This weekend, I had the honor of visiting Newburyport, Massachusetts as part of fun weekend that was hosted by The Busy Creative in collaboration with the Newburyport Chamber of Commerce and various local businesses. I will be sharing a ton about it in the coming weeks. The weekend began for me on Friday night when we attended the Runway for Recovery show at the Westin Seaport Hotel in Boston. In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I wanted to begin by sharing about this incredible event and organization.
What is the Runway for Recovery Show?
I struggle to think of a way to articulate what I witnessed on Friday night at the New England Runway for Recovery Show. No words can truly sum up what the event was like. People warned me to bring tissues, and if I’m being honest, it takes a lot for me to cry in public. Five minutes into the show, I was bawling. The women, men, and children who walked in the show were the real faces of breast cancer. They have been through the unimaginable and still managed to dance down that runway to honor the journey they never asked to take. The journey that made all of them the truest definition of the word ‘warrior’. There were stories of strength, determination, physical pain, emotional pain, uncertainty, gratitude, and loss.
As each story flashed on the screen and they danced down the runway, I felt incredibly privileged to witness their moment. There were women currently in treatment dancing arm-in-arm with their children down the runway. Children walking in memory of a mother they had lost. There was a young father dancing with his two beautiful children in memory of their mother. The founder, Olivia, kept reiterating that this was a night where these warriors could enjoy a fun moment dancing down the runway.
One of the most moving parts of the night was listening to Olivia’s dad speak. He had the entire room laughing and crying during the few minutes he spoke. In lieu of a traditional silent auction, event goers could donate funds to directly help families. It felt extra impactful to know that our donation was going directly to a child’s horseback riding or tutoring lessons.
What does Runway for Recovery do?
Runway was founded 16 years ago by Olivia Achtmeyer Boger in memory of her mother. She wanted to create a place where children and families impacted by breast cancer could bond and become a community. Runway raises funds to help families with whatever they might need, whether it be counseling, tutoring, groceries, or gas money. They provide families in New England with financial support and wrap-around services. Through their Family Grants Program, Runway for Recovery provides each family between $10-$30k annually. At the event, we listened to one young woman speak to how Runway helped her financially when she lost her mother as a teenager.
There were over 800 people in attendance, and I think that is the ultimate testament to the incredible work Olivia has done. Runway predominantly helps families in New England, but they are expanding all over the country to help other families in need of support. They even have a show planned for January 2023 in Southern California.
How can you help?
Often times when we hear about tragedy or illness impacting a person, we say, “I truly can’t imagine.” I consider myself incredibly lucky to not have had breast cancer impact my immediate family. But that is the thing. Nearly 12% of women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. We need to imagine what it is like, get involved, and support causes like Runway for Recovery. What sets Runway for Recovery apart is that they support these families during and after cancer. In addition to offering financial support, they continue to provide emotional support. Runway for Recovery funds things like; counseling for children who have lost a mother to breast cancer.
Our social media feeds are often inundated with causes to donate to. It can be overwhelming to feel the push to support every cause. I’m honored to share Runway for Recovery in this space as it is an organization I truly feel passionate about. It sounds cliche to say, but every donation makes a difference- no matter the dollar amount. Here is a link to Runway for Recovery’s site where you can send donations or read more.