Chief News Editor
On Saturday, October 28 at 8 a.m., the College of the Holy Cross will hold the Crusaders Against Cancer 5K for its third year. This year, the race is held in honor of Henry Carr ’19, who passed away from cancer in June. The race, sponsored by Carr Financial Group, follows a 3.1 mile course around the Holy Cross campus, and welcomes both walkers and runners.
Richard Carr ’89 (no relation to Henry), of Carr Financial Group, explained that he first started the 5K in collaboration with Holy Cross to initiate a “community-based event” that would bring students and their families together and allow them to donate to a meaningful cause. Richard himself was diagnosed with cancer in his late 20s and again in his late 30s, and he realized years later that another Holy Cross graduate, Dr. John Donohue ’54, had developed the chemotherapy and surgical techniques that helped Richard beat his cancer.
Carr Financial Group covers all of the expenses of the race, which allows all of the registration fees to go toward the 15-40 Connection. The 15-40 Connection, a nonprofit that began in Worcester, seeks to help high school and college-aged individuals recognize the symptoms of cancer because this is the only age demographic that has not seen improved survival rates in recent decades. According to the 15-40 Connection website, “Cancer often first reveals itself as a subtle and persistent change to your normal health. Knowing how to identify these changes can lead to earlier diagnosis, more effective treatment, and saved lives.”
Henry Carr was a student for whom the 15-40 Connection struck a chord. His cancer was advanced due to his delayed diagnosis, according to Richard, and so he understood the value of early detection and the difference it could make in an individual’s survival. Henry’s father, Bob Carr, explained how Henry was in remission when he found out about the 15-40 Connection, and he hoped to use his own story to strengthen the message of the nonprofit: “[Henry] was very positive about his odds of having beaten his disease and was enthusiastic about helping to spread the message that, had he been aware of at the onset of his cancer, may have saved him a lot trial and tribulation.”
After meeting Richard at a Holy Cross basketball game and hearing about his work with the 15-40 Connection, Henry worked with Richard to speak around campus with student groups and Henry spoke before the start of the 2016 Crusaders Against Cancer 5K and fired the starting horn. Kim Carr, Henry’s mother, shared a quote once said by Henry: “Everyday I pray for a cure to come and I stay optimistic it’s right around the corner, motivating me day after day. But until that day I’ll never be out of the fight.”
In high school and at Holy Cross, Henry studied Arabic and Political Science, and he was involved in a variety of activities, including cross country, track, and community service, according to his obituary in The Wrentham Times. He was accepted to the Honors Program at Holy Cross, participated in a Spring Break Immersion Trip, and served as the Class of 2019 Vice President. Henry was awarded “Volunteer of the Year” by his hometown for his work with Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Cradles to Crayons, and a fundraising group at his high school, KP Cares.
Henry was first diagnosed with Osteosarcoma in his leg during his junior year of high school, and after a period of being in remission, the cancer resurfaced during Henry’s sophomore year at the College. When his treatments proved ineffective, Henry chose to focus on crossing off items on his bucket list, such as a trip to Chicago. Henry is remembered as a selfless leader, a dedicated volunteer, and a loving brother and son.
When Henry spoke to his peers around campus, Richard recognized how Henry was able to connect with the other students to help them understand the importance of early detection. Richard explained, “I believe students were able to put themselves in Henry’s shoes and ask themselves how they might have approached his symptoms. It wasn’t an over-protective adult spewing advice AGAIN, it was a fellow student, fellow athlete, classmate, and friend.” Richard followed this by saying, “I am convinced his impact will save lives.”
Bob Carr expressed, “Kim and I are really looking forward to the race on Saturday. It means so much for us to have Henry remembered in this way and on the occasion of homecoming weekend. Just last year we had a great time, despite the torrential rain, tailgating with Henry his friends and their families.” He added that “Henry loved Holy Cross. It was where he wanted to be.”
Jennifer Kary ’19, a student who became friends with Henry during Summer Gateways and got to know him even better as she worked with him on Student Government and lived in Hanselman with Henry, shared that she “came to know his charismatic, selfless, courageous, and absolutely hysterical personality that would forever change the Holy Cross community. The Crusaders Against Cancer 5K in memory of Henry is a great way for our community to unite together to honor the life of Henry and demonstrate the lasting legacy he left on Holy Cross.”
Henry Carr was proud to be a King Philip Warrior and a Holy Cross Crusader, and he worked tirelessly for causes he was passionate about. He embraced life and he was well-loved by his family, friends, and the Holy Cross community. He once said, “In my view…we only have so many days in our life so everyday we spend depressed or angry is one less day we can spend enjoying life and all it has to offer.”
Students, their families, and community members can register for the race, learn more, or make a separate donation at http://www.holycross5k.com. Donations can also be made directly to the 15-40 Connection at https://www.15-40.org.