Maria Rabb at Head of the Charles
Surviving Cancer Inspires Two Brown Alums to Get Back in the Boat
Cambridge, MA - Seven months ago, Brown University alums Maria Rabb '88 and Corky Bohen '89 could not imagine themselves getting back in a crew shell. Both were undergoing treatment for two different types of cancer. On October 17th, they will row as part of a Brown alumnae eight in the Head of the Charles in Boston.
October is breast cancer Awareness Month and the current Brown men's crew team has set a goal to raise $10K for breast cancer research in their "Pull for a Cure" effort. The crew will be sporting pink racing suits at the Head of the Charles to shoe their support for cancer survivors.
Maria Rabb of Ithaca, NY was diagnosed in February of 2009 with a rare and aggressive form of breast cancer, inflammatory breast cancer (IBC.) After 7 months of intensive treatment, Maria states that her cancer is undetectable and she is feeling good enough to start rowing again. She hopes that through her appearance at the Head of the Charles she can help raise awareness about early detection and treatment of IBC.
Corky Bohen of Woodstock, VT was diagnosed in January of 2009 with thyroid cancer. After discovering a lump on her neck, she was told that she would need to have her thyroid removed to prevent the spread of the disease. Though thyroid cancer is one of the most curable forms of cancer, it is also a cancer that is on the rise. Corky hopes that she and Maria can help educate others about how to catch these cancers early.
Corky and Maria were part of the 1988 champion eight that won the coveted Eastern Sprints. That boat was the first Brown women's varsity eight to claim victory in that competition. Their coach, John Murphy, is celebrating his 25th year as the women's crew coach. Coincidentally, it was 25 years ago that breast cancer survivor Margery "Margie" Gould Rath began raising funds for the American Cancer Society for what became known as "Making Strides Against Breast Cancer." Her idea has spawned events nationwide and raised more than $340 million for cancer research.
Brown Women's crew had a tradition in the 1980's and early 90's of making custom t-shirts for the Head of the Charles that display a message, one letter on each woman's back. For Corky and Maria, both 43, the cancer treatment has thrown them into early menopause. This year the message on the shirts will read "HOTFLASH."
The money raised by Brown Crew will go to the American Cancer Society's "Strides Against Breast Cancer". For more information and to join the Brown University "Pull for a Cure!" team, go to http://www.brownbears.com/sports/m-crew/index. You can cheer for Corky and Maria's boat Saturday at 11:30 and for the pink clad Brown men Sunday at 4:00 p.m.