Concord Firefighter Lindsay McGloughlin and her son, Charlie. Photo courtesy of Cooper Hound Pictures

Inspired by a mom lost to breast cancer, ‘Love Local’ supports families 

By Margaret Carroll-BergmanCorrespondent

“When people think of cancer and a cancer diagnosis, they are not often thinking of uplifting events and community,” said Olivia Achtmeyer Boger, executive director of Runway for Recovery. 

“People get to be part of a club that they don’t want to be [in], but make the best of it. Cancer might be the new normal or reality, but we’re putting a different spin on it.”

The Concord native founded Runway for Recovery in 2007 as a way to honor her mother, Cande, who died after a 10-year battle, leaving her husband and four children. The nonprofit hopes to recast the breast cancer experience for families by offering financial help and support to those who’ve lost a loved one. 

“I was inspired by the love the Concord community gave my family when my mom was alive,” Boger said.

Love Local Concord’s committee, from left: Lindsay McGloughlin, Ashley Cohane, Becca Muse-Orlinoff, Olivia Boger, Katie Fahey, Lindsay Boger, Abbey Redmond, and Dish Woodard.
Photo by Maia Kennedy Photography

The organization holds “Love Local” events in Concord and Newburyport, and its signature event is a fashion show in Boston which funds its New England grants. In the last 17 years, 2,000 people have walked the runway.

“Any money given to us is directly put into the hands of the families to whom the cure did not come in time,” Boger said. “It’s used for child care, summer camp, tutoring, groceries. In many cases, the grants force people to push their kids back out there.”

Mother and son

Concord Firefighter Lindsay McGloughlin was diagnosed with breast cancer twice — the first time when she was 28 and the second at 33.

McGloughlin’s parents grew up in West Concord. Her mother and grandmother had breast cancer, too. “I’m third generation,” she said.

Her son, Charlie, now 12, has been witness to her cancer experience.

McGloughlin and Charlie during her treatment.
Photo courtesy of Cooper Hound Pictures

“I’ve been very honest with Charlie about what’s going on. He had to grow up fast. He’s seen a lot, and he cares a lot,” McGloughlin said. “Runway is a very safe space. Charlie can see other kids go through this and see kids thriving. It’s a community of support.”

Anyone who’s been impacted by breast cancer — Stages 0 through IV — or lost someone to the disease can model in the Boston fashion show.

McGloughlin modeled solo the first time and with Charlie at her side in future shows. 

“It was the first time I felt I could celebrate anything that has to do with breast cancer. Runway for Recovery takes a negative situation and brings a positive light to it,” she said. “Everyone’s energy is so fantastic. The stories are emotional and moving. The light in their eyes says, ‘I did this.’”

“A deeper impact”

In New England this year, Runway for Recovery serves 37 families. Grant funding ranges from $10,000 to $30,000 per family.

Other organizations max out at $2,000 per family, said Boger. 

“We chose to have a deeper impact with fewer families,” she said. “We wanted to change the trajectory of what people experience. Our goal is to support the family once Mom has passed away… It’s the loss of second income, the loss of a person, and the loss of a mother.”

Recently, grants have been offered to people with Stage IV breast cancer who are not able to continue to work. Boger is also expanding the Runway for Recovery model to California, New York City, and New Jersey.

“Every community has been impacted by a Stage IV diagnosis or loss,” said Boger. 

“We’re giving those affected by cancer a community focused on uplifting each other.” 

Runway for Recovery’s May 16 “Love Local” fundraising event on Walden Street will feature shopping, wine, and light bites and music from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. and special remarks by Julie Hagen, Carolyn Sklar, and Matt Ward, three community members affected by breast cancer. For more details, visit