PISCATAWAY - Julia Caseres, the state's all-time leading scorer in collegiate soccer of both men and women and a township police officer, died at home after a year-long battle with a rare form of lung cancer.
She was 28.
The township police department released a statement Saturday confirming Caseres' death. Calling her their "sister in blue," the statement said Caseres, a patrol officer, "passed away peacefully on June 21."
Julia Caseres, the state's all-time leading scorer in collegiate soccer and a township police officer, died at home after a year-long battle with a rare form of lung cancer on June 21. She was 28. (Photo: ~Courtesy of the Piscataway Police Department)
Formerly of Union, Caseres, most recently lived in Clinton. The scholar-athlete graduated from The New Jersey City University in 2011, majoring in criminal justice. She played for the NJCU Gothic Knights for three seasons.
Caseres had been a member of the township police department for the last three years.
"In the few short years Julia was with us, she impacted so many," said the township Police Department's official statement. "Her beautiful smile and bubbly personality will surely be missed. Rest in peace sister."
Township Police Chief Michael McLaughlin was on the interview panel at the time of Caseres' employment. He remembered a woman who not only "put herself through the Police Academy," but one who "made a tremendous impression on us with her athletic dedication and commitment to the cause."
On the Piscataway PBA 93 Supporter Page on Face book, it was announced that the organization's Annual Pigz Roast Run, scheduled for July 14 at Gabriele's Bar and Grill, will be dedicated in Caseres' memory. This annual event and its donations help support cancer research.
"In the short time as an officer and Piscataway PBA member, she left an amazing impact on all our lives and her amazing spirit embodied what our union and our police department represents," said the post on the Piscataway PBA 93 Supporter Page. "She will he truly missed."
On the Expendables MC NJ supporter page on Face book/website www.expendablesmcnj.com, it was announced that the club's Annual Bike Run was established in Julia's name. The Expendables MC NJ was established in April 2018, comprised of Emergency Services personnel with the passion of riding and helping others. The Julia Ride ride was scheduled for July 28, 2019 at Eagles Lodge 350 Woodside Lane Bridgewater, There is an expected showing of support of over 200 motorcycle enthusiasts from around the tri-state area to show their support. This ride will forever be dedicated in Caseres' memory. This annual event and its donations help support a member of the Emergency Services that is in need.
Julia Caseres, the state's all-time leading scorer in collegiate soccer and a township police officer, died at home after a year-long battle with a rare form of lung cancer. She was 28. (Photo: ~Courtesy of NJCU Athletic Communications)
On May 6, she was honored by NJCU with the inaugural NJCU True Grit Award — given to an individual who has gone through tremendous hardship, however through perseverance, resiliency and flat out grit, found the power to rise above and overcome, according to a news release on the New Jersey City University Gothic Knights website.
Caseres finished her career with exactly 100 goals and 42 assists for 242 points in 86 career games between Rutgers-Newark (2008) and NJCU (2009-11). She ended her NJCU career ranked 12th in Division III history in points and 15th in goals.
"The impact she made was not only on my life, it was on my daughters' lives as well," said Robert Bielan `95, her head coach at NJCU, in the news release. "She instilled a hard work ethic in my kids that when they step on the field, they leave it all on the field. After [NJCU's] games, my daughters would run onto the field to me and quickly were grabbed and hugged and kissed by Julia — that's who she was."
Julia Caseres, the state's all-time leading scorer in collegiate soccer and a township police officer, died at home after a year-long battle with a rare form of lung cancer on June 21. She was 28. (Photo: ~Courtesy of Piscataway Police Department)
In November 2018, Caseres posted information about a GoFundMe fundraiser, "Julia Needs Our Help," explaining her diagnosis and treatment. The page was created by a network of friends and family who called her "an all-around loving and caring goofball." The fund is continuing to accept donations. As of Monday, the fund had raised $29,655 with 401 donations.
According to the page and Caseres' corresponding post; she married her "best friend" Alexis "Lex" Mirra on May 5, 2018.
"The couple was so excited to start their new life together," said the GoFundMe. "Upon returning from their honeymoon, Julia went back to the doctor for a persistent issue that she believed was pneumonia, and instead was diagnosed with stage 3B lung cancer." The combined response was incredulous.
"I couldn’t believe this was happening, I had never smoked and was an athlete," said Caseres on Facebook. "It just seemed impossible."
Caseres underwent surgery and chemotherapy; however, these measures were unsuccessful. The only options left were clinical trials and unconventional treatments, which required travel and were most likely not covered by insurance.
"I just want to say I am beyond grateful from the amount of love and support I have received from my friends and family," Caseres said in the post. "It is truly humbling and amazing that so many people have been so supportive. I feel very loved and so lucky to have so many amazing/kind people in my life..."
Caseres is survived by her wife, also a police officer and the first female detective in Hopewell; her parents, Margaret and Manuel Caseres; her sisters Victoria and Joyce; her brothers Orlando, Nicholas and Andrew and "dozens of Gothic Knight teammates she impacted for a lifetime," according to the NJCU Gothic Knights news release.
The funeral will take place at 8:30 a.m. June 26 at the Galante Funeral Home, 2800 Morris Ave. in Union. A funeral mass will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. Holy Spirit Church, 971 Suburban Road in Union. Interment will follow at the New Cemetery in Somerville. Family and friends are invited to attend a visitation for Caseres from 5 to 9 p.m. June 25 at the funeral home.
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