When Jamie Brown's mother, Diane Allison, was diagnosed with rare form of muscle cancer in 2007, she knew there was nothing she could do to cure her. But though she couldn't beat her mother's disease, she could attack cancer on a broader scale by raising money in the annual Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk.
"We felt like there was not a whole lot we could do for my mom," Brown, 38, of Mount Vernon Street, said. "By doing the walk we felt like we could contribute to the bigger cause, the larger picture."
The walk, this year on Sept. 9, raises money to support Boston's Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in researching all cancers and caring for patients.
Every year since Brown's mother was diagnosed, she has volunteered in some capacity, raising a total of $18,000 and this year earning her the award Volunteer of the Year. Brown is the first person to receive this award.
"Jamie is an unending source of support and enthusiasm for the event and is a true ambassador of Dana-Farber, Ann Beach, director of the Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk, said. "She is a model volunteer and fundraiser, always willing to lend a hand to help the Walk surpass its goal."
Allison passed away in 2009 but Brown has not forgotten that the same fight her mother waged against cancer is being fought by thousands daily.
"It was always on my mind that this was helping people just like her," Brown, a stay-at-home mother of three, said of her continued volunteerism.
In addition to the Walk, Brown also serves on Dana-Farber's Leadership Council, which encourages volunteerism and fundraising for the organization.
Even before her mother was diagnosed, Brown worked briefly for the American Cancer Society in Tampa, building relationships in the community for services, such as rides to treatment, and doing community outreach.
"I've always had an affinity for the cancer community community and wanting to make an impact on that," she said.