Runway for Recovery is a 501(c)3 non-profit that provides families with a continuum of support along their journey with breast cancer. We create community by hosting events and providing services that create joy and inspire hope. With shared understanding we celebrate survivors, honor legacies and fund families.
"While many breast cancer organizations look to find the cure, I am looking to find ways to help those families for whom the cure does not come in time." -- Olivia Achtmeyer Boger
Six years after losing my mother to a decade-long fight against breast cancer, I resolved to find an aspect of the disease where I could honor my mother’s memory and make a difference for other families fighting their own battles with breast cancer. For sixteen years, brave survivors and those walking in memory or celebration have become models at the Runway fashion show. They have raised funds to help families who are dealing with the impact of this disease. As survivors, the models epitomize heroism and strength. They carry with them the spirits of all those who have lost their battle with breast cancer, and the families and communities that stood by them.
Unlike most nonprofits focused on breast cancer, Runway is not oriented toward a cure. Instead, we seek to improve the lives of those who are currently affected by breast cancer by serving as a platform for them to access the resources, knowledge, and support they need. Our mission is rooted in the understanding that no one experiences breast cancer alone, and that there are ways to ease the burden of this disease on parents, children, caregivers, and loved ones. We seek to celebrate and highlight the lives of those affected by breast cancer by motivating communities to support local families and directing funding towards services that significantly improve the lives of children and caregivers along their family's journey with breast cancer.
Until there is a cure, we will continue the work of honoring the survivors and funding the families of those impacted by breast cancer. Thank you for being an integral part of this organization's history and our future.
Founder, Executive Director of Runway
Director of Programs & Operations
Valerie Campbell is the Director of Programs & Operations and joined the Runway team in July of 2021. After 18 years in higher education, she was looking to find more purpose and joy in her career and working for a breast cancer organization turned out to be the perfect fit since she is a survivor herself—diagnosed with triple positive, grade three invasive ductal carcinoma in December 2016. Now six years NED (no evidence of disease), Valerie is thrilled to be working day-to-day with others who have been impacted by breast cancer and supporting them in any way she can. She lives in Abington, MA with her husband, two daughters, and dog Hunter.
Ann Marks brings over 15 years of graphic design and marketing experience to Runway. After studying Art History and Architecture at Trinity College she continued her education in Graphic Design at Massachusetts College of Art and Design. She has worked for a variety of companies as both an in-house and freelance designer. She is constantly inspired by the team at Runway, along with the models and families served, to create designs that support the mission of this amazing organization. Ann lives in Newburyport with her husband and children.
Whitney Mohler, a Grant Writing and Development Consultant, brings 15 years of nonprofit and fundraising experience to the Runway team. Prior to becoming an independent consultant in 2017, she held various development positions at both The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in San Francisco, and Citizen Schools in Boston. At Runway, she is responsible for the organization’s corporate and foundation fundraising, including all grant writing and reporting. Whitney holds a Bachelor of Arts from The University of Colorado in International Affairs, and a Master of Science from Northeastern University in Nonprofit Management. She lives in Newburyport, Massachusetts with her husband and two young children.
Retreat Program Coordinator
Jessie Reardon is passionate about making connections, and that's exactly what she loves to do at Runway. Jessie supports the Rally for Runway programs which network our Runway community with local fitness studios. She also supports the annual Recovery Retreat for Runway Models, a once-a-year opportunity to come together and connect outside of the Runway Show. Jessie is also a fitness instructor at Fuel Training Studio, one of Runway’s favorite Rally partners. She lives in Newburyport with her husband and three children.
Photographer and Creative Branding
Melena Ward started volunteering as a photographer for Runway for Recovery in 2019. Since then, she has photographed the Runway for Recovery board members, staff, local R4R events and taken photos for some of the R4R promotional materials. When she became a mom, her passion for photography evolved and she is now the owner and managing director of Plum+Port Photography. She strives to capture the pure essence of an individual in the moment. Melena is incredibly honored to be part of this organization—photographing those in the Runway community and helping the models tell their stories. Melena graduated from Hamilton College in 2007, where she majored in Psychology. Currently, she resides in Newburyport with her husband and two kids.
Marketing & Social Media Director
Caroline O’Donnell has been with Runway since its inception when she was 16-years old. Since then, her role has grown to include managing Runway’s social media and writing the blog. She considers it a great privilege to be trusted to tell the stories of the women, children, and families impacted by breast cancer in the Runway community. Caroline earned her bachelor’s degree from The College of the Holy Cross. She is currently the Director of Client Services at Catalyst Financial Partners and was previously with BNY Mellon Wealth Management. Caroline lives in the North End in Boston and when not working enjoys triathlons and running, most recently completing the 2021 Boston Marathon-raising money for the TB12 Foundation.
We create a stage for heroes
Runway redefines the experience of breast cancer for families in three ways.
After twelve Boston area events, the Runway community has grown to include hundreds of former Runway "models," a spirited tribe of supporters, and a growing cohort of beneficiaries who have received funding from Runway. Part of Runway's mission is to provide opportunities for connection, shared experience, and healing within this community. To serve as a platform for those affected by breast cancer to find hope, support, and a tribe, ready and willing to offer a hand. We do this by offering options for connection both virtually and in person throughout the year.
Each year, we invite our community to nominate models who have been affected by breast cancer to dance down our Runway in a celebration of life. The event, held annually in October, attracts hundreds of people to cheer on our models. Local and national boutiques, hair and makeup artists, volunteers, and past models collaborate to pamper models for their trip down the Runway, demonstrating their strength and persistence. The event is the cornerstone of the Runway mission to celebrate families, survivors, and warriors undergoing treatment.
The fundraising we do through the event and auction, and the generous contributions of our community not only cover our nonprofit operations and programs, but allow us to deploy funding toward families who have lost their mother to breast cancer or those families who have a caregiver living with stage IV breast cancer. With careful stewardship, Runway bolsters these families with a combination of financial support and wraparound services from counseling to academic support. The needs of each family differ immensely, and so does the support they receive from Runway.
Why We Walk
Meet Our Full-Time Volunteers
Runway for Recovery remains a nearly all-volunteer run organization. We have a team of dedicated and uniquely qualified individuals who work tirelessly to promote our message, manage our events and care for our families. Our volunteers give of themselves so that we can continue to give to those who need it most.
We need your help
The Runway community has been fortunate enough to meet over 850 men, women, and children who have been affected by breast cancer. All the funds, over $3.1M since our founding, goes to wrap-around services for families facing the unimaginable during and after a breast cancer diagnosis.
We want nothing more than to continue changing the lives of those affected by this disease in big ways and small. This is where you come in! Any donation truly helps and we are extremely grateful.
You may donate online by clicking the button below or sending a check to:
Runway for Recovery
29 Water Street, Suite 216
Newburyport, MA 01950