By Elaine Van Develde
Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School (RFH) graduate and lifetime Rumsonite Brittany Hopkins is prepping to take long trek for life in remembrance of two people who made an indelible impact on her life through their fights with and deaths to cancer — former fellow RFH grad, Alyson Raywood, and her grandmother, former Aberdeen resident Mathilde Altinger.
Both died in the fall of 2014 — Raywood on Oct. 11, 2014.
Raywood, 18, a member of the RFH Class of 2014 who is now a freshman at Boston College (BC), will join roughly 1,500 fellow undergraduates in a 12-hour American Cancer Society Relay for Life walk-a-thon, at the college this weekend. And she’ll be doing it in the name of Raywood and Altinger.
At Boston College, where there are 9,000 undergraduates, “it is the largest non-athletic event on campus,” Hopkins said. “On Feb. 22, BC officially hit the $1 million mark of fundraising over the past 8 years. We are the first university in Massachusetts to do this. Boston College is trying to raise $175,000 this year; and so far we have raised $102,000.”
Hopkins was motivated by the love of her grandmother and the perseverance of Raywood, a 2013 RFH grad. Though she said she wasn’t close with Raywood, she saw her grow sick and couldn’t help but admire her for her positive outlook and bright smile in the face of adversity.
Hopkins’ motivation catapulted her into the fundraiser walk. She felt it was the least she could do to help in the fight against the cancer that stole two people with pivotal, unassuming roles in her life and the lives of so many others.
“When Alyson passed away, it seemed like a part of Rumson passed with her,” Hopkins said. “You could see how distraught the community was. This was the same with my grandmother. My grandmother was the most genuine, kind, generous person that anyone could imagine. When I lost her, I lost a part of myself.
“My grandmother and Alyson were incredibly strong and could put a smile on anyone’s face. It was a shame to watch cancer take over them, but I know they’re still with us in a way. It’s sad that a disease can take such special people away. I hope that we can decrease the amount of people diagnosed and that one day we can find a cure.”
Hopkins is Corporate Sponsorship chair on the Relay for Life Committee.
She has set a personal goal to raise $3,000 and is $300 shy of it. She is appealing to the Rumson-Fair Haven community for a boost for the May 20 to 21 walk.
Check out Hopkins’ fundraising page for Relay for Life at http://main.acsevents.org/goto/brittanyhopkins
or contact Hopkins directly at email@example.com.