Weymouth woman and dad walking for Jimmy Fund

Richard Fridgen and daughter Donna at last year’s Jimmy Fund Walk.
Richard Fridgen and daughter Donna at last year’s Jimmy Fund Walk.

The Fridgen family well knows the ordeal cancer causes for families.

Donna Fridgen, 49, of Weymouth, watched her father and mother, Richard and Anne Fridgen of Norwell, endure the disease and survive.

Years earlier, Richard Fridgen had lost his mother, Emma Doll, to pancreatic cancer. Donna Fridgen lost a friend to the disease, and her boyfriend’s mother is in her own fight with it.


The father-and-daughter Fridgens are helping others by again planning to join the Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk Sept. 8, which raises money for cancer care and research at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Donna Fridgen has walked the walk since it began in 1989. Her father, 80, has joined her for the last 23 of them.

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“For the first two years I walked, my father stood at the sidelines at the 10-mile stop where he’d wait for me with a pair of fresh sneakers and socks,” said Fridgen, former benefits manager in human resources at Dana-Farber and now compensation manager at South Shore Mental Health in Quincy. “After watching me and hundreds of others cross the finish line, my father knew he had to help further the walk’s mission.”

She is one of 15 walkers marking their 25th year in the 26.2-mile walk. Over the years father and daughter have participated, they have raised $15,300. At this year’s walk in September, more than 8,000 participants are expected in hopes of raising more than $7 million.

Since its inception, the event, which is supported by the Boston Athletic Association, host of the Boston Marathon, has raised nearly $87 million. The walk follows the same route as the marathon. For information on the event, visit

Having worked for Dana-Farber for many years, Donna Fridgen was witness to the ravages of cancer. The day after her first Jimmy Fund Walk, she was in a cafeteria line at work when she saw a cancer patient in front of her who had lost a leg to the disease.


“Right then and there, I vowed to continue to walk for those who can’t, for those who have won their battles and those who didn’t, as long as my legs will carry me,” she said. “Having my father by my side makes the event that much more meaningful.”

HONORING PLYMOUTH VETERAN: Robert Kehoe of Plymouth was honored June 8 at the Norwell Visiting Nurse Association and Hospice veterans’ recognition program. Kehoe, 65, is an Army veteran with pancreatic cancer, and lives with his wife, Joan, with her sister. Kehoe said his goal is to welcome his first grandson, who is due July 31. The fund-raiser helped assist his family with medical bills and expenses incurred beyond his benefits, organizers said. The veterans’ recognition program was created three years ago by the NVNA and Hospice.

STOUGHTON PUPIL WINS CONTEST: What three things does Mazie Loayza love most about her school, South Elementary in Stoughton? Her teacher, who is “smart, gorgeous and cute”; gym class, because “we did jump rope for heart and we helped people’s hearts”; and “computers because we learn and after learning we do activities if we have time.”

For her essay on the subject, along with a drawing, the youngster was named a winner of the Massachusetts School Building Authority’s annual “My Ideal School” contest, which asks students to draw their perfect school and pen three reasons they love theirs. More than 2,500 first-graders statewide participated.

For their winning art and essays, the students received awards at a State House ceremony, and a savings bond from Sovereign Bank, the event sponsor.


BUSINESS BRIEFS: Scott Guilbeault of G-Force Shipping in Norwell is one of 43 New England semifinalists vying for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award, from an original field of more than 1,600 nationally. The award program is in its 27th year and has expanded to more than 140 cities in the United States and more than 50 countries. The regional award winner will be announced June 26 at the Renaissance Waterfront Hotel in Boston, at the Ernst & Young New England Gala.

Elizabeth Stevenson of Marshfield was appointed board chair and council president of Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts. She is vice president of enrollment management at Massachusetts Maritime Academy in Buzzards Bay, and has had many roles in the scout group over the years. She has also served on Marshfield’s zoning board.

Lori Bridge, a Holbrook native, has joined South Shore Staffing in Canton as a staffing specialist. Prior to her hiring, she was an executive recruiter for Apple One Employment in Ventura, Calif., where she lived for 34 years before returning to her home state.

Jonathan Henry a selectman in Marion, was elected chair of the Southeastern Regional Planning and Economic Development District at the agency’s 57th annual meeting last month. Randall Kunz of Mattapoisett, who chaired the agency from 2010-2013, received the Distinguished Service Award.

A Special Recognition Award was given to Kevin Desmarais who was recognized for more than 30 years of service as a member of the Freetown Planning Board and Freetown Conservation Commission. Rita Garbitt, Lakeville’s town administrator, was given the Commissioner of the Year Award for her contributions to regional planning and the town of Lakeville.

Paul E. Kandarian can be reached at