The Orange Guy: How one volunteer impacted thousands of supporters

For over 20 years, John Casey found his own unique way of participating in the Boston Marathon® Jimmy Fund Walk and supporting Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’s mission. Known as “The Orange Guy,” John could be found at the top of Heartbreak Hill giving out orange slices and words of encouragement to thousands of walkers. He found great pride in finding a fun way to contribute to the Walk, and in 2015 was even recognized as the Jimmy Fund Walk Volunteer of the Year for his contributions.

Knowing how much of an impact John made on the Jimmy Fund community, when he unexpectedly passed away in April 2023, his family wanted to continue this legacy of giving back. That’s when his daughter Heather created a Giving Page, a personalized webpage to fundraise for Dana-Farber, in John’s memory.

“The Jimmy Fund was such an important cause to my dad, and we wanted to honor his memory in a way that gives back to an organization he was so passionate about,” Heather explains. “We created this Giving Page in hopes that others become inspired to support Dana-Farber and the Jimmy Fund.”

John and his family became involved in the Jimmy Fund Walk in honor of multiple family members who battled cancer. For over two decades, John would set up his orange station at Heartbreak Hill – rain or shine. While he was often met with gratitude from the crowd, he’d tell his new friends: “This is easy. You’re doing the hard part.” He built countless friendships on that hill year after year, becoming an icon on the Walk route.

Heather shares that while the Giving Page is a tribute to John and is another way for loved ones to give back to a cause he cared so deeply for, the family will continue to support the Jimmy Fund Walk in his memory as well. “We’ll be back at Heartbreak Hill this year, handing out orange slices just like the Orange Guy would’ve,” Heather says. “We know he’ll be with us in spirit, cheering on the walkers.”

Join supporters like John and Heather by participating in 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