Tina Capodilupo Journeay is no stranger to the devastating effects of cancer. A breast cancer survivor herself after undergoing a double mastectomy five years ago, Tina’s grandmother lost her battle to breast cancer in 1994 and her mother underwent a double mastectomy in August 2012. A week following her mother’s surgery, Tina’s beloved daughter Emma succumbed to stage IV neuroblastoma, a year after being diagnosed.
While many would be overcome by such tragic events, Tina put her grief to work almost immediately helping others. Just two weeks after Emma’s passing, Tina organized a team to participate in the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’s Jimmy Fund walk. In just eight days, her team raised more than $15,000 to benefit the Jimmy Fund. To honor Emma’s love of reading, Tina began raising funds monthly to buy e-readers for the Mass General children’s library. She donates Pillow Pets to comfort children in Mass General’s pediatric intensive care unit as well as on inpatient units.
Tina also helped to establish the nonprofit Tough Warrior Princesses, which raises money for cancer research and assists local women who need rides, meals or other assistance during their cancer treatments. She walks the annual 60-mile Susan G. Komen 3-Day in Boston, a major fundraiser for breast cancer education and outreach.
Pediatrician Olga Rose, MD, met Tina and Emma soon after the child was diagnosed in September 2011. “I was amazed by the strength, fortitude and love that Tina embodied and passed along to her daughter,” writes Dr. Rose. “The two fought alongside one another and magnified each other’s strength. Tina never left her daughter’s side. She was not only a mother, but an advocate and a best friend to Emma through her year-long battle with cancer.”