Friends create cancer fundraiser to honor an unforgettable couple

In the fall of 2009, Rick and Ann Royce received news that their good friend Bill Perry had been diagnosed with melanoma. A few short months after his diagnosis, in the spring of 2010, Bill passed away. Inspired by the impact Bill had made in their lives, Rick and Ann looked for a way to honor the memory of their lost friend.

“Throughout his time spent at Dana-Farber, Bill often told us how wonderful everyone there treated him. We thought we could try to make a difference by raising money to support Dana-Farber,” said Ann. “Walking a marathon distance sounded like a good challenge. We like to walk a lot, and Bill and his wife, Linda, used to participate in fundraising walks.”

Rick and Ann started a team in the Boston Marathon® Jimmy Fund Walk presented by Hyundai named Team Guillermo, a tribute to their nickname for Bill. When it came time to fundraise, Rick and Ann wanted to do something to honor Bill’s spirit – they wanted to do something he would have liked.

“Rick and I always used to enjoy playing trivia with Bill and Linda. We thought it would be a fitting way to raise money for Team Guillermo,” said Ann.

To help them with their first fundraiser, the Royces enlisted their team of 14 walkers to help with decorations, selling tickets, baking cookies, correcting answer sheets, and everything else they might need. With the most important logistics in place, the couple reached out to all their friends and family to spread the word. They used word of mouth and hung posters at the local school. And the community responded enthusiastically. The hall they held their fundraiser in was filled with about 100 people, which was as many as it could hold.

“Rick always begins the trivia night with an introduction about why we started this,” said Ann. “Bill is the reason we started walking, but when we see the Walk Heroes it is so emotionally overwhelming: it reminds us why we continue to walk each year.”

Four years after Bill’s death, Linda was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and found herself at Dana-Farber. When Linda passed in 2014, the Royces changed their Jimmy Fund Walk team to Team Perry, to honor both of their dear friends.

Every year, the trivia night attracts 100 to 120 people and is always a resounding success. Cumulatively, Rick and Ann have raised over $90,000 for Dana-Farber since their first Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk in 2010. This year, they hope to recruit 30 walkers to join them along the Boston Marathon® route.

Join their efforts to conquer cancer by registering for the Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk presented by Hyundai, or hosting your own cancer fundraising event.

Meghan Summerson
Social Media Coordinator, Online Marketing