When Olivia Achtmeyer Boger was 20 years old, she experienced the heartbreaking loss of her mother to cancer – a battle she didn’t even know the strongest woman in her life was fighting. Her mother had elected to hide the fact that she was in the fight of her life from her children so they wouldn’t worry about her, a selfless decision that Olivia says inspired her to create the very foundation today that helps other families in need. “My mom was an exceptionally wonderful mother, and also a very private person. She fought breast cancer for 10 years without really telling anybody! When she passed away in 2001, I was one of four kids and we didn’t even really know that she had as serious an experience with breast cancer as she did. ”
While Olivia at first didn’t know where to begin in honoring her mother’s legacy, she knew she had to do something. “I wanted to start an organization that celebrated that essence of childhood that she fought so hard for herself,” she explains. At a Red Sox game talking with friends who owned local boutique clothing shop Maggie Taylor several years later, Olivia received her opportunity. “I had become really close friends with some people in Concord who owned their own clothing boutique and offered the clothes to be modeled as a fundraiser. Instead of finding professional models, we asked people who had survived breast cancer or had somebody in their life pass away from it be our models.” Open to all who wish to attend, the event holds a special meaning for anyone who has lost a loved one to or battled breast cancer. “You know, you could be at the end of your breast cancer journey, you could be in the middle of it, you could have just lost your mom, or your mom could have passed away 15 years ago. It kinda gives everybody a night to remember, celebrate and reflect.”
What started as a one-time event, Runway for Recovery is now celebrating its 13th year of raising money for families whose caregiver has passed away from cancer. “While many breast cancer organizations look to find the cure,” the company’s slogan reads, “I am looking to find ways to help those families for whom the cure does not come in time.” From helping families pay for a child’s extracurricular activities to providing tutoring & therapy services or sending a child to camp, Olivia’s mission is centered around wraparound services that “allow kids to be kids”. “We are financially taking the place of what a mother’s paycheck would have been paying for if she was still alive,” she explains, and believes each family the organization is able to help honors her mother’s own mission in life.
To learn more about Runway For Recovery, visit their website at https://runwayforrecovery.org/ or check out this video below!: