On March 10, Julie Cohen, 54, of Bedford, was recognized as the Volunteer of the Year at the Extra Mile Brunch, an event that celebrates Pacesetters, participants whom last year raised more than $1,250 for the The Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk, a one-day charity walk that raises funds for all cancers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, according to a press release.
For three years, Cohen has been a dedicated walker, volunteer, and fundraiser for the Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk presented by Hyundai. She is the second person to receive the Volunteer of the Year award, which will be presented annually to outstanding volunteers.
This year, the Extra Mile Brunch comes at a poignant time of year for Cohen. Her mother would have turned 88 on March 11, and she lost both parents to cancer during this month. Her mother passed away from leukemia in March 2000 and just one year later she lost her father to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Cohen first walked the five-mile route with her husband and two children in 2009 as part of "The Cohen Team." While health issues kept her sidelined from the course the next years, Cohen remained involved in 2011 and 2012 as a volunteer and virtual walker.
Last year, Cohen raised $1,270 for Dana-Farber by writing letters and inviting family and friends to make financial contributions to her fundraising campaign, which placed her at Pacesetter status and brought her three-year fundraising total to $2,335.
In 2010, she participated in a research study led by the Lymphoma Program at Dana-Farber that evaluates the genetic factors that lead to lymphoma. The study’s results, which will come at a later date, could benefit her children because they will be more educated on who in their families might be a victim of the disease, possibly by the presence of an altered gene.
“Despite all the sore muscles and blistered feet, the excitement and enthusiasm present amongst the walkers and volunteers at the Finish Line tell it all,” says Cohen. “We all participate for a cure, for research, for all that Dana-Farber does!”
Cohen plans to volunteer at the Walk on Sept. 8.
Since 1989, the Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk has raised nearly $87 million for Dana-Farber.
To register for the 25th anniversary of the Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk, or to support a walker, visit www.JimmyFundWalk.org or call (866) 531-9255.
Sign-up is easy and walkers can enter the discount code NEWS for $5 off the registration fee.