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The one hundred honoree: Sarah, Gail and Christopher Doktor

Hospital News

The one hundred honoree: Sarah, Gail and Christopher Doktor

Mass General Giving

In 2007, Sarah Doktor lost her 9-year-old sister and Gail and Chris Doktor lost their youngest daughter, Jessie, after a six-year illness with leukemia and complications following a bone marrow transplant. In the years that followed, Sarah, Gail and Chris have worked to bring inspiration, resources and support to other children and families facing similar struggles.

Cancer didn’t just happen to Jessie — it happened to the whole Doktor family. That’s why they started Bright Happy Power to “place hope, happiness and empowerment into the hands and lives of children and families facing life-threatening and catastrophic challenges.” The Doktors have embraced this mission wholeheartedly. Raising funds for child life programs at hospitals across the Boston area, Bright Happy Power provides books, care packages, scholarships, gift cards, meals, gas cards, groceries and more for countless patients and families facing the daily challenges of coping with complex diseases.

Paper cranes have become an important symbol to the Doktors in their work to help other families dealing with cancer. Inspired by a Japanese student named Sadako, whose classmates fulfilled her wish to fold 1,000 paper cranes when she developed cancer after the bombing of Hiroshima, origami cranes continue to be a symbol of hope among cancer patients. In Jessie’s honor, several thousand cranes were sent to the Doktors from all over the world. A tradition began in the Doktors’ hometown of Ipswich, Mass., of launching the cranes from ladder trucks, planes and construction cranes and hanging them from trees and bridges. An annual “crane flight” was also established in loving honor and memory of cancer patients.

Sarah, Gail and Chris Doktor strive to keep hope alive for those dealing with daunting illness, and allow Jessie’s spirit to “take wing” in the process.”