First ‘Walk for Dad’ to support those affected by male cancers

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By Nance Ebert, Contributing Writer

(l to r) Margaret Riani, Joe Curley and Lee Riani Photo/Nance Ebert
(l to r) Margaret Riani, Joe Curley and Lee Riani
Photo/Nance Ebert

Marlborough – On June 10, the first “Walk for Dad,” a 5K walk/run to benefit Hank’s Heart, Inc., will be held at the Assabet Rail Trail starting at Moose Lodge, 67 Fitchburg St., in Marlborough.

Hank’s Heart is a nonprofit organization formed in memory of Henry F. “Hank” Riani, who passed away eight years ago from penile cancer, which is extremely rare. He was a lifelong resident of Marlborough and a beloved member of the community. He was a member of the Italian American Veteran’s Club as well as Moose Lodge.

Henry’s close friend, Joe Curley, daughter, Margaret Riani and wife, Lee Riani, have spent the past three years creating Hank’s Heart and, together as co-creators, they are determined to carry out their mission to assist and support local families that are affected by male cancers.

“Three cancers specific to males include prostate, testicular and penile,” Lee explained. “Men generally take on the role of being strong and silent when dealing with illness. This can result in the worst outcome, which is the loss of a loved one. It not only affects the person who is diagnosed with cancer but everyone else in their lives. Nobody should have to go through this fight alone and our goal is to assist them with funds we raise based on each individual’s needs. We also hope to share our knowledge and offer our support to local families as they fight these male cancers.”

The walk/run coincides with Male Cancer Week, June 11-17. Gift bags will be given to the first 50 adult participants and there will be raffles and t-shirts for sale. The cost to participate is $15 per adult; $5 per child ages 10 to 15; and children under 10 are free. The event begins at 10 a.m. with registration from 8-9:30 a.m.

“In forming this 501C charity, we wanted to give back to the community,” Margaret said. “The brainstorm happened and at the five-year anniversary of my father’s passing, we actually moved forward with Hank’s Heart, Inc. It was a huge learning experience for all of us. We wanted to make sure that we did it right. It took us about three years to be where we are today. Our goal, which will expand over time, is to help local families who are dealing with the three male cancers.”

Henry Riani and Curley both retired from Raytheon. With more free time, the two saw each other every morning since retiring.

“Lee and Margaret did all of the groundwork for this charitable organization,” Curley noted. “Lee asked me if I’d like to help and I did not hesitate. Henry and I used to see each other every morning to discuss the world. He was pretty private and did not like to draw attention to himself. Boy, oh boy, would he be annoyed at all of the attention Hank’s Heart, Inc., is getting in his honor.”

Anyone wanting additional information or wishing to contribute to Hank’s Heart can go to their Facebook page or email [email protected].