Every Sunday, the Cutter family holds a Chemofeast. The door to their home is open to any and all who wish to attend. It’s a day full of food, beverages, and a lot of laughter, and 15-year-old Blake Cutter gets to choose the menu. Then on Monday, his mother, Lois, drives him to chemotherapy at Dana-Farber.
For the Cutter family,which includes patients Lois and her 15-year-old son Blake, laughter is the best medicine.
Blake was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma, a soft-tissue cancer, back in February. It wasn’t the Cutters’ first encounter with cancer. That had come in April, 2011, when Lois learned she had breast cancer. After recovering from reconstructive surgery, she returned to work on January 31.
Two weeks later, Blake was diagnosed.
Lois knew what to do: make a party out of cancer. She organized a Chemofeast for Blake every Sunday before driving him to Dana-Farber for treatment the next day.
Chemofeast isn’t about the food. From the beginning, the Cutters decided to “celebrate life” and surround themselves with positive energy from others. The Sunday festivities guide them through the rough spots of cancer treatment, allowing them to laugh and appreciate family and friends who love and support them.
“I’m glad I got cancer so I could help Blake navigate his way through this,” says Lois.
Cancer doesn’t scare her. In fact, her journey through cancer and that of many family members led her to fundraising. Every year, she raises money for the Jimmy Fund and other causes through her beauty salon and other events. Energy, optimism, and spirit are her trademarks.
Once, when Lois was at Dana-Farber with a friend, they were laughing about how when doctors said something is “rare or unusual,” it seemed to happen to Lois. Another woman turned to her and remarked: “You remind me that I don’t smile and laugh enough. Thank you for showing me that today.”
“Laughing is my number one hobby,” says Lois. “My treatment could have failed me. Instead, I’m standing here today with the ability to help other people, and see them happy.”
That includes her son. Blake also had the help of an unlikely new friend, a 3-year-old boy undergoing treatment at the Jimmy Fund Clinic for acute lymphoblastic leukemia. The two met at a Red Sox game, and they’ve been best friends ever since.
Despite the challenges she has faced, Lois is content. “I wake up every day, place my feet on the floor, and thank God,” Lois says, “You have to believe that things happen for a reason, even if you don’t understand why.”
After Chemofeast last Sunday, Lois drove Blake to his final treatment on Monday. She admits that she will miss the Jimmy Fund Clinic. “Of course, I wish Blake was never diagnosed with cancer,” says Lois. “But our experience here at Dana-Farber is something I would never trade.”