Family keeps daughter’s legacy of selflessness alive by supporting cancer research

Haley Cremer lived by four core values: demonstrate compassion for others; instill perseverance in the face of hardship; foster insight and recovery; and champion renewal of spirit. In her short 20 years, she embodied these values, making a lasting impact on those around her. Her unexpected passing in 2014 left a void in the hearts of her family and friends, but they vowed to keep her legacy alive.

In the wake of unimaginable loss, establishing The Haley Cremer Foundation was a natural step for her family as a way to channel their grief into something positive. The Foundation’s mission is simple yet profound: to raise funds for organizations close to Haley’s heart, including Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

The Cremer’s connection to Dana-Farber runs deep, especially for Haley’s mother, Ivie, who found solace and support during her own cancer journey. The family credits Dana-Farber’s patient-centric approach to care to making those hard times more manageable for the whole family.

“I have the A-team at Dana-Farber,” Ivie says. “My care team made me feel like I was their only patient. Because of them, I’m still here today.”

Haley was in high school when her mother received treatment at Dana-Farber. She became a strong support pillar for her mother as she juggled familial responsibilities with the high demands of high school. She even went as far to make sure her little sister Morgan’s life was as undisrupted as possible, taking her to dance classes and bringing a sense of normalcy to her life. Driven by an innate sense of compassion and love for her family, she willingly stepped up to the plate, demonstrating maturity beyond her years.

Funds raised by The Haley Cremer Foundation support the work of Dr. Tari King, chief of the Division of Breast Surgery at Dana-Farber; Dr. Elizabeth Ann Mittendorf, director of the Breast Immuno-Oncology program and co-leader of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy at Dana-Farber; and Dr. Nancy Lin, associate chief of the Division of Breast Oncology at the Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers and director of the Metastatic Breast Cancer Program at Dana-Farber;  and the Ductal Carcinoma in Situ (DCIS) Program at Dana-Farber Brigham Cancer Center.

For the Cremer family, supporting Dana-Farber isn’t just a way to honor Haley’s memory; it’s a lifeline for those battling cancer. Their dedication to funding research and compassionate care reflects Haley’s own spirit of generosity and empathy.

“We know Haley would want to help the next person who received a diagnosis like Ivies,” Haley’s father, Marc says. “The Foundation is our way of making sure her legacy continues to shine brightly and keep her memory alive.”

Touched by her family’s experience, Morgan went to nursing school so she could make a difference to patients and their families the same way Ivie’s nurses had an impact on them. Today, Morgan is a nurse at Dana-Farber on the same floor where Ivie received treatment, a true full circle moment for the family.

Add your support to the Cremer family’s efforts by joining 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 DefyCancer.org.