Marlene Mills was a mother of two children, a wife, and a friend to many who was dedicated to community involvement and betterment when Lung Cancer took her life at the age of 37 in 1992. Just a year prior to her untimely death, she received the City of Attleboro’s Citizen of the year award for creation of the “East Side Crime Watch”. She organized and led a group of concerned parents armed only with telephones, and took on armed gangs and drug dealers in nightly vigils. Slowly, and as a direct result of her actions, violent and drug related crime plummeted in the neighborhood where her children grew up. Although she passed 23 years ago, the effects of her actions are still obvious in that neighborhood.
Shortly after her death a small scholarship was created and is awarded annually to an Attleboro High School senior who displays selfless involvement and devotion to the betterment of their community. The scholarship is managed and awarded by her children, Jesse and Dana, through the Attleboro Scholarship Foundation.
The foundation which bears her name was formed by her children and a few close friends to continue our mom’s example of community involvement and betterment by organizing a road race. The race, called Race to the Summit, will raise funds for causes our mom would support, The Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Martin W. Richard Foundation, and The Marlene Mills Memorial Scholarship.
Our mom believed strongly, as we do, that educating children and maintaining a safe environment in which they can thrive is the path to a bright future for us all. We chose to support Dana Farber to continue the fight against cancer in our mom's stead until no children have to lose a parent to the devastating disease.
Over the past few years, Jesse has run the Boston Marathon as a member of the Dana Farber Marathon challenge team raising money for basic cancer research. This led to the development of a challenging but beautiful half marathon distance training course that winds through the state forests of north central Massachusetts and ends on the summit of Wachusett Mountain. The idea for the foundation, the race, and its charitable beneficiaries all came together while running the course. The race enjoys full partnership with Wachusett Mountain and is being hosted by Wachusett Mountain’s annual MusicFest. The runners not only get to take on a beautiful and challenging course with spectacular views at the finish but also get to ride the Wachusett Mountain ski lift to the base to join one of New Englands great outdoor music festivals for an afternoon of live music, food, and beverage.
Please help us follow in our mother’s footsteps and give back to our community in a way that we believe would make our mom proud. Our mother, whether she was fighting drugs and crime in our neighborhood or fighting cancer, never gave up and she always managed to find a way to give back. Help us do the same.
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