By Brian Benson/Daily News Staff
Posted Aug. 5, 2015 at 2:45 PM; Updated at 2:52 PM
Erin Golden and Leslie Azaret are best friends, but their bond extends well beyond a lifelong friendship.
Both have battled breast cancer and are currently cancer-free. And, money Azaret raised through biking in the Pan-Mass Challenge - which concluded Sunday - helped fund research that contributed to Golden’s treatment
“Literally, my best friend saved my life,” Golden said.
Now, Golden and Azaret, who both grew up in Framingham, are working on a new fundraising initiative to support the Pan-Mass Challenge and its beneficiary, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Golden’s wife, photographer Eileen Counihan, took a series of night photos by the challenge’s Provincetown finish line that are for sale. All of the profits from the photo sales will be donated.
The memory of Richard “Logan” Dunne inspired the new initiative, called Logan’s Ride. Dunne died when he was 20 years old in 2013 after a five-year battle with neuroblastoma. He was friends with Counihan's and Golden's son, Jake, while both grew up in Truro. Dunne’s mother, Kim Kettler, is also helping with Logan's Ride.
Counihan, who also grew up in Framingham, said she often donated to people riding in the Pan-Mass Challenge.
“I thought ‘How can I give more?’” she said.
Beyond the Finish Line
Golden came up with the photography idea. Counihan thought it was “amazing.” Pan-Mass Challenge officials were equally thrilled with the initiative, which debuted at the challenge.
“People just loved them,” Counihan said, adding oncology nurses and other health care workers were especially interested in the images. “I think everyone is touched by cancer.”
Azaret, who now lives in North Andover and often bikes in the challenge, said she’s pleased to help out in another way with the photography initiative.
“I want to show people that cancer is not the end of the road,” she said of biking in the challenge. “I want to be hope for people that are going through cancer.”
The photos are on display at an exhibition at Counihan’s gallery, First Light Gallery, 397 Commercial St., Provincetown, through Aug. 12. The gallery will host a reception from 4 to 7 p.m. Aug. 9.
And, the women hope to expand the initiative in the future.
“This is just the beginning,” Golden said.
For more information on the initiative and purchasing prints, visit www.logansride.org.
Brian Benson can be reached at 508-626-3964 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @bbensonmwdn.