By Molly McCarthy, Contributing Writer
Southborough – Gail Rowe was a fourth-generation Southborough resident with a laugh that neighbors enjoyed hearing coming through their open doors during the summertime. She was a quilter, wife, mother and friend. To her daughter, Joanna Rowe, she was both a loving mother and her best friend.
“My mother was always good for a laugh. She was a giving person. She loved to help people and listen. She always helped people,” Joanna said. “Everyone loved my mom.”
Five years ago, Gail was diagnosed with breast cancer. Joanna was proactive in her mother's care getting to know, trust and respect her mother's doctors and nurses within the UMass Memorial Health Care system.
After a brave fight, Gail passed away from breast cancer Oct. 6, 2010.
Joanna planned the annual Bosom or Bust 5k in Memory of Gail Rowe. The money raised by Bosom or Bust is donated to Pink Revolution. Pink Revolution's mission is to celebrate the lives of those who have been diagnosed with breast cancer; support those who currently battle the disease; and to make pervasive change in the future of breast cancer by paving a path to a cure and beyond, and works in conjunction with the UMass Memorial Breast Center and affiliate hospitals.
Joanna chose to donate the money to Pink Revolution because it is made up of volunteers, which means 100 percent of the proceeds go to local breast cancer patients. Joanna is now on the board of Pink Revolution.
“We actually work with the doctors and nurses at UMass Hospital and other hospitals if they need support. We have a meeting once a month, and we sit and talk about things going on there. It supports people like my mother. My aunt is a breast cancer survivor, so if she gets sick again they are being taken care of with the money that we are raising and that's what really gets me,” Joanna said.
This year the money from the race will be donated to patients who are underinsured. Joanna explained that even with insurance, many patients are not adequately covered. Many insurance plans do not cover items patients fighting breast cancer often need, such as wigs and lymphoma sleeves. Some patients have to stop work while being treated and have a hard time affording gas to get to medical appointments or to buy food for their families.
“We will actually buy gas cards for them, if that's what we need to do.”
For breast cancer patients who are in need of help, applications are available through their doctor or by emailing [email protected].
Last year, Bosom or Bust raised $11,000 and had 230 registered runners. The goal for this year's race is to double both the number of the runners and the money raised.
Remembering last year's race, Joanna explained, “It is such a great thing, but at the same time it was pretty fresh, my mom had passed away in October and it was only May. But I got there, and I can's express the feeling. People I knew, people I didn's know: hugs, thanking me, the love and support was amazing.
“When donating, find out where your money is going. For me, it is going to people in my backyard. It's supporting people that I love and care about on a daily basis,” Joanna said.
Bosom or Bust will be held Saturday, May 5, at 75 Felton St. in Marlborough. It will start at 10:30 a.m. Registration will open at 9 a.m.
To register, visit http://www.active.com/5k-race/marlborough-ma/bosom-or-bust-5k-in-memory-of-gail-rowe-2012. To donate, visit http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/joanna-rowe/Bosom_or_Bust_5k_2012.