Jean’s Angels Gear Up for Fourth Lahey Health 5K
A pink T-shirt hangs behind Judy Lamarre’s desk at her family’s concrete products company in Greenville, New Hampshire. It’s a memento from her first Lahey Health Cancer Institute 5K Walk & Run, in 2016, and the photo on the back is of her late mother, Jean Lamarre. Jean is the reason she walks the 5K every year.
“I needed to do something to keep my mom’s memory alive,” Judy said. “She’s our angel. And together, we’re Jean’s Angels.”
Judy and her family have honored Jean in a very big way since their Jean’s Angels team made its debut three years ago. The team has consistently placed among the 5K’s top fundraisers, coming in first with about $23,000 in 2018. In total, the team members have raised more than $76,000, and their 2019 fundraising is just ramping up.
The team chose to support the Lahey Health 5K because of the excellent care Jean received at the Sophia Gordon Cancer Center at Lahey Hospital & Medical Center.
Care worth the trip
“I want others to have the experience she had,” Judy said of her mother’s care. “The people down at Lahey Clinic make you feel like you’re family. Her doctor would come in, smile, give her a hug and a kiss. It’s as if it were his own mother. We were family. And that’s what kept her going for so long, I think.”
That sense of family not only kept Jean going. It made the 45-mile drives from Greenville to Burlington and back that much easier for Judy and her dad, William “Buddy” Lamarre.
“We drove back and forth to Lahey for five years,” Buddy added. “Sometimes five or six times a week. Never bothered me a bit.”
Through the taxing cancer treatments, Jean never lost her sense of humor. “She got a wig and wore that for a while,” said Buddy. “She scared the grandchildren. She would take it off and throw it at them.”
That’s who Jean was, in a nutshell, said Judy. “You just didn’t know what to expect.”
The distinctive pink truck parked outside the Lamarres’ office is another tribute to Jean at the business she and Buddy started more than 50 years ago. A picture of Jean superimposed on angel wings decorates the driver’s side door. The fenders over the front wheel wells are dark purple, which is the color of pancreatic cancer, the disease that took Jean’s life.
The family takes pride in driving the truck in local parades and celebrations. Every year, they bring it to the 5K in Burlington.
What would Jean think of the truck? “I think she’d say, ‘Why is my face on that truck?’ But she’d love it,” Judy said.
Buddy couldn’t bring himself to share memories of Jean during a recent interview. “I can’t, I’ll start crying,” he said, choking back tears. “She’s still my best friend.”