By Lori Berkey, Contributing Writer
Shrewsbury – Each year, Roger and Sue McCarthy donate to a selected charity on behalf of the business they own, McCarthy Landscaping and Irrigation, Inc. Long-time supporters of breast cancer aid organizations, the couple had personal reasons this year for wanting to find an organization that helps local people affected by the disease. Sue’s research turned up the Breast Friends Connection, which offers a monthly support group in Shrewsbury as well as other assistance. After learning details about what the group provides, the McCarthys wrote them a check for $2,000 to support the organization.
Roger’s reason for wanting to donate hits home.
“Sue is a breast cancer survivor, so it’s in the family, it’s near and dear to the heart so for us. If the company’s doing well, I like to give, and to me what better thing to give to than that?” he said.
Besides Sue’s battle, the McCarthys have had friends they’ve lost to breast cancer and friends who have fought it. Sue’s cousin, Laura Reynolds, is currently going through a difficult fight with the disease.
“This year, we’re doing the donation in her name,” Sue said, adding that her cousin owns a restaurant in Worcester where she has a stream of regular patrons who love her.
With her cousin being nearby, she and Roger wanted to give to an organization that directly helps locals.
Roger was particularly impressed when he found out the Breast Friends Connection sent someone to clean a person’s house while they underwent treatment. He said it got him thinking of ways his business could further help with such things as lawn mowing.
According to Linda Halloran, co-founder of Breast Friends Connection, the organization is set up to bring women together to support their individual journey of diagnosis, treatment, recovery and beyond. The make-up of participants spans the newly diagnosed to those with over 10 years of survivorship.
Members of the support group provide emotional support to one another and also have the chance to obtain information from expert guest speakers who are brought in. The organization also provides financial help via such things as gas cards to get to treatment, help with meals or other personal needs.
Halloran said she is so grateful for the contribution made by the McCarthys, as their limited funds go quickly.
“Our struggle in starting our foundation was how are we going to raise money?” Halloran said. “It would take six months to organize a little mini-golf tournament that we’d get $4,000 from, but it would cost us a thousand in expenses – so six months of work would come out with $3,000 and we’d turn around and that money was gone within five months.”
Halloran already has plans for how the McCarthy’s check will be used. She said it will go toward helping a woman in their group who needs a double mastectomy as well as for the immediate needs of other participants.
The Breast Friends Connection meets the first Monday of each month from 6-8 p.m. at Liberty Church, 495 Hartford Turnpike (Route 20) in Shrewsbury. For more information, visit www.thebreastfriendsconnection.com or send an email to [email protected].