2017 marks the 12th anniversary of the Lahey Health 5K Cancer Walk
& Run. In the past ten years, this event has raised an impressive
total of $1.8 million to enhance and support cancer services available
at Lahey Health locations in Burlington, Peabody, Winchester, Beverly
Proceeds from the Lahey Health 5K Cancer Walk
& Run have a tremendous impact in supporting cancer diagnosis,
treatment and recovery in the area. Funds have been used for:
The purchase of new equipment for cancer treatment
Cancer support groups
Blanket warmers for patients undergoing chemotherapy
Renovating a family waiting room in Burlington
Building a “healing garden” at Lahey Medical Center, Peabody – a
place where patients can relax outdoors in the company of fresh flowers
The Lahey Health 5K Cancer Walk & Run provides an opportunity to
come together for fun while honoring survivors, remembering loved ones
lost, and illustrating we still have farther to go in the fight against
Treating Patients Like Family
was 24 years old and in the midst of teaching a lesson to her fifth-grade class
in Lynn when a severe pain in her side sent her to the Emergency Department at
Lahey Hospital & Medical Center (LHMC) in Burlington.
scan revealed a tumor that was pushing on her trachea and heart, compromising
her breathing and her heart function. Dupré was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin
lymphoma and immediately began treatment at the Sophia Gordon Cancer Center at
LHMC, which is part of the Lahey Health Cancer Institute.
experience turned out to be very different than she expected. “The people in
the infusion center, they kind of became family,” said Dupré. “I saw them
almost every single day. They’d tell me about their weekend, show me a picture
of their family or just check in to see how I was doing.”
Hiney, RN, who helped to care for Dupré, said she couldn’t help but feel a
special connection to her patient, who is the same age as her own daughter. “I
would want my own daughter to have the same care if she was sick,” she said.
resident is now in remission. “I think the biggest thing I learned during this
time was just how important relationships are,” she said. “And also how
important it is to love people because there were so many people who were there
Danvers Family Walking to Remember
It was Christmas Eve 2014 when Mike LaHaye received the call.
The longtime Danvers resident had been diagnosed with lung cancer seven
months earlier, but it was Dec. 24 when his phone rang. Mike had on his
patented red vest – he wore it every year around the holidays. The
LaHaye family had all congregated in Gloucester for the holiday.
“Christmas Eve is our big day,” said Shannon Chiachiaretta, Mike’s
daughter. “We get all dressed up and see our entire extended family.”
The call came early in the afternoon. It was his Beverly Hospital
pulmonologist – Dr. Fares Mouchantaf. “He just wanted to check in,” said
Sharon LaHaye, Mike’s wife. “He wanted to know how he was doing.”
Mike had been receiving his treatment at Beverly Hospital, but it’s that
one call the LaHaye family won’t soon forget. “He has family. This is
Christmas Eve for him too, but he wanted to check-in with me,” Sharon
recalled Mike saying. “We were just so touched that he would take the
time to call us.”
And as Sharon pointed out, this was more of a social call than a medical
one. “They didn’t talk about his treatment or anything, just how he was
doing. How his family is doing,” Sharon said.
Mike passed away 10 months later in Oct. 2015. To thank the staff for
the care they provided her husband, Sharon baked treats for the unit.
“Everyone came out of the office to see us,” Shannon said. “We all had
tears in our eyes. The nurses even came to the wake. My dad always
looked forward to the treatment because of the staff in the cancer
center. Who describes their cancer treatment as fun?”
“Dad was all about spending time with family, which after months of
treatment, seemed to extend to his caregivers at Beverly Hospital,” said
Mike’s son, Ryan LaHaye.
To honor Mike, his family will be participating in the Lahey Health 5K Cancer Walk & Run.
“We thought this would be a nice tribute to my dad and his caregivers,”
Shannon said. “We wanted to do something to make sure others have as
good an experience as we did.”
According to Shannon, this would also be an opportunity for the family
to gather once a year and reminisce about her father, especially to help
his four young grandchildren who enjoyed “fishing” on Mike’s iPad,
“It was so important for him to connect with his grandchildren and
participating in this cancer walk is the perfect opportunity for them to
continue connecting with him,” Shannon said.
