Creating to cure cancers: Local artists support the Jimmy Fund through CowParade

CowParade New England presented by Herb Chambers has officially launched throughout Greater Boston to help the Jimmy Fund celebrate 75 years of progress and impact made possible by the support of their generous community. This free public art display includes 75 cow sculptures, which have been transformed by a range of talented artists from throughout New England. Many of these artists have their own connections to cancer and to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Jimmy Fund, giving them motivation and inspiration to do their part to work toward a cancer-free future for all. Three artists, each with their own connection to Dana-Farber’s mission, have graciously shared their stories and the paths that led them to join this celebration of the Jimmy Fund community this summer. Meet Yael Schulman, Tova Speter, and Lori Mehta.

Yael Schulman is the youngest artist participating in CowParade New England. She is a 12-year-old from Newton, Mass., who has experienced firsthand what it’s like to be a patient at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. In October 2020, Yael was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a rare bone cancer. “My whole word was turned upside down in a matter of weeks,” she shares. “I was pulled into a life of chemotherapy, hospitalizations, and long hours every day at the Jimmy Fund Clinic. Treatment was brutal, but as hard as it was, I feel very lucky to have been treated at Dana-Farber, and I am proud to say that I am now at two years with no evidence of disease. My experience has inspired me to want to be a child life specialist when I grow up so I can help kids like me.”

Tova (left) and Yael (right) with messy hands after syringe painting their mini-moo, Yatziry. Photo credit: Kathryn Brodie.

Yael was connected to CowParade through Tova Speter, a local artist, art therapist, and granddaughter of dairy farmers, who was selected to create a cow of her own for CowParade New England last winter. Tova heard about an opportunity for youth or community-based groups to create “mini-moos,” smaller-sized cow sculptures, and had just the person in mind. “I immediately thought of Yael,” Tova shares proudly. “Knowing both her love for art and generous spirit, I knew that she would jump at the chance to participate in any opportunity that would benefit Dana-Farber.” Tova and Yael used syringe painting, a technique that Yael learned from the child life specialists during treatment where paint is loaded into a syringe and shot out to create a splatter effect on the canvas, to create her mini-moo. This dynamic duo is eager to remind others to donate and support the important work being done at Dana-Farber and the Jimmy Fund each day. “It has been so fun to be a part of CowParade,” Yael says. “It’s so special to me that I get to give back to the Jimmy Fund and it was so fun to work with Tova! I learned so much from her.” You can find Tova’s cow, Heifervescence, at the John Hancock Building in Boston and Yael’s mini-moo, Yatziry, which will be placed on display soon.

Artists posing with their cow sculptures
Yael (left) and Tova (right) posing with Yatziry, the mini-moo, and Heifervescence. Photo credit: Rosalie Schulman.

Lori Mehta had quite a few projects on her plate when she was asked to create a cow for CowParade New England, but she knew it had to take precedence once she heard the words “to support Dana-Farber and the Jimmy Fund.” She is well-aware that cancer does not discriminate and affects so many individuals and families each year. Lori’s experience with cancer started at a young age, when she lost her 6-year-old brother to leukemia just five weeks after being diagnosed. “The rest of our lives were changed after the loss of my brother,” she recalls. “I had to watch both of my parents struggle through the devastation of losing a child to cancer, but it gives me hope that children who are diagnosed with that same type of leukemia today can expect to recover and lead long healthy lives, thanks to cancer research and funds raised through programs like CowParade.”

Lori (back) peeking out from behind her late brother, Mike.

Lori also lost a dear friend, Marcy, to ovarian cancer right before she received the invitation to participate in CowParade. Marcy was treated under the care of Ursula Matulonis, MD, Chief of the Division of Gynecologic Oncology and the Brock-Wilson Family Chair at Dana-Farber, for over four years. “Marcy was warm,” Lori shares with a smile. “She built people up, found their good qualities and focused on them, and wrapped everyone she knew in a blanket of kindness. After her treatments, she marveled at the care she received and the wonderful team she got to spend time with, rather than complaining or feeling sorry for herself.” Lori created her cow, the Undercover Cow, which is currently grazing at the Copley Society of Art in Boston, to pay tribute to this “blanket of love” spread over her from friends like Marcy. “The Undercover Cow represents warmth and comfort, with a blanket to shelter us and bright colors to lift our spirits,” Lori shares. “It’s a reminder to be gentler and kinder to one another.”

Lori (right), pictured here with her friend Marcy, and a painting of Marcy’s dog that Lori created.

The roster of artists for CowParade New England presented by Herb Chambers includes artists who also participated in CowParade to support the Jimmy Fund in 2006, world-renowned artists from all over the region, and artists, like the four mentioned above, participating to recognize and honor loved ones who have been affected by cancer. While each artist brings their unique perspective and talents to the herd, all are united in their unwavering commitment to helping Dana-Farber create a cancer-free future.

Meet the cows designed by these talented artists:

Heifervescence by Tova Speter
Location: 200 Clarendon Street, Boston
Cow Sponsor: Adage Capital Management, L.P.

Undercover Cow by Lori Mehta
Location: Copley Society of Art
Cow Sponsor: Putnam Investments

Yatziry by Yael Schulman
Location: Coming soon
This mini-moo will be part of the CowParade New England online auction. Join our contact list for more information.

Join artists like Yael, Tova, and Lori, and support Dana-Farber patients and families by making a donation to support CowParade New England presented by Herb Chambers today. Your donation will support The Dana-Farber Campaign, our ambitious, multi-year fundraising effort to prevent, treat, and defy cancer. The Dana-Farber Campaign will accelerate the Institute’s strategic priorities by supporting revolutionary science, extraordinary care, and exceptional expertise. As a community, we have the power to create a more hopeful, cancer-free future—in Boston and around the world. Together, we can defy cancer at every turn. Learn more about The Dana-Farber Campaign and how you can get involved at