In 2009 the Payette Family wanted to do more to battle a disease that impacted their lives and wanted to honor their father who lost his battle with cancer. With the help of friends and family Team M.A.P. started with 20 people and participated in the UMASS Cancer Walk. The name Team M.A.P. was created to honor their father Marc Andre Payette and use his initials to always remember him. The first year they raised just shy of $3000 to support the UMASS Cancer Center In Worcester, Ma. The first year was a stepping stone to what would become a much larger effort.
Marc Andre Payette was an incredible father and husband who adored his family. In 1989 he lost a hard fought battle with Osteosarcoma, a rare bone cancer. His oldest son Andrew was only 6 years old, his other son Scott only 3, and his only daughter Stephanie 2 years old.. Marc Payette was 31 when he lost his battle, leaving his wife Denise forced to raise 3 young children on her own. She had to play both parenting roles while financially supporting the whole family and all the activities that come with raising children. Being a mother is one of the toughest jobs in the world but doing is by yourself makes it that much harder.
In 2010, the Payette Family was getting ready for Team M.A.P’s 2nd year of fundraising for the UMASS Cancer Walk. Over the summer, Scott had noticed a lump below his right ear, near his jaw line. His primary care doctor said it was a benign cyst even as it continued to grow and become more visible. After a second trip to his primary doctor where it was still being considered a benign cyst, Scott pushed to see a specialist. After several tests, they determined the lump was not benign and was in fact cancer. Scott had surgery to remove the tumor and underwent several weeks of Radiation Therapy that finished up right before that year’s UMASS Cancer Walk. Thanks to many more friends and family looking to support Scott, Team M.A.P. grew to over 70 participants raising over $10,000.
The Payette Family continued to increase their fundraising efforts. They added an annual golf tournament, NCAA March Madness bracket fundraiser, and other events to continue raising money to help find a cure. After 5 years of raising money for UMASS, they wanted to start donating a portion of their efforts to a local family. In 2016, they chose a local family from Leominster where a father passed from Pancreatic cancer leaving behind his wife and 10 year old son. The Bourque family to be was given money toward a college fund for their son Dominic. Since then Team M.A.P. has helped several other families using a portion of their total raised funds. They donated to a father going through 12 months of chemo and who needed help to pay his bills., They donated money to a family and co-worker with a terminal diagnosis to help with their medical bills. Last year they supported Colin Daley from Townsend who was battling a rare form of bone and soft tissue cancer. The money helped pay some of his massive medical bills while he was on long term disability. In 2018, they chose the McWalter family from Lunenburg. Cindy McWalter unfortunately passed from Stomach Cancer only two weeks after this year’s golf tournament which she planned on attending. Her family and friends showed great support for her and were a major reason this year’s tournament was our most successful so far.
The treatments and ability to diagnose earlier have come leaps and bounds since Marc Payette lost his battle. This is all a result of the money that people like you donate to causes like this. Unfortunately, a cure for all cancers has not been found and the Payette’s battle with cancer hit close to home again.
Earlier this year, Denise went in for a routine mammogram where the nurse found a mass in one of her breasts. It was not clear what it was and Denise being the protector that she is told her kids that it was probably nothing and not to worry about it. Unfortunately this time, Denise was wrong and the diagnosis was early stage Breast Cancer. Denise endured multiple surgeries, eight rounds of Chemotherapy and in September will being several weeks of Radiation Therapy. Through fighting off this disease, it did not stop her from helping organize over 30 volunteers for the golf tournament in June and ensuring the tournament ran smoothly.
Cancer impacts everyone in some shape or form. It is Team M.A.P.’s mission to do everything they can to help find a cure and support local families who are battling a cancer diagnosis. From travel, medical expenses, income shortages or just having the money to enjoy the time left with your family and friends, there are significant costs above and beyond the physical and emotional tolls of being diagnosed with cancer. Our family thanks everyone for their support and hope to continue to work with all of you to continue to make a difference.
- The Payette Family