A Life Vest in Rough Waters
At first, Sandy Macdonald assumed a pain she was feeling in her inner
ear and throat was caused by a bad ear infection. When the pain
continued after two courses of antibiotics, Sandy reluctantly made an
appointment to see an ear, nose and throat specialist. After nearly
cancelling the appointment because the pain had subsided, Sandy was
stunned when she learned she was suffering from Stage 1 carcinoma; a
tumor was detected at the base of her tongue.
“I remember being in shock that entire day,” said Sandy. “Then the fear set in. Everyone in my family was scared.”
Her initial meetings with the physicians and nurses at Lahey Medical
Center, Peabody, who would guide her through the process, put Sandy at
ease before she began an intensive course of radiation and chemotherapy.
During one session, medical oncologist Jacob Sands, MD, shared an
analogy with her: “Imagine you have been thrown from a white water raft
and you need a life vest,” he said. “We, your care team, are your life
vest and we will see you through to safety.”
That resonated with Sandy.
“Each time I came in for an appointment, I was welcomed with a smile,
called by my first name and made to feel like I was their special
patient,” Sandy said. “Everyone knew how to read me and how to say just
the right things to lift my spirits.”
Macdonald is now in remission, and says she often thinks back to Dr.
Sands’ analogy. “I’m happy to say I’ve made it back to calm waters and
hopefully to dry land,” she said. “I am a survivor.”
Gordon Green's Story
Gordon Green shares his story of how Lahey Hospital & Medical Center
saved his life. Always healthy, he was once a smoker but hadn’t touched
a cigarette in years. He and his wife, Denise, have “four beautiful
children,” he says. “I’ve always assumed I would remain healthy enough
to watch them grow up.”
In 2012, he saw his primary care
physician, Dr. James Kolb, at Lahey because he had some chest pain. Dr.
Kolb recommended Lahey’s low-dose CT lung cancer screening program. He
told me that while lung cancer is one of the four deadliest cancers, it
is not routinely screened for in high-risk patients because insurance
doesn’t cover it.
But Lahey has worked to fix that by offering free low-dose screening for patients who meet high risk criteria.
hours after his screening, Dr. Kolb called to say there was a spot on
his left lung. A PET scan revealed cancer. Gordon underwent surgery at
Lahey to remove the tumor and some nearby lymph nodes.
doctors told me that if I hadn’t undergone the free lung cancer
screening, the cancer would likely have spread,” Gordon says. “By the
time I felt symptoms, it would probably have been too late. That surgery
saved my life.”
Gordon has spread the word about the free lung
cancer screening program. “This Cancer Walk & Run means so much to
me because it’s an opportunity to give back to the doctors, nurses and
staff who helped save my life,” he adds. “I feel so honored to be able
to participate in today’s event and share my story with you.”
Janet Anderson’s Story
A medical assistant in the Pulmonary Department, Janet remembers her
former colleague, Jane Rzeppa, as a mother figure at Lahey Medical
Center, Peabody – someone who was there for anyone when they needed her.
when Jane was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2006, Janet didn’t
think twice before becoming captain of The J Walkers, a team of 18
colleagues, including Jane, who participated in the first walk to
support cancer services at Lahey Hospital & Medical Center,
Jane died the following year. The J Walkers – now a
team of 38 – will walk in her honor for the 10th year in a row, banding
together to remember a colleague and friend.
in the event year after year because she knows the money raised directly
benefits patients who receive cancer care at Lahey. “It makes me feel
better that I am supporting people out there who are struggling with
disease. I know that some of the therapies we offer patients, like Reiki
and massage, are funded by the event,” she said. “I like knowing that
money we have raised helps pay for new equipment that helps patients
reach their goal of healing.”
The team has raised funds through a
bake sale, dinner dance and from generous donors who sponsor them. The J
Walkers raised $1,850 that first year and have raised more than $15,000
since 2006. After the loss of another colleague and friend, Lisa
Glejzer, many of her friends and coworkers joined the J Walkers to
demonstrate support for Lahey Hospital & Medical Center’s cancer