When your sons are both diagnosed with cancer

Terell and Javon pose for a photo with their mother at the 2012 WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon presented by Arbella Insurance Foundation

“There isn’t really a word that can describe what we were feeling,” recalls Ebony. Her sons Javon and Terell were diagnosed with cancer two years apart, when they were each two-and-a-half years old. “Javon had already finished treatment and we we were so concerned about his cancer coming back. The last thing on our mind was that our youngest son would then be diagnosed as well,” recalls Ebony. In her own words, Ebony describes the experience: — It can feel innocuous at first: our two-year-old son Javon was complaining about a bit of pain at daycare. After a visit to the …

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‘Chemobuddies’ Help Breast Cancer Patient Heal


“What should I bring with me to chemo?” It’s a common question. For many cancer patients, the answer is books, puzzles, or a good movie. For Monica Wright, it was her “chemobuddies.” Wright, 44, was diagnosed with breast cancer in November 2015, and quickly found how comforting a friend’s presence can be during a scary time. During her first treatment – a lumpectomy in December – an old friend, Gwen, sat by her side. “We didn’t talk about cancer, health issues, or what the doctors were saying; we just caught up,” says Wright. “It was about being very present.” When …

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Dana-Farber patient rides Pan-Mass Challenge as cancer survivor

PMC rider and cancer survivor, Don Wexler, with daughters Chloe and Faye and nephew Michael Wexler.

My first Pan-Mass Challenge (PMC) was in 1983. I’ve been friends with Billy Starr, Founder & Executive Director of the PMC, since kindergarten, and after my first ride, I quickly became part of the PMC family. I remember once in the early years, Billy Starr and I went down to Boston’s Esplanade and handed out flyers in an attempt to recruit cyclists to join us in our journey across the state of Massachusetts. Those were the days before social media and online fundraising! When I was diagnosed with Acinar Cell Carcinoma (a type of pancreatic cancer) on April Fool’s Day …

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Sarcoma Patient Sets Sights on Nursing Career

After her experience with cancer, Amanda was inspired to pursue a career as a pediatric oncology nurse.

Twenty-one-year-old Amanda Lee has always wanted to be a nurse. But after a life-changing diagnosis in 2012, Amanda suddenly had a more personal motivation to pursue her career goals. After seeing her primary care doctor for pain in her lower back, doctors determined Amanda had a tumor that was causing internal bleeding. Amanda, then 17, was diagnosed with synovial sarcoma, and began chemotherapy at Dana-Farber’s Jimmy Fund Clinic right away. “When I was first diagnosed, I loved the idea of being a nurse even more,” says Amanda. “During treatment, I was able to get the real inside scoop on what being a nurse …

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Governor Baker joins Dana-Farber Society members to celebrate progress in cancer research and patient care

“There were limited options for people diagnosed with cancer in Massachusetts in 2000,” said Charlie Baker, governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, before a full house at the 26th annual Dana-Farber Society (DFS) Recognition Dinner June 2.   Gov. Baker was the keynote speaker for the event, held at the Mandarin Oriental, Boston, to honor DFS members: a special group of individuals who have included a gift to Dana-Farber and the Jimmy Fund in their wills and estate plans. “The amount of progress that’s been made in 16 years with Dana-Farber Cancer Institute leading the way is really miraculous,” Gov. …

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Red Sox All-Star Treats Young Patient to a Special Fenway Park Tour

Layla and Brock inside the Green Monster with #34 (for David Ortiz).

It’s a few hours before game time and I’m walking backwards across Fenway Park’s outfield trying to keep ahead of Red Sox all-star Brock Holt. Like most photographers, I am used to this. Sometimes, walking backwards and shooting is the only way to get your shot. Today, the shot is of Brock Holt and seven-year-old Jimmy Fund Clinic patient, Layla. Brock is going to show her the Green Monster and I want photos of them as they make their way across the field. It’s somewhat of an impromptu shoot. Earlier I had been photographing Jimmy Fund Co-Captains Brock Holt and Pablo …

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Parents share emotional experience of their child’s leukemia journey


June 15, 2012 is a date that will never fade from the memories of Dan and Katie Strand. One day after Gavin’s first birthday, Gavin’s parents, Dan and Katie, took their son to a routine pediatrician visit. During the visit, the doctor noticed Gavin looked pale and heard a heart murmur she hadn’t heard before. When Gavin’s blood work came back, Dan and Katie started an unimaginable journey with their son. Dan and Katie share their experience as parents to a child diagnosed with Leukemia: We can remember our pediatrician asking us to sit down. We were holding Gavin on …

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Why I’m fundraising for the very first time for Jimmy Fund Golf

I have a small confession to make. I have never fundraised. Sure, my high school sports teams held car washes, and I’ve sampled more than my share of bake sale goods over the years. But never have I had the occasion to say, “I am passionate about this cause, so please join me in supporting it.” That was until I signed up to play in the Sunrise to Sunset Jimmy Fund Golf Tournament. The inaugural 36-hole golf fundraiser will be held on October 17, 2016, at the exclusive International Golf Club in Bolton, Mass. Proceeds from the event will support …

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Patient and Family Assistance Program Offers Help to Struggling Patients


Cancer does not wait for financial stability. For many, the disease creates an enormous financial burden, putting day to day costs into question. How will I travel to my treatment? How will I put food on tonight’s table? How will I pay my bills? Some patients skip visits, others can’t pay for dinner. When facing a cancer diagnosis, a patient should not find basic financial needs in competition with their access to treatment. Dana-Farber’s Patient and Family Assistance Program (PFAP) aims to ease the financial burden for families, so they can focus on their cancer care. Deb Toffler, director of …

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Dana-Farber Staff Rides Pan-Mass Challenge to Conquer Cancer


Coming back as a second year rider, Hillary Repucci, a Director on Dana-Farber and the Jimmy Fund’s Principal and Major Gifts team, will ride in the Pan-Mass Challenge (PMC) on August 6 and 7. Hillary will ride the 164 miles across Massachusetts to raise money for Dana-Farber Cancer Institute as a part of TEAM MG, named after her witty and beloved aunt Margie who passed away from esophagogastric cancer four years ago. Here, in her own words, is why Hillary strives to bring Dana-Farber closer by the mile: — My dad called one day and asked me about the PMC, …

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