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Risa’s Story

“I was thirty-seven, with two daughters, nearly three and nearly one. I was a rising marketing executive in the midst of the largest bank merger in US history. I was busy contemplating the future with my husband – watching our girls flower from adorable babies into two beautiful little girls with their own distinct personalities, spending our paychecks with little regard, planning a dream house, thinking about a third child. All that good stuff, and then I heard the most dreaded three words in the English language – you have cancer.”

This is how Risa Rosengard began an unfinished book she titled “Girlfriends Guide to Surviving Cancer”. Even during these darkest hours, Risa brought humor and perspective to her fate and through the endless treatments and grueling medical regimes that a cancer patient has to endure, Risa continued to think about how she could give back.

Throughout her life, Risa helped people: she was a board member of Access Boston and worked closely with the Red Cross. Once she was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and began her treatment, to pass the time while receiving chemotherapy, Risa started making latch-hook rugs. Her desire was that she would be able to develop a collaborative effort where everyone would latch rugs and sell them to raise money to help children and families coping with cancer and bereavement. She wanted to call this “Latches for Life” and this became the genesis for her dream: creating a lasting legacy and foundation to support organizations that help families through the trauma of cancer. Following the passing of Risa, her eldest daughter, Mia, commented that we all need to “keep Risa’s dream alive” and this has since become the slogan for the Risa S Rosengard Foundation. While undergoing treatment, Risa wanted to find a way to help children of other families who were going through what her children were experiencing: she wanted to provide families with support to cope with cancer, provide an outlet for children of those who are being treated for cancer and provide bereavement counseling for family members left behind.

For five years now, the Risa S. Rosengard Foundation has been striving to keep her “ dream alive”.