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The one hundred honoree: Lorraine A. Sacco

Donor Story

The one hundred honoree: Lorraine A. Sacco

Mass General Giving

As a senior in high school, Reid Sacco had his whole life ahead of him. He was looking forward to attending Columbia University the following year. And then, a few weeks before his high school graduation, he was diagnosed with rhabdosarcoma — a cancer that’s most common in adolescents and young adults. Two years later, Lorraine Sacco and her husband, Gene, lost their 20-year-old son to this terrible disease.

Over the course of his illness, Reid and his parents talked about starting a movement to find better treatments, and eventually cures, for rhabdosarcoma and other cancers that affect young people. In honor of her son’s commitment to this cause, Lorraine founded the Reid R. Sacco Adolescent and Young Adults (AYA) Alliance. Through Reid’s Ride, a bike-a-thon from Lynnfield, Mass. to Gloucester, Mass. Lorraine has raised nearly $1 million over the past 10 years to help beat young adult cancers and to fund scholarships for others like Reid who battle cancer but dream big about education.

Through the support of the AYA Alliance and Lorraine’s indomitable spirit, Tufts Medical Center recently established the Reid R. Sacco Adolescent & Young Adult Clinic for Cancer and Blood Diseases, the first clinic in New England dedicated to the care of young adult patients diagnosed with cancer or blood disorders.

As friend Janice LeBel shares, “Lorraine and [her husband] Gene, like Reid, are never satisfied with simply managing a challenge. They intend to beat it. They have taken the love of their son, his remarkable spirit, their mutual backgrounds in health care and organized around finding a cure for young adult cancers. As long as there is breath in her body, Lorraine will be pounding the path to stop cancer in its tracks.”