Needham teen sits for breast cancer awareness, funds

Adam Lassman, 17, of Needha, is founder of the Pink Seat Project, which works to raise awareness of breast cancer as well as funds to battle the disease.
Lassman Family
Adam Lassman, 17, of Needha, is founder of the Pink Seat Project, which works to raise awareness of breast cancer as well as funds to battle the disease.

HOT SEAT: Seventeen-year-old Adam Lassman of Needham was in the second grade when his mother, Amy Lassman, was diagnosed with breast cancer. Although she was treated successfully and declared cancer-free, Lassman has continued looking for a way to help others affected by the disease.

He has his chance through the Pink Seat Project, which Lassman founded last spring as a community service project through the Diller Teen Fellows program, operated locally by the Jewish Community Centers of Greater Boston. Lassman, who is going into his senior year at Needham High School, aims to install pink seat covers in auditoriums, stadiums, and other entertainment venues nationwide to raise breast cancer awareness and funds to fight the disease through ticket sales from those seats.

To date, pink seats have been placed in the auditoriums at Newton North High School and the Leventhal-Sidman Jewish Community Center in Newton, the West Newton Cinema and other venues during the Boston Jewish Film Festival, the Great Hall Concert Series in Needham, and the Needham Community Council’s annual fashion show.


In addition, the Helen Diller Family Foundation awarded Lassman a $2,500 grant for the incorporation of the nonprofit. A logo was designed pro bono by Mia Schon of Jamaica Plain.

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To date, Lassman said, he has raised approximately $400 from pink seat sales for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. While pink seat holders currently pay regular admission price, Lassman hopes that someday individuals can specifically request the seat with the option of making an additional donation.

“Still having my mom is the most important thing,” Lassman said. “I want to help make it so other kids don’t have to go through the same thing we did.”

For more information, visit thepinkseatproject.org.

COMICS UNITE: Arlington native Jackie Flynn’s trip home this month will be a working vacation. The comedian, who now lives in Los Angeles, will perform in Comics Unite alongside Lenny Clarke, Tom Cotter, and Tony V on July 17, 6:45 to 8 p.m., at The Center for Arts in Natick. Proceeds will benefit the United Way of Tri-County in Framingham.


Flynn’s career progressed from comedy clubs to television and film after Peter and Bobby Farrelly attended a celebrity charity golf tournament on Cape Cod at which he performed in 1995. The screenwriters and directors subsequently cast him in “Kingpin,” “There’s Something About Mary,” “Me, Myself & Irene,” “Shallow Hal,” and “Stuck on You,” in which he played opposite Cher. Most recently, he appeared in “Here Comes the Boom” starring Kevin James.

Flynn, who is known for his sarcastic observational humor, said Comics Unite will feature a wide variety of styles from comedians who are all dedicated to raising awareness and funds to combat hunger in America.

“It will be a good night of laughs,” he said, “all for a good cause.”

Tickets cost $35, or $75 for a VIP package. For more information, visit uwotc.org/comicsunite.

MOVING ON: Although Barbara Carr already misses the Carter Center for Children in her hometown of Needham, she said the time was right for her retirement after 31 years. Her last day as codirector was June 26.


Carr cofounded the Carter Center with Sheila Connolly of Hyannis in 1982, in response to the growing need for full-day child care. It opened its doors to six children that year, as an outreach initiative of the Carter Memorial United Methodist Church. Now an independent nonprofit corporation at the same location, the center is at full capacity with 71 children between 2 and 6 years old.

Since the beginning, according to Carr, the Carter Center has maintained its philosophy of play-based, child-centered curriculum. Among the 17 teachers, seven have worked there for more than 15 years — including new codirector Lauren Alves of Norton, a 22-year veteran.

Carr said the children also benefit from the numerous former graduates who return as teen volunteers.

“The kids love to hear their stories,” said Carr, who remains a board member. “It all contributes to the nice community feeling, and all the good things about the center that keep getting better and better.”

COLLABORATIVE SPIRIT: Natick Selectman Joshua Ostroff was presented with the Theodore Mann Regional Leadership Award at the recent annual meeting of the Metropolitan Area Planning Council in Quincy.

The award is given annually in memory of Newton’s longest-serving mayor, Theodore Mann, and recognizes a municipal leader from Greater Boston committed to regional collaboration. Mann’s son, Rick Mann, presented the awards.

Ostroff was praised for his contributions to the planning council and the region throughout his public service. He has served for three years as chairman of the MetroWest Regional Collaborative, and he is a past president of the Massachusetts Municipal Association.

“I am honored to receive this award, and I am enthusiastic about carrying forward Mayor Mann’s forward-looking stewardship,” Ostroff said. “Teddy Mann was respectful of history, engaged, and passionate about solving the problems of ordinary people, and he established a legacy of enduring good works that has inspired leaders throughout the region.”

HEAD OF THE CLASS: Boston College professor Solomon Friedberg (inset) of Newton was recently appointed as the James P. McIntyre Professor of Mathematics.

He is the third to hold the title, which was established in the College of Arts and Sciences by a Boston College benefactor to honor longtime senior vice president James P. McIntyre.

Friedberg joined the BC faculty in 1996 and became chairman of the mathematics department in 2007. During his tenure, the department has established a doctoral program, a new bachelor of science degree, and a distinguished lecturer series.

Friedberg noted that mathematics has long been a cornerstone of a Jesuit education.

“I’m very excited by the achievements in scholarship, teaching, and service related to mathematics that are taking place here at Boston College, and that this chair will support,” said Friedberg, whose areas of interest are number theory and representation theory. “I look forward to helping us accomplish even more in the years ahead.”

People items may be submitted to Cindy Cantrell at cantrell@globe.com.