BOSTON — As a young woman, Amanda Durocher has learned that philanthropy and health care can often go hand-in-hand.
Durocher, who graduated from Saranac Central in 2007, became involved in supporting breast-cancer research while an undergraduate student at St. Lawrence University in Canton.
As a member of the Kappa Delta Sigma sorority at St. Lawrence, she participated in several fundraising activities for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Research Fund.
Her caring spirit originates from a desire to help others, but some anxiety of her own about breast health makes that issue a personal one for her.
“I’ve had a benign breast condition since I was 15,” Durocher said recently from her apartment in Boston, where she is now pursuing a master’s degree in special education at Simmons College.
“I’ve had five benign breast tumors and four lumpectomies for removal of those tumors. Although the condition isn’t life threatening, it’s very bittersweet.
“I feel very lucky that it’s not malignant, but at the same time, it kind of shakes you up.”
AVON FOUNDATION WALK
Breast-cancer research continues to be an important tool in improving the life-expectancy of women diagnosed with breast cancer, Durocher noted, and fundraising efforts to expand on that research have always motivated her to stay involved personally.
After graduating from St. Lawrence with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, she immediately took a position at the New England Center for Children in Boston as a special-education teacher for youngsters with severe autism.
“They are the most wonderful people,” she said of her students at the New England Center. “They make every day really fun and rewarding.”
Durocher has remained committed to philanthropy and breast-cancer research, too. She recently participated in the Avon Foundation’s Avon Walk for Breast Cancer; she and two friends walked 39.3 miles over two days.
“It’s something that I’ve wanted to do since moving to Boston,” she said of the event.
“This fundraiser was specifically used to help women who don’t have the monetary means to treat their cancer here in Boston.
“It was definitely very amazing.”
Organizers for the Avon Foundation fundraiser took into account the bombings at the Boston Marathon in April that left three people dead and hundreds injured from the blasts.
“This year, they changed the route so we would purposely cross Boylston Street (near the finish line where the bombings occurred),” she said.
“We passed the fire station (closest to that spot), and the firefighters were out cheering us on,” she added. “They were the ones who were greatly impacted a month ago, the ones who were kind of making a difference (in bringing aid to the wounded).
“To see them take the time to cheer us on, that was really amazing.”
That kind of support was repeated throughout the route, she added. Many who had come out to offer their support to the walkers were wearing “Boston Strong” T-shirts in response to the collective solidarity the city has shown since the fatal terrorist attack.
Durocher and her teammates met their goal of $1,830, and the overall event raised more than $4 million.
Her parents, Nancy and Terry Durocher, traveled from the North Country to Boston to lend their support to their daughter and her continued efforts to help others in need.
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