Globe South People

Grass-roots effort

Amanda Cavallo and MaryRose Blandino. Amanda Cavallo and MaryRose Blandino.
Email|Print|Single Page| Text size + By Paul E. Kandarian
July 10, 2008

Amanda Cavallo of Pembroke was 11 when her mother, Cheryl Cavallo, succumbed to breast cancer. She was old enough to feel the sting of that acute loss and compassionate enough to one day continue her late mother's efforts to raise money and awareness of the disease.

Cavallo, now 18, and her fellow Pembroke High School graduate and best friend MaryRose Blandino created "Daughters With Hope," a fund-raising walk that was held June 21 in Pembroke that raised $2,851 for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. The amount was small compared with walks that raise millions, but still important, Cavallo said.

"The littlest bit helps," she said. "And it raises awareness and brings people together."

The walk, which was Cavallo's National Honor Society senior service project, was a sequel to "Friends With Hope," which her mother and her friend, Janet Ballentine, started in 2000 when they both learned that their breast cancer had returned. Cavallo died in 2001, Ballentine in 2002. That walk was held for a few years, raising some $200,000.

"After my mom's passing, the family did it for awhile longer, then it got to be too much," Amanda Cavallo said. "I was sad to see it go and wanted it to carry on."

She said her event went off without a hitch. About 200 people participated. She'd like to see it continue, but she is starting at Syracuse University in the fall where she'll pursue a degree in architecture, so she said she would wait and see if she has time. Life will be hectic, she said, adding, "but we'll do our best."

Her mother, she said, was her role model.

"Mom always wanted to help anyone in any way possible; that's why I look up to her," she said. "She was so willing to give; she was constantly selfless."

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BIKING FOR DOLLARS - More than 500 children rode their bikes to raise money - a lot of money - at Hingham High School recently in the second annual Pan-Massachusetts Challenge Kids Ride Hingham. The event raised more than $50,000 this year, bringing the two-year total to more than $114,000, with all of the money going to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Children from all over the South Shore participated. Hingham native Kelley Tuthill, a television reporter and cancer survivor, served as emcee, and 16-year-old Emmy Giarrusso of Hingham sang the national anthem. Andrew MacKinlay, a 15-year-old from Norwell, was the featured speaker, who told the crowd of his battle with leukemia and the importance of the ride. Andrew is the youngest cancer survivor to ride in this year's Pan-Mass Challenge, a 190-mile bike-a-thon scheduled for Aug. 2 and 3.

PLAYHOUSE POWER - The giving ways of the South Shore Playhouse Associates continue, as the not-for-profit organization and operator of the South Shore Music Circus in Cohasset and Cape Cod Melody Tent in Hyannis has donated $125,000 to local causes. The group donated $100,000 to the Cohasset Library Trust Inc. and $25,000 to fund "Melody Tent Presents The Cape Cod Conservatory's Music and More Performance Series." In the past decade, the South Shore Playhouse Associates has distributed more than $2.5 million to local nonprofit organizations.

CARE WORKERS HONORED - At a State House ceremony in June, the Massachusetts Long-Term Care Foundation honored 60 people from across the state who are employed in long-term care facilities for their achievements in providing quality care. The recipients were chosen from more than 300 applications, officials of the foundation said. Those recipients in the South area were: Larissa Alves, Isabela Borelli-Gomes and Maricarm Exantus, all of Brockton; Susan Connolly of Weymouth; Cara Coull-McKay of Plymouth; Dawn Hogan and Deborah Linehan, both of Middleborough; Stephanie Joyce of Norton; Patrick Karanja and Carline Prophete, both of Randolph; Matthew MacDonald of Bridgewater; Erin Ouellette of Wareham; Sharon Schuttauf of Raynham; Lisa Templehof of Quincy; and Mary Wells of Dedham.

BUSINESS BRIEFS The voluntary governing boards of Jordan Hospital in Plymouth have reorganized into one board. Jordan was previously governed by two, one for the hospital, one for the parent organization, Jordan Health System Inc. Many of the roughly 40 volunteers served on both. Wilfred Sheehan, chairman of the board of directors at Jordan, is chairman of the new board, along with Peter J. Holden, president and CEO of Jordan Health System Inc., and Elliot J. Schwartz, treasurer of the hospital.

Fat Cat Design of Halifax, a Web and print graphic design firm, and Tree Frog Marketing of Scituate, a public relations and marketing communications agency, have announced partnership of their companies, said Maryellen McCarthy Rogers, principal owner of Tree Frog Marketing, and Jamie Ross of Fat Cat Design.

The board of directors at Grow Associates Inc. of Avon has appointed James Zweber of Marshfield as executive director. He has been in the human services field since 1983 and employed at Grow for seven years.

Paul E. Kandarian can be reached at