Bay View students, alumnae play role in Gemma breast cancer events


EAST PROVIDENCE — Past and present St. Mary Academy-Bay View students are playing important roles in this weekend's "Flames of Hope" Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Foundation festivities.

Miss USA 2012 Olivia Culpo, a Bay View grad, is supporting the foundation’s Hope Bus at the seventh annual event, the largest for breast cancer awareness in the Northeast, which takes place on Saturday, Oct. 6, at 6:30 p.m. at WaterFire in Providence. 

Ms. Culpo will also compete alongside teammates from Bay View Academy Sunday, Oct. 7, in the Gloria Gemma 5K Road Race, the Foundation’s biggest fundraising event of the year. To support Miss USA 2012 Olivia Culpo’s effort, please visit, click “Sponsor a Participant,” and enter Olivia’s first and last name.

In addition, the St. Mary Academy-Bay View choir recently sang for a cure, recording the theme song for the Gemma 5k. The song, “Won’t Ever Quit,” was written by Rhode Island singer/song writer Joanne Lurgio.

Ms. Lurgio teamed up with singers from Bay View Academy Bishop Hendricken High School and the Gloria Gemma foundation, to record the song at Reel to Real Recording Studio in Cranston.

The three choirs recorded separately, but their voices will be blended to join Joanne’s for the chorus: “For our sisters, our mothers, our daughters, our lovers; For those we will never forget; In the light of this love I don’t walk alone; And for this, I won’t ever quit.”

Bay View senior, Mariella O’Neill from East Providencewas particularly touched by the experience of recording this song. Mariella noted that after having family members lose the fight to cancer, it was particularly poignant for her to meet with survivors at the recording studio, and to see their reaction to the Bay View Academy choir singing.

Bay View’s choir was the first to record and Mariella says that she enjoyed and watching Lurgio, as “she teared up listening to her dream become a reality.”

School hosts week-long breast cancer fundraiser

Bay View also hosted a a week of breast cancer awareness activities and fundraisers leading up to walk in the Gloria Gemma 5k. Local participants included Victoria Furtado, Kate Laliberte, Devon Medeiros, Faith Allen, Mariela O’Neill and Rachelle Faria.

According to Lynn Simon, Gloria Gemma’s 5k Coordinator, the long term goal is to create a video with Won’t Ever Quit set to pictures from the Oct. 7 run/walk and put it on the Gloria Gemma YouTube channel.

“The goal is to get it to go viral,” said Ms. Simon.  “We want to get a million hits.  And maybe, someday, we’ll get it on the radio. I cannot express my gratitude for the Bay View girls really embracing this.  It brought tears to my eyes.  I mean, it was one of the most inspirational things.”



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Thank you to Mike Rego and East Bay Newspapers for writing and running this article on your website. This is a disease that strikes 1 out of 8 women/men and it is crucial to raise awareness. Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation has brought HOPE to those who have had to make this "journey". We should support and commend the organization for their commitment to our community.

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