathon appearance. In life, time is never a promise and on this day, Roberto will be running for a much bigger purpose. Because just a year ago the New Jersey City University (NJCU) Assistant Director for CITI in the Department of Information Technology (IT) was not sure he would live to run again after his cancer diagnosis from four years earlier reached Stage 4.
An avid runner his entire adult life who last ran a marathon in his 20s, Roberto was first diagnosed with cancer in 2018 and underwent surgery. The cancer persisted. In 2020, he endured a pancreatectomy, and by 2022, it had reached Stage 4, and he missed considerable time at his beloved NJCU — a community he has been part of since December 2000 when he was hired at his alma mater as a multimedia specialist.
A clinical trial at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) in Manhattan from December 2022 to January 2023 saved his life
Roberto, who has been training for his return to marathoning in Lincoln Park in Jersey City, and by running 5k and 10k events, will run this weekend with a larger goal — to raise money for cancer research at Memorial Sloan Kettering. He will run as part of Fred’s Team, as a cancer patient/survivor undergoing a clinical/experiment trial. Fred’s Team has raised over $100 million dollars since 1995, which earmarks every dollar donated directly to lifesaving research at MSK. As a global leader in cancer care, MSK treats over 400 subtypes of cancer each year. The breakthroughs made in MSK labs set new standards for cancer treatment around the world.
Romero said: “I’m running with Fred’s Team and raising money for innovative cancer research at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) as a testimony that clinical trials can save lives. My goal is to raise as much as I can to support the groundbreaking work that MSK doctors and scientists are doing. If it was not for MSK’s treatment, I may not be here today. Today, I am alive and running the NYC Marathon thanks to a clinical trial that was financed by donations. Your donations will give me a boost as I train for my race to help save others.”
Romero, a Jersey City native and current resident of Bayonne, N.J., earned a B.S. in Computer Science from then Jersey City State College in 1995, before returning to obtain an M.A. in Ed Tech in 2014. With his mother living in California (his father passed away in 2020), and his brother in England — where he teaches for the British Academy — Roberto has always considered the NJCU community his second family.
“I hope that my motivation can be of inspiration to others to see that there is always a positive even in the darkest moments,” he said.
NJCU Interim President Andrés Acebo said: “Roberto’s story of resilience to overcome such adversity in his life is inspiring, and his desire to motivate and help others enduring a similar fight is not just commendable, it is absolutely worthy of emulation. His resilience and determination are characteristics we see embodied in our community every day. As a double alumnus and long-time NJCU employee, he is such a positive ambassador of the university, its mission, and the people it touches. We wish him well running this Sunday. We will be rooting for him!”
Long-time NJCU community members will undoubtedly recognize Roberto’s name from the campus step challenges run by Sergio Villamizar from the athletic department and the Fitbit challenges organized by the Human Resources Department. Roberto has finished first in every challenge he has entered.
Roberto’s original goal was to raise $3,500 for MSK, but has quickly surpassed that goal. If you would like to donate or make a pledge to cancer research on behalf of Romero’s marathon, please visit:
New Jersey City University is an institution of higher learning dedicated to the development of our students, our city, our communities, and our state. We are a game-changing force for our students and have been recognized as one of the top colleges in the nation improving their upward economic mobility. Whether enrolled in one of our undergraduate, graduate, or doctoral programs at our three locations, NJCU students have access to an affordable, diverse environment, and an exceptionally supportive faculty. This prepares them to go on to become the next generation of workers and leaders who improve their communities and the State of New Jersey.
Ira Thor, Associate Vice President for University Communications (interim) | email@example.com | 201-200-3301