Hopkinton resident Katie Keavany takes steps to fight against cancer every day as the vice president for the department of ambulatory clinical operation at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. On Oct. 2, she will go the extra mile and participate in the 2022 Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk in memory of her father, Paul Kenney, who passed away from leukemia in 2003.
The Jimmy Fund Walk raises funds to support all forms of adult and pediatric patient care and cancer research at Dana-Farber, and has raised more than $155 million for the Institute in its 33-year history. Keavany has participated in several walks throughout her 27 years at the nation’s premier cancer treatment center and is now part of the Welcome Center Team, which hopes to raise $10,000. The Welcome Center serves as the virtual front door of Dana-Farber and often is the first point of contact for patients.
This year marks a return to the trail after two years of COVID restrictions. Walkers can choose from four distance options — the full marathon starts in Hopkinton and finishes in Boston — or “walk their way” and participate virtually from any location they choose. Wherever they roam, whether making the journey for themselves or for others, walkers are united by their mission to stomp out cancer.
For Keavany, there is an added bonus of giving back to a place that gives so much to its patients.
“I take great pride in my work because of all the good that’s done there; you can see the impact it has on people’s lives,” Keavany shared. “I can’t imagine working anywhere else.”
Keavany has strong and longstanding ties to the medical community. Her mother was a nurse at Dana-Farber while her father was a patient there. Her mother-in-law also was a nurse.
Keavany’s husband, Don, will join her on the walk. Their daughter, Regan, 21, has one semester left in nursing school at the University of South Carolina, while their 19-year-old son, Aiden (middle name Paul, for his granddad), is a student at Indiana University.
Reflecting on her career, Keavany said she “wanted to do something in health care, but didn’t want to be an actual provider.” So, after first exploring political science and elementary education, she got her master’s in health care administration and set off on the organizational path. Today, she oversees more than 400 staff who provide administrative support, scheduling and patient coordination.
A lifelong Hopkinton resident, Keavany has deep roots in the local community as well. Dad Paul was born in Framingham and grew up in Hopkinton. He co-owned Kenney’s Service Station, the longtime neighborhood gas station his parents established across from the old high school, and was a volunteer firefighter for many years with Hopkinton Fire Department.
Keavany is pleased to have the opportunity to contribute to the cause in a way that honors her father. She still remembers the special relationships Paul had with his children and grandchildren.
“He was great, and very involved in our lives,” she recalled. “Being a local businessman meant he was always accessible to his family, always available. He was a very proud grandpa.”
For more information about the Jimmy Fund Walk or to support a walker, visit JimmyFundWalk.org or call 866-531-9255.