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The one hundred honoree: Team Collette-Black Rose

Donor Story

The one hundred honoree: Team Collette-Black Rose

Mass General Giving

Charlie Maher met his wife, Collette Cashman Maher, at the Black Rose Pub in Boston, Mass. and he later proposed to her at the Black Rose Pub in Galway, Ireland. The name “Black Rose” held special meaning for the couple. Even after Collette passed away in 2012 at age 41 from triple-negative breast cancer, the name continues to be a tribute to their love.

Moved by Collette’s strength and grace — which she demonstrated throughout her five year battle with the disease — her family and friends wanted to create a fundraising effort to honor Collette and raise money to support triple-negative breast cancer research led by Collette’s oncologist, Steven Isakoff, MD, PhD, at the Mass General Cancer Center. Team Collette–Black Rose was formed, spearheaded by Charlie, and the group held their first fundraiser on St. Patrick’s Day 2013 — Collette’s favorite holiday. On a freezing cold day, the team participated in the St. Patrick’s Day 5k race in Collette’s hometown of Marshfield, Mass., and raised $3,800 — surpassing their goal of $2,500.

Later that year, Charlie and Collette’s young daughter, Maeve, celebrated her eighth birthday at a joint party with two of her friends. The girls decided to ask their friends to donate to the Mass General Cancer Center instead of giving them gifts, in honor and memory of Collette. Together, they raised more than $300 to support Team Collette–Black Rose’s efforts. Of this touching gesture, Dr. Isakoff says, “As a parent of two children, I understand what a big deal it is for a child to ask not to receive gifts. I was so incredibly impressed and humbled by their gesture.”

In March 2014, Dr. Isakoff and his family joined Team Collette–Black Rose to participate in the 2014 Marshfield St. Patrick’s Day 5k race. Thanks in large part to the efforts of Jean and Brian O’Halloran, vice president and assistant general manager of the Boston Red Sox, and the generosity of Red Sox fans at spring training, Team Collette–Black Rose raised more than $11,000 for research!

Through these and other efforts, Charlie, Maeve and Team Collette–Black Rose are making sure that Collette’s spirit lives on.