SCITUATE MARINER – Those who knew Emma Hofmann agree she was a kind and gentle soul who brightened their lives with her positive energy and exuberance.
“Emma was always looking out for the well-being of others,” her sister Nora has said. “It seemed that her mission in life was to spread kindness wherever she went.”
Three years after her death at age 19 from glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer, Hofmann is still having a positive effect on those who knew her and who knew of her.
Close friend and fellow Scituate resident, Roger Dawley has organized a team in Hofmann’s name to participate in the 2020 Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 4.
The team name “Emma’s Angels” came about after Dawley reached out to the Hofmann family to find out if someone had done the walk in her honor, and to get their blessing.
“My sole request was help with the team name,” he said. “Kathy Hofmann, Emma’s wonderful mother, was the one who mentioned ‘Emma’s Angels,’ a name that a family friend of theirs had used for another charitable fundraiser.”
Dawley had been friends with Hofmann since their days at Cushing Elementary School, he said.
“We were both a part of the after-school drama program. We were partners in 8th grade science class. We were both heavily involved in the Scituate High drama program, eventually taking on leadership roles in the lauded Thespian Society. Our senior year, we co-directed a 10-minute play, which ultimately won “best play.” If I was onstage during high school, she was the sole peer I would ask for honest advice and objective notes, and she would sarcastically make me aware of my numerous faults and failures. Emma kept a low profile most of the time, but she was the girl with the Starbucks cup and the sarcastic comment, ready to go. Her legacy is one of pure kindness.”
Dawley started the team as a result of the pandemic, oddly enough, he said.
“I’ve lived in New York City for the last five years, and my job shut down completely in mid-March, so I packed up my belongings and I’ve been home since then. My only constant has been a daily three-plus hour walk, so one day my dad asked if I’d thought about doing The Jimmy Fund Walk, which I hadn’t.”
The Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund walk is a yearly event that raises money for cancer research and treatment. Teams have the option of general fundraising for The Jimmy Fund, or they can direct their overall donation towards a specific cause.
“Thanks to Jessica Hogan, the associate director of the walk, we have arranged for all of our team’s donations to go towards glioblastoma research and treatment at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute,” Dawley said. “It’s never been easier to get involved in the event. The fundraising minimum has been lowered to $100, and walkers are welcome to participate from any corner of the world, at whatever length they are comfortable with.”
Dawley’s team currently consists of 74 walkers, participating in at least 16 states across the U.S. “The $12,000+ currently raised would not be possible without the incredibly generous 73 people who took the leap to join this team, and the incredibly generous people in their lives who have chosen to donate during an unprecedentedly difficult time for all,” he said.
He would not be aware of this event without the Gaziano family, who walk yearly in honor of Andrea Gaziano, Dawley said.
“My family has a history of walking on their team ‘Andrea’s Angels,’ and I’d be remiss to not acknowledge that they are the inspiration for the creation of this team.”
The pandemic has been a reminder that if you have your health, a roof over your head and some food to eat you have it all, Dawley said.
“The team is a result of having the time to acknowledge the fact that I’m incredibly privileged, and when I open my irregularly large mouth, people listen. If someone else’s charitable work can inspire this team, then my only hope is that the chain reaction will continue to help others in need.”
For more information, to join or make a donation visit danafarber.jimmyfund.org/goto/emmasangels.
By Ruth Thompson