Frank HeaveyFrank Heavey had no idea that his personal experiences with cancer would lead to an eventual career change and a new outlook on life. But that’s exactly what happened for the Acton resident who had been working in the financial industry for more than a decade and decided to switch gears.

Heavey’s mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1999 and passed away in 2001. This was Heavey’s first experience with Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and despite his mother’s lost battle, the two extra years she got to spend with her new grandchildren is something Heavey credits to her specialists at Dana-Farber.

The same year his mother passed away, Heavey played in the Expect Miracles Foundation (EMF) golf tournament—something many Boston-area financial experts do each year. At the tournament, Heavey was introduced to EMF co-founder Frank Strauss. EMF is one of the leading advocates in the fight against cancer within the financial services industry. Proceeds benefit cancer patient care initiatives nationwide and cutting-edge cancer research at the Belfer Institute for Applied Cancer Science at Dana-Farber.

In 2012, Heavey’s father Robert was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and treated at Dana-Farber. Robert’s treatment finished on June 25, 2012—a joyous occasion for the entire family. But it was short lived. The following day, Heavey’s wife Whitney was rushed by ambulance and was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma—a tumor was pressing on her heart. After 18 months of chemotherapy, radiation, Whitney was declared cancer-free in December 2012. A few weeks later, Heavey’s father passed away from cancer.

With so many highs and lows, Heavey went through some serious soul-searching. As fate would have it, he ran into Strauss at an industry event. The two talked about Heavey’s family and cancer, and Heavey told Strauss, “If you ever have an opportunity for me, I’d love to help out with the Foundation.”

A few weeks later, in October 2013, Heavey was named the new chief development officer for EMF. In this role, he is responsible for setting the foundation’s development and fundraising strategies, seeking new ways to make an impact and raise funds for the Belfer Institute, and continue to cultivate corporate sponsors, major donors and volunteers. EMF has raised more than $5.5 million dollars over the years for cancer.

On May 1, the Jimmy Fund Golf program kicked off its 32nd year and is preparing to surpass the $100 million fundraising mark. The EMF team will play a major role in the program’s success, and Heavey and his wife look forward to supporting the institute on both personal and professional levels.