Coghlin honored for advocacy in the fight against cancer
Westborough – Westborough resident James Coghlin, Sr. was honored June 10 by the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center for his leadership role in the fight against cancer. He was one of 100 honorees recognized at a ceremony held in Boston.
Coghlin’s advocacy was inspired by his close friend, Mark Ungerer, who founded the inaugural Central Massachusetts Jimmy Fund Golf Tournament in honor of his son David, who lost his life to leukemia at age 15. In a cruel turn of fate, Mark himself was diagnosed with cancer and passed away in 1995.
At Mark’s request, Coghlin took over the organization of the golf tournament. In 2005, on the 10th anniversary of Mark’s passing, Coghlin decided to establish a fellowship in Mark’s name as a lasting tribute to his friend. He determined that the support should be focused on addressing a problem that needed attention but was receiving little: improving cancer survival rates for teens and young adults, aged 15-40. Coghlin found that survival rates were not keeping pace with other age groups and, more alarmingly, survival rates in this age group had barely improved since 1975. When Coghlin learned that delayed diagnosis was a key factor in this problem, he founded the 15-40 Connection to ensure that young people would be empowered with knowledge to help them detect cancer in its early stages.
Today the 15-40 Connection is a nationally known organization that helps to promote the importance early cancer detection to thousands of young people through seminars, workshops and social media. It also helps to give them the tools to advocate for themselves when speaking with health care professionals and others about their concerns.
For more information visit 15-40.org.
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