I grew up in Southeastern Massachusetts, with big dreams and aspirations from a young age. I was very organized as a child, with lists and whatnot, but also had a creative side. I realized when I was 10 years old that I wanted to be an architect. I took classes in high school, and pursued the major in college at Wentworth Institute of Technology. This is also where I met Carin and we began our 17 year long friendship. Two years into college and after two co-op jobs, I decided that project management was the road for me. After college, I worked in the corporate life for a decade in Boston. Although as much as I enjoyed my job, I really felt there was more I could be doing. I decided to leave my job and focus on my children, who were 1 year and 3 years old at the time. I had already determined that when I did go back to work, that I wanted to do something different. I still had big dreams, and although I had achieved some personal and professional goals, I was looking for something more. I knew I wanted to do something that would make a difference in people’s lives and would make me feel proud of my work.
Several weeks after my leave, Carin was diagnosed with cancer. It put a whole new perspective on life for me, and to treasure every day we have. After Carin’s passing, Trish, Jill, and I began the process of discussing what we could do to honor our amazing friends’ memory. We saw, and were involved with her daily life and struggle with the disease, and decided to help other families dealing with the same illness. Thus was the start of the Carin MacLean Foundation. I feel now that I have found my true calling, and I absolutely love what I am doing. For me, everything has come full circle. I am still “managing projects”, working on website design, flyers, marketing, and acting as our office manager (since my super organization skills from when I was little have now come in so handy!). My goal, along with Trish and Jill is to turn this foundation into something amazing and to grow awareness to the daily struggles mothers have to deal with that are battling this disease. No one really talks about them, and for us to point out the high percentage of moms living with cancer while trying to raise their family is just one of our achievements we are pursuing. I may be playing a small part of a bigger picture, but for me to know that I am helping out in a positive way in the New England community is truly where I belong.
Most of my life I have known that I wanted to work with animals. I was an intern and volunteer at 3 local RI/MA zoos for 5 years, and received my BSc in Wildlife and Conservation Biology at URI, before landing my dream job as a Zookeeper at Franklin Park Zoo in Boston. I worked with some amazing birds, as well as Tree Kangaroos, Red Kangaroos, and sheep. I was very lucky to have a job that I enjoyed going to every single day. But once I had kids, I realized I couldn't leave them for 13 hours a day, and I wanted to be there for every special moment that they would share with me. So I became a stay at home mom! I was fortunate to join a great mom's group where I met Carin and Trish, and through Carin I met Ali. We had fun times together, having playdates and sharing parenting stories. When we lost Carin to cancer, it felt like a piece of myself and my life went with her. Starting the Carin MacLean Foundation a year after her passing has helped with the healing process, and co-running it with two of my best friends makes it even better. We are helping families that are going through what Carin went through, who need all the help and support that they can get. Even though animal care will always be inside of me, being able to stay home with my kids, and having a new passion of helping others in our community, makes me very fulfilled and happy. I know we will grow the Carin MacLean Foundation into a household name, and continue helping families until there is a cure for all cancers and no one is left to help!
Before getting married and starting my family, I worked in the mortgage industry and as a property accountant. While I like certain aspects of both, I wasn't fulfilled or passionate about what I was doing day in and day out. When I became a mother my life had changed and I knew staying home to raise our children was my first true calling. To make new friends and explore new things we joined a local playgroup. Through that group I met Carin and co-founder Jill Pine when our oldest daughters were just babies. Not long after, through Carin, we were lucky to meet another great mom (and co-founder) Ali Fitzgerald. We were great friends that shared the first years of motherhood and many good times. When Carin was diagnosed with cancer she fought with perseverance and had a fighting spirit that was an inspiration to us all. We saw in her daily life all the challenges, large and small, that a family with young children faced. When we lost her Ali, Jill, and I knew we wanted to keep Carin's memory alive by helping other families going through the same thing our friend did. We started the Carin MacLean Foundation with a mission of providing financial relief to families with parents fighting cancer. It was our way moving forward. Aside from being a mother, I finally felt I had found something else in life I was truly passionate about, not just to honor my friend but because I love to help others. In all of the hard work in co-running this Foundation I derive a lot of pleasure speaking to and meeting all the people we are coming across. Getting to know not only the stories of our recipients and their families but those willing to help and empathize with our cause. This continues to motivate me in making CMF a major resource in New England to as many families as possible. Fundraising, writing, researching, developing marketing strategies, reaching out to our community; I know each project is another step forward and I feel so thankful to be able to say I love what I do.