Testimonials from Boston North Cancer Association Beneficiaries
Erin Curley – Anyone who knew my dad would describe him as an insightful, clever, and giving person.
He was always willing to lend a helping hand to those in need, whether it be offering his spot-on advice or help with your math homework. It only seems fitting for me to share a bit about my dad with all of you. Memories of the man that he was have inspired me to become the woman that I am today. It also was in his honor that I received the incredibly meaningful Hope Begins Here Award last year.
So many wonderful things have happened in my life since then. I am completing my first year at Simmons College in Boston, Massachusetts where I am pursuing a double-major in Social Work and, much to my surprise, Economics. I recently joined the Student Government Association and Social Work Liaison. I also work as a Tour Guide for the college. But the highlight of this past year is the time that I’ve spent volunteering at the nearby Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
It was not long ago that my father received his cancer care at Dana-Farber. When my family was at its most vulnerable state, Dana-Farber’s array of services were there to guide us. Every Friday, I serve Dana-Farber’s Blum Resource Room, connecting patients and their families with educational, healing and supportive materials. Nothing is as rewarding to me as the work I do at Dana-Farber.
However, none of these opportunities would have been within my reach had it not been for the Hope Begins Here scholarship. I would like to formally thank those who have donated and continue to support the Boston North Cancer Association.
When you choose to invest in a scholarship fund, you are actively choosing to invest in a student’s future. Your donations acknowledge the potential of students like me. I cannot tell you how powerful that sentiment is to a student in need of such hope.
To this year’s recipient, know that you have been given the chance to serve others. Find a way to give back to those who have also been affected by cancer, in whatever capacity that may be. I promise you, you will not regret your decision to do as my dad would have done, and lend a helping hand.
Congratulations to every award recipient and to the Boston North Cancer Association for another successful year! Thank you all for your time and for inviting me back again to speak! I am truly grateful.
Gillian Guerin – Dear Boston North Cancer Association, Thank you so much for awarding me the generous David J. Solimine Sr. Honorary Scholarship. It means so much more to me and my family than you could ever know. I will be able to fulfill my dreams with the help of this scholarship and that is the greatest gift that anyone can ever give. I will be able to attend college to become a nurse and help people in similar situations to what I faced as a child. This has been a dream my entire life. I have never wanted to do anything else other than give back to people in need, just as my doctors and nurses did for me. That I am finally able to see this dream come true is incredible. … I loved meeting all of you at the Hope Begins Here Awards Reception. It was a lovely evening that I will never forget, along with all of you. You have truly changed my life for the better, which is not something that I can normally say in a cancer-related situation. I am so grateful for all that you have done for me and my education…. What Boston North Cancer Association does for those in this community affected by cancer leaves me speechless and encourages me even more to someday be like all of you, to give back by helping this community. Thank you for being who you are and for doing what you do. You are all amazing people and I am so glad I met you and can say you are a part of my life. I will always keep you all in my heart…. Kindly, Gillian Guerin
Andrew Gibson – I am honored to have the opportunity to share my story with the Boston North Cancer Association community. Receiving my scholarship in 2013 allowed me to leap over adversity and begin on the path to a successful career. My story starts with my mother and I. My mother, Shelly, was a single mother to three children. I was sixteen, the youngest in my family, and a sophomore at St. John’s Prep. With my older brother and sister away at college, my mother and I had spent the last year growing a very loving bond. Everyday after school I would come home and tell my mom how much I loved her. One day, I came home and everything was different. I could tell by the look in my mother’s eyes that our lives were never going to be the same. On that day, my mother told me she was diagnosed with cancer. On that day, my life did change forever. Within three months my mother passed from this earth. My mother used to always tell me, “When God closes a door, he opens a window.” My story is really a beautiful one, because I was accepted into a new family. After my mother passed, a math teacher from my high school, my big brother through the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization, took me into his home and with his loving wife, they raised me as a son. Their names are Jeff and Carrie, and they are my family. The Hope Begins Here scholarship not only supported me financially, it gave me the emotional strength I needed to succeed. Holding that big foam check, looking out and seeing a crowd of people supporting me was one of the happiest moments of my life. My scholarship gave me the confidence to get to where I am today. Today, I am a student at the University of New Hampshire. I am studying Finance, Information Systems and Business Analytics. I am currently the President of the Inter-Fraternity Council. In addition, I play rugby for the University of New Hampshire. I am also a part of UNH’s highly selective, “Rines Student Angel Investment Fund,” the first under-graduate, student run, Angel Investment Fund in the United States. Moving forward, I want to change the business world. I want to be on the forefront of technological progress. My dream is to become a CEO of a business that applies cutting edge business solutions to real world problems. Thank you to the Boston North Cancer Association and your community of donors! Your support has helped me overcome adversity and pushed me forward on my journey toward success.
Hayley Greenslade – My father was the healthiest, strongest man I knew. He climbed mountains his whole life and loved camping, taking myself and my three siblings adventuring for a week every summer. He was never sick, and rarely missed a day of work. So in October of 2012, when his face started puffing up and his doctor suspected an undiagnosed allergy, I had no reason for concern. However, one night later in the month, he went back to the doctor’s office and he didn’t return home. The doctors found a tumor in his lung, and it was cancer. The cancer had spread to his lymph nodes, and was in stage four. It was a shock to all of us; we expected our strong father to live to be 100. He began radiation and chemotherapy immediately. Being the relentless man he was, he continued to work his regular schedule. We spent as much time with him as we could, squeezing in fun trips and making each day special. The treatment was promising at first, and my dad’s future seemed bright. He had a strong heart, as the doctors said, and was responding well. Everything took a downward turn in April of 2013, when he went to the hospital for pulmonary issues. His health rapidly deteriorated, and he required an oxygen tank to breathe. The strong man we once knew could barely walk from one room to another on his own. It was at the end of May of 2013 when he made the difficult but necessary decision to enter hospice. On June 2, 2013, seven months after his diagnosis, he passed away surrounded by his family. The entire journey was tortuous for my family, as we watched our father suffer. I will forever be amazed by his will to fight in the face of his illness. He never gave up, backed down, or complained about his pain. The time after his loss was tremendously difficult for my family, a test for all of us. But with my father’s strength as inspiration, together we were able to begin the healing process. The Hope Begins Here scholarship has had a great impact on me since receiving it in the spring. I used the full scholarship towards paying my first semester tuition, along with my savings, an additional scholarship, and financial aid. Having my tuition paid for, with no money coming from my family’s pocket, has been one less thing for me to worry about. This took the financial burden off of my back, allowing me to focus on my studies. Knowing that my mother did not have to contribute toward this semester’s tuition has been a blessing, a blessing due in part to the generosity of Boston North Cancer Association. This scholarship not only impacted me financially, but sentimentally. Boston North Cancer Association is founded upon a mission that I support wholeheartedly. Receiving a scholarship from this association is an honor I am grateful for.