I don’t know how many times a week I say, “Let me put you in touch with our Director of Special Events and Outreach, Dianne Lynch.” After all, events and special programs make up 70% of our fundraising income at Family Reach. Those are funds we turn around and use to help families who have a child with cancer stay afloat every single day.
So chances are, if you’ve been a Family Reach supporter, Reach Athlete, volunteer or have attended one of our many events across the country, you’ve met or talked to Dianne Lynch. Which means you know that she is incredibly organized, very creative and fiercely dedicated to our mission. But there’s more to the story, and it’s a doozie.
Dianne knows a lot about cancer, more than anyone who’s not a medical professional should. Her story starts when she and her husband Ed were forced to suit up and join their 18-month-old son Jack in the war against cancer. Together they put their best foot forward and fought stage IV neuroblastoma, one of the deadliest pediatric cancers. At the time Jack was diagnosed, Dianne was seven months pregnant with their son Aidan and working as a VP at Major League Soccer. Like the parents from many of our families, she immediately stopped working to be by Jack’s side during treatment. Over the next three years, Dianne and Ed weathered the storm, watching their son endure grueling cancer treatments while trying to make life as normal as possible for their young family – and along the way welcoming their third son, Thomas, into the world.
Dianne’s son, Jack, lost his cancer battle when he was just four years old. A parent’s worst nightmare. Dianne, Ed, big brother Aidan and newborn Thomas were left to pick up the pieces and somehow move on. I wish my story ended here, but it doesn’t. A few months after the loss of their four-year-old, Dianne was diagnosed with an aggressive breast cancer that required two years of intense treatment and drastic surgeries. She needed to find the strength to fight her own deadly battle with cancer so her family didn’t have to face another devastating loss. The family’s grieving process quickly turned back into the fight for life.
Dianne beat the odds and kicked cancer. And as soon as she did, she and Ed were determined to dedicate their energy towards giving other cancer families the chance to do the same. They wanted to honor Jack’s memory and address a grossly overlooked reality of cancer which they saw first hand year over year. Dianne joined Family Reach in 2012 and has been working tirelessly to support families whose journey she knows all too well. Dianne is our lens, our in-house expert and our friend. Her son Jack’s 4’ x 3’ funny face canvas print hangs proudly in our office and is there to greet us each morning and send us home to our families each night. You’ll see one of his priceless images pop up on our website, in our print collateral and at events because we all feel a little better knowing Jack is with us, looking over us and giving us all the fuel we need to stay focused, strong and determined to do what it takes to help all families get to the other side of cancer.
Thank you Dianne, Ed, Aidan, Thomas & Forever Jack Lynch.